Well, it's been over two weeks since we got the keys to our new house. But we areSTILL without our things! Our moving truck has been (majorly) delayed, but we're hoping it will arrive this week. Meanwhile, I'm thrilled to be the first stop on Meadow Rue Merrill's Faith Notes blog tour. Meadow is a fellow member of the Redbud Writer's Guild and today she's sharing about trusting God when life hurts. Thanks, Meadow, for sharing your story here today!
I never once felt as if my mother were dying. Perhaps she was trying to protect me. Perhaps I was in denial, despite knowing that the cancer had spread from her liver to her bones and that in such cases less than 2 percent of people survive two years. Perhaps it was due to her abiding faith—and mine—that God would, or at least could, heal her.
Either way, last winter when I buckled in my 18-month-old son, Ezra, in his car seat to drive from my home in Maine to visit my mom in the Connecticut nursing home where she’d gone to recuperate from a small fracture, I had no idea that the next morning would be her last.
If anyone deserved a miraculous intervention, it was surely my mom who had sold her house to earn a master of divinity degree; who gave up playing with her grandchildren to live in far-flung lands while translating portions of the Bible into a little-known Central Asian language; whose greatest love and supreme joy was Christ.
“I’m healed,” she proclaimed, not long after her initial diagnosis last summer. “I really truly believe it.” She couldn’t wait to see the look on the doctor’s face when new scans showed the cancer was gone. Only they didn’t, and despite aggressive treatments and earnest prayer, the cancer spread.
“If only I had more faith,” she said after one particularly disappointing check-up.
In her words, I felt the deeper wound of her suffering, as if she was to blame for her lack of healing. And I, loving her, praying for her, driving eight-hours round trip with my son to be with her, angrily questioned where was this God my mother had given up everything to follow?
This was not my first foray with trusting God in the midst of irreconcilable grief. Three years before my seven-year-old daughter Ruth had died without warning. In the agonizing days and months that followed, I was confronted with a choice: I could either draw closer to God or, in pain and distrust, I could turn away.
One thing my mother did not do in her sickness and suffering was to lose faith in God. Even when she didn’t understand his purpose, even while the cancer spread, she kept looking to him for her strength, her hope, her purpose, her encouragement, and—most importantly—her destiny.
Where we focus determines our destination. In hard times, we need to be even more determined to keep looking to God for direction rather than at our circumstances.
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” the author of Hebrews writes in 12:1-2, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”
But how do we do this? How do we trust a God who allows us to suffer? Over the next six weeks, I’ll share six ways that will build your faith when you are experiencing hardship. I’ll then introduce three friends who will share their own experiences with trusting God before wrapping up with a final post at the end of August. To join me on this journey, subscribe or follow along at www.meadowrue.com.
Meadow Rue Merrill is an editor, speaker and Christian columnist who writes books for children and adults from her home in Mid-coast Maine. For more information, find her at www.meadowrue.com