Isn’t it funny how you can think you’re on the upswing and everything is getting better, only to get hit by another wave of doubt and fear, toppling back to the bottom of the mountain you’re trying to overcome? That’s how the last couple of days have been for me. Right when I was feeling pretty good about things, something happened to shake my “absolute conviction” (faith) and it seemed that my eyes would fill with tears every few minutes. I’d angrily shake them off and pray, “God! Why are things not getting better when I thought they were??? I want this trial over and I want it over now! I’ve been praying almost constantly — where are YOU???”
I woke up this morning determined to have a better attitude, and I opened up the Bible app on my phone to see if the “verse of the day” would have something to encourage me in my efforts. The verse was on tithing and completely unrelated to my current struggle. Heavy sigh. Then I noticed a reading plan that I’d not seen before and it looked interesting: “Changed: Next Steps for a Changed Life”. Opening it up, I read the first day’s reading:
Matthew 16:21-23 (NIV)
21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Wow. I didn’t have to think about it long to see what wisdom God had for me in these three scriptures. Could there be a corollary between this passage in Matthew and the fact that we should trust in God’s plans since they are perfect? Peter argued with the Lord about what was going to happen and Jesus rebuked him — Peter’s attitude was rooted in selfishness, but God’s perfect plan was one to save the world by Jesus’s willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice of atonement.
My family is going through a difficult time right now and I would love for it to just be OVER. But the Word teaches us that through struggles our faith is made stronger and we grow in the Lord (James 1). God is using this valley to make us more mature servants in His kingdom. If I got my (selfish) way and the difficulties ended now, I (and others in my family) would stay weak and not become more effective witnesses for His grace in our lives. I am learning to be grateful for His grace to see this time through and to keep my eyes on His perfect plan, however long it may take to come to completion.