God Who Hems Me In
The first time we lost a house, I was 8 months pregnant with our second child.
We had waited a year for this particular house to be listed. We drove by often, prayed in the driveway, and dreamed big dreams. Finally, after a lengthy foreclosure process, one day it became available! With details so perfectly put together that you couldn’t accredit it to anyone else but God, we put in an offer. After a week of back and forth with another buyer, we ended up losing the house by a painfully small amount. I’ll never forget praying that night with my son, tears running down my face, for the new family who would be living in those walls. I was confident that if God was good, He would provide for us. I found peace in my confidence that even when it didn’t feel good, even when good seemed far off in the distance, He was STILL good.
Fast forward another year. Another year of waiting, shopping around, praying, and more waiting. Our single bedroom “temporary” housing was feeling smaller and less temporary by the day. A beautiful home popped up on my search and by that evening we already had an offer in. Miraculously this time our offer was chosen and we began to pack. Only two days before closing, the bottom fell out of the deal, our country was paralyzed with a worldwide pandemic, and we were told to walk away. We were devastated. I wish I could say this time that my heart was confident in God’s hand, but this second wave rocked my boat and shook my trust. Broken dreams were starting to pile up, exposing the real condition of my faith.
Disappointments, trials, pain, grief… they have a way of exposing hidden things. When I am confronted with something hard, I see something very important about myself... the most important thing about myself actually: MY PERSPECTIVE OF GOD.
I can hear myself crying to my dad in the wake of that broken dream. “This all feels cruel. Why couldn’t God just have closed the door before we had to go through so many unnecessary steps? I know God isn’t cruel, so is this just a random event that happens in a broken world? In God’s sight but not by His hand? How can something from God feel so opposite of Him?”
I’ve always wanted God to look good in our story and situations. I prayed that our life would be the canvas where He could paint a masterpiece that would draw attention to His name. In the middle of this process, so many times I have found myself worrying about how God appeared in our story, as if God’s reputation hung in my hands.
“IF we lose this house, people praying for us will think God failed us. IF we change our direction, people will think God isn’t able. If our story concludes with anything less than a mind-blowing, only-God-could-do-it, shout it from the house-tops testimonial, God’s power will seem less than.”
But do you know what that second house has taught me? His goodness and sovereignty are NOT based on how I think He should answer my prayers. He is NOT most glorified when stories end in perfectly wrapped packages. He is most glorified when even in the hard moments and disappointments, His children still look Him in the eyes and say “I trust you.” God wasn’t looking for worship from the whole world, He was looking for a response from Job. I can’t control how the world around me views God’s plan for my life, but I can control how I respond to His hand.
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” -Job 13:15
If Job has taught me anything, it is that God didn’t need to resolve and redeem all of the details of Job’s life to receive the glory and honor due to His name. (Even though He did) And just as tears taught my children that their mother is faithful to comfort and hold them close when they cry, my disappointments have taught me from experience about WHO my Father is. I am confident that if I focus on trusting my good Father, even in my disappointments and hard things, God can use that to draw others to His side. He is able, and His reputation is safe.
“I know that Thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee.” -Psalms 42:2
My family’s story still isn’t “resolved”, but I am tired of waiting for the perfect ending to begin to share what God is teaching me in the midst. So what is my opinion of God even in the midst of disappointment and waiting?
He hems me in. (Psalm 139:5) He shields me, and He WILL fulfill His purpose for me. (Psalm 57:1-2) And that right there? That is good.
ARH Staff Writer