Christmas is rapidly approaching so I wanted to finish up the series on coping so we can move on to the holidays and then some pieces of news to update everyone on our future plans! Just to warn you, I struggle with how to proceed from here, because I feel woefully inadequate when talking about God. However, I feel pretty strongly that tonight's the night I need to write this even though I'm tired and that makes this more intimidating! But, I guess I'll just be candid and have a conversation.
I had sort of mapped out all of these articles in my head before I even started. I always planned on doing two or three posts on the things I do, what happens when "doing" isn't enough, and then on my real source of comfort. My plans got slightly interrupted when, at Thanksgiving, one of the pastors at our church did a sermon on Thankfulness that was basically this post. I highly suggest listening to it. It isn't very long and is incredibly encouraging.
I told a friend this week that I've learned something about myself during the last 6 months: I really believe what I believe about God. I think that if I didn't, I could cope with losing Garrett and with the long, hard struggle I've had getting healthy again. But...I think that's all it would be. As it is, I am not just coping. I'm thriving. I've...grown physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It's one of those things I can't describe or explain but it all boils down to this:
I believe in God and I believe he is Good.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
I feel like I am always telling people that I can't "blame" God for losing Garrett. And that they shouldn't either. Because, really, if we want to ascribe blame and if we want to believe that God is a micro-manager, then we also have to give Him credit for all the good things He's done in the course of my life. I haven't the slightest idea how much moment by moment engineering God does (I'm guessing less than some of us might like) but in the midst of all the doubts, fears, worries, and whys, I have the knowledge that, ultimately, everything God does is Good because He is Good.
Do I know what God had in mind when he gave us Garrett for such a short time? No. Do I really like the way He's choosing to use me? Not particularly. But I do know that God is Good and there is a deep, deep comfort, a supernatural comfort if you will, in having a Something that is more than simply, "I'm hoping this is going to be okay." I know it will be. Because I know that God is Good.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
So, there you go. I do things that make me feel happy. I take zoloft. And I can rejoice in my sufferings because I have a hope that goes beyond this moment and this place.
Ben's sermon: Thankfulness