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Seeing Purpose through the Pain
By Samantha Jackel
Thursday, October 27, 2016
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61: 1- 3 NIV
I can remember standing beside my 4 year old son’s bed in the emergency room with my husband Peter. With the curtain drawn, the doctor delivered the diagnosis – our youngest boy had a serious, chronic disease.
It’s hard to imagine the shock without going through something like this yourself. We were devastated by the news. The remainder of the day was a swirl of raw emotion and my heart ached in a pain that I can’t express as I looked into the eyes of my child, who pleaded for understanding.
Peter and I were senior leaders in our church. We ran a vibrant, growing bible study and we had opened our home to people that needed the support of a loving family. I home schooled my 5 children and coordinated the Sunday school program at church.
By all accounts, we are good, godly people doing good, godly things.
Why our boy?
I was confused and angry at God and could not make sense of it. To make things worse it seemed like everyone we knew abandoned us.
Frustrated, I decided to go on a 21 day fast to seek answers to my questions. However, on day 18 of the fast I heard a quiet, still voice speak in my heart. It was like an electric shock saying,
You can stop protesting now.
I realized that I was not fasting to seek God – I was fasting to force God’s hand, to demand answers, to express my anger. I had turned the beauty of fasting into being a selfish and manipulative procedure. I sobbed before the feet of Jesus that day, and sought His forgiveness for my selfish heart.
Try as I might, I will not always make sense of this life. But if God is my rock, then I’m called to trust Him in every situation, good or bad, joyful or challenging.
Nine years have passed since that day and as my son gets older and the questions come, it’s my job to walk things out with him. I don’t need to make excuses on behalf of God or try to put words into Gods mouth.
I am called to reassure my son of the undying love that his heavenly Father has for him and provide a safe environment so that he can ask the hard questions. Psalm 56:8 (NLT) says,
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
When life seems not to make sense we need to remember that God’s love is everlasting and never failing. He walks with us through every situation of every day and He sees the bigger picture, when we only see a part.
Trusting Him means yielding all of our lives to Him – through the good and through the bad.
Dear God, I thank You for the wonderful gift of salvation that You freely poured out on each one of us through Jesus’ sacrifice. It is my prayer that the circumstances of our lives would not move us from the foundation of Your love, grace and forgiveness. When we are weak, give us strength to trust and remain in You, always.
© 2016 by Samantha Jackel. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Thursday, 27 October 2016.