“Which takes greater faith, to believe God for a miracle or to believe God when a miracle doesn’t come? Because when God responds the way we want or the way we think He should, then great. But when He doesn’t? Well, then He’s still God. And that’s still great.”
As I sat there listening to the podcast, I remembered a night long ago. I was a junior in high school and had only been a Christian for a year. I’d been wrestling with God over my future and finally decided to lay down all of my plans for my future, my aspirations, and everything that I wanted at the feet of Jesus.
The little church I’d been attending showed a movie that night about missionaries and it challenged me in a way nothing else had. It was as if God spoke directly to my heart and said, “What about you? What will you do with your life? Your will? or Mine? It’s your choice.”
At the close of the service, when our Pastor opened the altar area for prayer, I went down on my knees, weeping, and crying out to God. I told Him, “Alright. I quit fighting You. I will do Your will. No matter what. If You can use me, use me, Lord.”
The service closed and I went to the dark, quiet nursery where my good friend, and pastor’s wife, Bridget, came in to find me wiping the tears from my face.. She immediately asked me what was wrong and I told her, “I think that God is telling me that He doesn’t want me to go to college, but that He’s called me to be a pastor’s wife.”
She said, “Oh, that’s great, Jen!”
I said, “No, you don’t understand Bridget. I see what you go through and I don’t want to go through that.”
I realize now that it was more than that.
I was very insecure back then and I remember thinking, “Who am I? I’m just a teenage girl who loves Jesus.”
But what Bridget told me at that moment has been a reference point for me over the years ever since then. I can’t count how many times I’ve looked back on these words and drawn comfort from them. She told me, “God never calls you to something that He won’t prepare you for, Jen.”
I never realized–honestly didn’t even stop to consider–just how that preparation would come.
Or how great the personal cost would be.
If I had, I’m sure I’d have turned and run, shouting, “No way, God!”
But looking back now?
Now I can see how God sometimes allows us to go on detours in life for a reason. Some detours, we may not understand this side of eternity; others we might be able to grasp some of their meaning in this lifetime. Maybe we needed to mature, prepare, or correct some character faults. I certainly have some examples of all of those in my life.
Times my own choices have changed the course of my life. When my own insecurities and character issues have deviated me from God’s plan for me.
But there have also been times when external forces, or even hell, have assaulted my destiny. I’ve had my fair share of those:
- Raised with an alcoholic parent
- Battling stage four cancer and walking through health scare after health scare since being cleared in 1998
- Experiencing financial ruin as a result of a devastating injury my husband, Myron, sustained at work
- And the ultimate detour…losing our precious son Jacob to a drunk driver in 2015
All of those were deviations from the straight linear path that I had planned for my life when I was younger.
What do you do when cancer knocks on your door?
When you’re so broke that you become homeless?
When the tension in your marriage is so thick, you’re afraid it just might snap?
How do you cope when you’re staring at your seventeen-year-old son’s casket?
Is there any hope? Are there any answers to those deep questions? Any salve to heal those inner wounds that no one can see?
Yes, the decision I made that night at church has been tested to the limit. My faith, and everything I thought I believed, has been tried to the very core. There have been many times when I’ve had to decide for myself if God is still good–even when life is not.
Yet, even in all those times of testing, when I invited Jesus in, He was able to teach me things from those experiences and help me to mature in ways I didn’t realize I needed to.
I wish I could say that I’ve always held tightly to those convictions and that the storms of life never knocked me off balance, but that wouldn’t be true. And I’m committed to being honest with you here because we’re all on this journey together. And I’m confident that together we can discover hope, healing, and answers for all the detours that life throws our way.
Because anyway you look at it, it takes tremendous, bold faith to believe God for a miracle. And it takes just the same amount of faith to believe God is still good when the miracle doesn’t come or when God doesn’t respond the way that we think He should.
He’s still God. my friend.
And that’s still great.
Even when life is not.
Now, what about you my friend? Others have helped us on this journey and I’d love to get to know you and learn how I can help you. What’s the biggest problem you’re facing right now? Is there anything about me that you’d love to know? How can I be praying for you? Is there anything that you’ve ever struggled with– maybe some detours in life that have become stumbling blocks in your faith?
I’d love for you to send me an email or comment below. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll do my best to help you find it.
Hope can bloom again.
Even when life looks dead.
On this journey with you,