In the last two weeks, our lives fell apart. Literally.
First, our van died. Then, our entire heating system. As the contractors put the new system in, they delivered another blow: our chimney liner had failed and would need to be replaced. The next day, my laptop bit the dust and one of our kids broke the guitar we had just received.
As you can guess, the total bill was not… inexpensive. And although we’re not completely back up and running, I am learning a lot.
I know that you have your own challenges. Those moments when your life breaks down more than usual. What can we learn so that we don’t (in the words of John Piper) waste our suffering?
- We don’t trust God as much as we think we do. When major things continued dying all around me, I started getting angrier and angrier. How were we going to pay for all this?! And the inconveniences of (for example) sharing our other car began to annoy me. Loss shows us where we still have room to grow in trusting God in very practical ways.
- We’re not as thankful as we ought to be. As normal conveniences were removed and I responded like Oscar the Grouch, it occurred to me that I take them – and God’s generosity – for granted. The truth is, in comparison with nearly everyone in the world, we are ridiculously blessed.
- It’s an act of mercy to see our neediness. Although we had saved for emergencies, we couldn’t handle everything on our own. In showing me my deep aversion to depending on God and others, God was loving me. My inability to provide for myself was like smelling salts for my soul, a much-needed re-awakening to my need for God and others.
- God will never leave us, and shows up when we really need him. He’s always there, of course, but he really shines when we can’t do life on our own. In our need, God provided generous friends, neighbors and family members, fantastic heating and chimney contractors, and a car dealer who’s saving us some serious cash.
It’s ridiculous to say it in hindsight, but in the thick of it this whole situation felt like my own personal Red Sea moment (see Exodus 14). Our backs were up against the wall, things were falling apart, and we weren’t sure how God was going to ‘deliver’ us.
But he did. And always does. And always will.
Not that every situation will turn out the way that we want it, but we have a God who loves us and ‘will never leave us nor forsake us’ (Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5). That’s real, and the hard spaces in our lives prove it.
Most of the time we can shield ourselves from the worst effects of the fall through our technology, resourcefulness and Amazon. But when we can’t, we see our desperate need for God, who always shows up when – and how – we need him to.
What’s difficult in your life right now? What lessons are you learning through it? Help us learn with you by sharing in the comments below.