One of the things we discussed our first session was trust. What does it mean to trust God? In future weeks we will discuss what it looks like practically to trust Him, but last night we really broke down the meaning of trust. Basically it boils down to: Do I believe He is good? Do I believe He is for us? Do I believe He is reliable? And do I believe He able?
I should mention that this next week also happens to be the second anniversary of Austen's death and what would have been his 26th birthday. So it seems that I am seeing everything through that lens this week. And last night's teaching made me realize that three of those questions I can answer with a yes, absolutely. When Austen died, there was no doubt in my mind that God was still good. I had no doubt in my mind that he was for us. I had no doubt that He was and is still as reliable as ever, and our Book of Remembrances constantly reminds me of that. My brother's death couldn't change any of these things.
But last night, sitting there, I confessed, God I just don't always think You're able. You didn't stop Austen from getting addicted or from relapsing or from dying at 23. How can I expect You to provide xyz? And in that moment, I was humbled. Clearly God and I have some work to do.
For I know that He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Ephesians 3:20). I hear about the change He is doing around the world in the hearts of Muslims and non-believers and I know that He is capable of so much more than I could ever imagine. He is bringing people to Himself in dreams - and in countries where speaking of the gospel is against the law! But when it comes to the things in my own life, I am guilty in disbelief. Lord, I do believe; help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).
This week I have also been reminded of this quote a friend sent me after Austen's death,
God is not only a Redeemer of our sin, but He is a Redeemer of our circumstances as well. He will not waste a single problem, a single heartache, a single tear. Our God is a Redeemer God, and He stands minute by minute before us, inviting us to let Him have the sorrow, to let Him have the pain, to let Him have the disappointment. To trust Him to make something useful, something creative of every tragedy that darkens our lives.Oh Lord Jesus, thank you for bringing me through the darkest storm I have faced in life and for showing me what life can come from death! I am sorry that I don't always believe You the way I should, but that is just another reminder that You aren't through with me yet - thank you for that!
I am thankful that He has not wasted a single one of my tears. Really. In the last two years, God has revealed a lot to me about myself, my relationship with Him, and my relationship with others. I hate that this has been the result of the greatest tragedy I've faced. But I am so thankful that God has not let my brother's death be wasted.
I recently heard a mom of teenagers encourage a group of moms of young children. She said that she came to look forward to times when her children got into trouble and she had to discipline them because these were precious times that she was able to guide them towards Jesus and their need for Him. It was a time for them to see their own sin and choose to turn to the One who gives life. Oh how I have felt like those young children. I cried for weeks after my brother's death, and uncontrollably and involuntarily. The tears still come at times. But God has not wasted a single one of my tears. He has used each one to draw me closer to Him and to reveal my need for a heavenly Father.
I'd encourage you to not allow those tragedies in your life to go to waste. Pray that the Lord will use them in a mighty way, and He will.