“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Romans 8:28 NLT
Two Saturdays ago, I woke up with these words floating though my head. My first response was: “Not this time."
The night before we received devastating news. A few days before my dad was rushed to the ER when a medical condition he’s been maintain for 10+ years blew out of control. His blood was septic, and we were waiting to hear whether or not he could keep his foot or have it amputated. Unexpectedly, life as we know it has changed.
At the moment, I felt hopeless. Although we didn’t know exactly what the future held, we knew for sure that his life and our lives are going to dramatically change. Even now today, with the surgery over (they only removed one bone in his foot) and the blood infection gone, there is still so much that we don’t know. Will he walk normally again? Will he be able to drive? There are still a lot of questions, but two weeks ago, when these words went through my mind, the questions seemed overwhelming.
I was shocked. Surprised. Angry. Afraid.
I didn’t know what the future held and I hate that.
So I did what I do best: I started journalling and pouring out my emotions to God. As I worked past the feelings, the fears, and all of the uncertainty, there were only a few things I knew for sure:
1. God allowed this to happen.
I don’t know why. I don’t see God’s plan at all. At times, it seems cruel and heartless and like everything is out of control.
Still, there’s a voice inside of me that reminds me that these are feelings.
Outside of my feelings is the truth that God is in control. He has a plan and a purpose. He sees beyond what I see and all things really do work together for good.
Today, I can’t see this in my future, but I can look back and see this truth at work in my past. At the hardest times in my life, when I could not see what God was doing, He still had a plan and a purpose. Even though these times were unbelievably hard, He was there through it all and He brought us to good places we couldn’t imagine.
I must trust that He will do it again. While I don’t see why God is allowing all of this to happen, I must trust that if He allowed it, He has a plan.
2. I must submit to God’s plan
There is a huge temptation when life gets out of control to attempt to control it. (At least, for me.) After you exhaust yourself trying to “fix” everything, you realize you can’t control much. What then?
Some people run away from God. They get angry, put up walls and walk away from their relationship with Him. Many still go to church and even talk a good game, but in their hearts they are shut down. Like a marriage where two people live on the same house but haven’t shared a room or even a decent conversation in years, too many Christians abandon their relationship with God, they stop praying, stop reading the Bible, and stop obeying God’s Word or will for their lives.
I’ve observed it too many times. I’ve known too many people who didn’t leave the faith—they just stopped following Jesus. When life got too hard they took matters into their own hands and walked away from God’s plan for their lives.
Like Jonah, they didn’t submit to God’s will, but they ran away in the other direction.
I made a decision a long time ago that I don’t want to do that.
Wherever God leads I want to follow. Today that means walking down a dark road that I do not want to walk. Honestly, I don’t know right now all that this decision will entail.
However, inside of my heart I have decided to follow Jesus—no turning back, no turning away, no getting distracted or off course by the temptation to run from trouble.
Even when I don’t understand God’s will, I want to be in the dead center of it.
3. Whatever happens, God is good.
A few days later, we were sitting in the parking lot eating lunch, waiting for my Dad’s doctor to call and tell us what all would need to be removed from my Dad's foot. As we waited, we turned on Cissy Graham’s podcast. She was interviewing John Cooper from Skillet.
He told the story of his Mom’s struggle and ultimate loss to cancer. As she was going through treatment, she told him over and over again: “Even if this doesn’t go the way we planned, remember that God is still good. Don’t get angry and turn from Him. Even though life is hard, God is good.”
I’ll admit that even though I had determined points #1 and #2 in my heart days before, I needed to be reminded of this truth.
God is good.
God loves us.
Even through the hard times, God does not abandon us. He walks with us through them.
I recalled that just days before, on the Saturday as I prayed, God gave me this verse:
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2 NLT
When I cried, “But God, the waters are coming in like a flood—we are going to drown.”
He spoke to my heart and said, “I know. Be still. Trust that I have this and you will not drown.”
Today as you are reading this, my Dad is doing better. We never had to walk through the worst case scenario, but we are still facing a lot of challenges and difficulties.
Yet, I am determined that no matter what roller coaster my emotions take me on, I will hold fast to these truths.
Today, I don’t know what you are facing.
It could be a financial dilemma, a physical struggle, a relationship problem, or an unexpected challenge that makes you feel like you are drowning.
Today, I want to encourage you to remember that feelings aren’t truth.
While they probably feel more real and are shouting much louder than the truth at the moment, they are just feelings.
The truth is that:
God controls our lives.
We must submit to God’s will.
No matter what, God is good.
Even during the hardest times, each us of as followers of Jesus, have the responsibility to hold fast to these truths and live by them.
They are the solid rock we can stand on when everything else is quaking and shaking and sinking. As the song says, "On Christ the Solid Rock we stand....all other ground is sinking sand."
Today, I choose to stand.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.