"Every Storm Is Grace"
Some of the times that I have felt God’s grace mostly strongly have simultaneously been the same times that I have experienced the greatest pain. This is pretty counterintuitive. We assume God’s grace shines most brightly in the best of times, and are most prone to doubting and questioning Him on our darkest days. We don’t ever experience an awful day and think to ourselves, “God has been so gracious to me today!” (At least I don’t…) But hindsight has a tendency to make things clearer, and what I see as reason to doubt God on a terrible day so often becomes the very reason to believe in His goodness and love for me later.
In God’s love and wisdom for my life, He has chosen some things I would never have chosen for myself. Nearing the 4 year anniversary of my mother’s death is a perfect example of this. A miscarriage, another. Difficult relationships. Seasons of financial struggle. Insert your own difficult circumstances. No one wants to experience a painful situation, to be forced to wait, or to walk through suffering and trials. But I can often see later how God took some of those most difficult experiences and used them to produce good in my life. And maybe that admission isn’t too hard to comprehend. We all know that good often grows out of challenges and adversity. They are the elements of a great story after all - the kind that we used to pay way too much money to watch in movie theaters in our pre-pandemic days (and now just pay way too much to watch from our television’s at home).
But I think that trusting God’s sovereignty over all the details of my life, means also remembering His goodness and believing that He is for me. This means that even the painful events themselves can be seen as evidence of God’s grace. It’s not just the good that comes from them, but their inclusion in my story in the first place.
I believe that someday when I get to heaven, I will look back upon my life and see with some greater insight even just a little of the wisdom of God. And as I gain greater understanding of God’s purposes in my life and in the world around me, I think I will be quick to agree that every “no” and every sorrow was necessary. Even greater, I think I will be able to see the dark storms themselves as evidence of His goodness to me. I think that if I knew all that God does, I would choose the exact same story for myself.
A few years ago, I read CS Lewis’ Narnia series to my children. In The Horse and His Boy, the main character, Shasta, often feels utterly lonely. He is sure that no one else is looking out for him. He pities himself throughout the story, and is confident that he has been dealt one of the worst hands life has to offer. He only sees the challenges and difficulty as evidence of everyone’s lack of care for him - including God. But at the very end Aslan (who represents Jesus) reinterprets the events of his life.
What Shasta only saw as adversity, pain, and as an example of being left alone to himself, he later understands was really the very real examples of Aslan’s guidance, presence, provision, and love for Shasta. I remember getting choked up as I read the final chapters to my kids. Aslan recounts all the details of Shasta’s life that Shasta saw as examples of being neglected and forsaken, and Aslan says to him, “I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the house of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses new strength of fear for the last mile so you would face King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.”
This is surely the view I will take some day too. Each wonderful and awful experience will be reinterpreted in light of God’s wisdom, mercy, and grace for me. Every storm will be rightly understood as evidence of His grace.
Musical artist Sarah Sparks has written a beautiful song based on The Horse and His Boy - you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkSbRzYNXSs
ARH Staff Writer