It’s been a hard week. A really hard week.
And in the midst of the mess and all the emotions that came with it, I lost sight of God. I took my eyes off Him and locked eyes on my circumstances. I lay in bed, trying to pray but instead found my mind swirling with could’a, would’a, should’as.
Then, on Thursday, I walked into my son’s chapel presentation and saw five cards across the stage with big, bold, red letters: T-R-U-S-T. The theme was “trusting God when it’s hard.”
As his teacher introduced the theme, she said they were going to tell the story of Abraham.
The first girl stepped up to the microphone and said, “God promised Abraham that his descendants would become a large and mighty nation. God always keeps His promises.”
In Romans 4, Paul talks about Abraham and shows us how he was called righteous because of his unwavering faith. In fact, verses 20–21 put it this way: “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this, he brought glory to God. He had hope that God is able to do whatever he promises.”
I’ve read this passage often, but I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve often misunderstood it. This time, studying it, I saw the grace in it. Abraham wasn’t perfect, but he had hope in God when the situation seemed impossible, hopeless, confusing, and hard.
I watched these sweet kids share, one by one, how they had hope in God when it’s hard—in the dark, during spelling tests, during competitions, during math quizzes, when they’re scared. I watched as they retold the story of Abraham with conviction. I listened as they quoted scriptures, including the verse that I go to first I’m wavering in trust: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock” (Isaiah 26:3–4).
Then with tears welling in my eyes, I watched my son share his testimony about trusting God during his daddy’s sickness. For the last two years, my husband has endured a battle against a chronic disease. It’s been tough on our entire family. It required us to make changes and live life in a new way—changes that were sometimes hard for an eight-year old to grasp. But God has drawn us near. He’s deepened our faith in the valley. And He didn’t just work in my life or my husband’s life; He used the hard journey to draw my son closer to Himself as well.
I walked out of there with renewed strength. I asked myself, “what are the promises God has given me? What am I fully convinced God will do because He promised?” Here’s the list I came up with:
I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
I am not condemned (Romans 8:1–2).
I am covered by the blood of Jesus (Colossians 1:21–22).
He never leaves me or forsakes me (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Hebrews 13:5).
He is working good in my life, even when life isn’t good (Romans 8:28).
He forgives me (Colossians 1:13–14).
He has made me part of a beloved family (Ephesians 2:19–21).
My worth is found in Him, and He is conforming me to look more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).
I am alive in Christ, no longer dead in my sin (Colossians 2:13–14).
He made me a masterpiece and has a role only I can play for His kingdom (Ephesians 2:10).
He gave me His armor to fight the devil (Ephesians 6:10-20).
I have clung to the promise found in Romans 5:3–5 these last few years—the promise that the suffering in our life will help us grow. It will build endurance and deepen our character and lead us to hope—and not just any hope, but a hope that doesn’t disappoint.
My son’s class was able to tell the story of Abraham because God kept His promise. I’m sure it was hard sometimes for Abraham to keep trusting, but that’s what difficulty does. It builds trust—a trust that our God will do what He promises.
Does this story strike a chord for you? Read the entire May 2018 issue here.
Photo by Bonnie Kittle