The number one question we have when we see something or experience something terrible is typically, “Why, God?” It is hard to understand why bad things happen… especially when they happen to you or someone you love. I personally find it more difficult to reach towards God when the hard things happen than when the good things do. It’s not that I don’t believe He can fix it or make it work for His good… it’s that I am often too distracted by the wreckage to seek Him first.
The first thing we have to understand, is that the minute we are formed in our mother’s womb, sin and hurt can touch us. Although we are not capable of sinning until we are old enough to purposefully disobey our parents, our parents mistakes can touch us, and the hurt and sin of the world can touch us. But, thankfully, God is there. God purposely uses what the world sees as a disadvantage as a gift. God also sometimes brings healing not on Earth, but in Heaven. There is a lot that we will not understand until we stand on the other side with Him and that’s what often makes it so hard to see Him in the dark.
In Jeremiah 30:17, God says, “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds.” I say this to give you peace! God’s will is always going to be done. We can continue to work on our faith and see through the storm of life and know that Jesus walked on water, calmed the storm, and continues to rescue us with His grace every single day! It’s often hard to recognize when He is there because our vision gets so cloudy in the midst of despair. In the story where Jesus walked on water, His own disciples couldn’t even recognize Him. They straight up thought He was a ghost. This is someone who they walked with, talked with, and ministered with every day. How much harder would it be for us to see Jesus in the storm if we were unfamiliar with how He felt or we were distant from Him?
Continuing to strengthen the faith you have in the good seasons is essential to outlast the dark seasons. After Jon and I got married, I let myself get distracted with busy busy busy. My relationship with God was there, as He’s been my whole life, but it was like a distant cousin. When COVID hit, I was already struggling with severe anxiety and my relationship with God was totally lacking. Even though I thought quarantine would only last a month (lol), I knew in order to protect my heart and my mind, I needed my relationship with Jesus back.
Let me tell you, there were many days I could not see Him. As the cases climbed, when George Floyd was murdered, while hate is constantly spewed on social media… the world seemed very dark and hopeless. I think even now, it’s still hard to see the hope if you’re not looking for it. Not much has really changed. But just as the leaves are beginning to turn, I have decided to change my ways of seeking Him after the news, after the hurt, after the pain, and seeking Him very first.
It is truly miraculous what reading your Bible or praying first thing in the morning will do to your entire day. This is such a basic concept and one I have known my whole life, but for some reason, I always start it and give up. Giving God your first can help you navigate whatever darkness you may find in your day with some slight ease. I find it easier to handle any anxious or depressed thoughts I may have. I find it easier to watch the news (although I am still avoiding it to some extent). I find it easier to simply live through this year and knowing that whatever 2021 brings I can be more confident knowing I am working on strengthening my relationship with Him.
Whatever issues have faced you this year, I implore you to seek Him first. We have to continue to chip away at the pain that has been added and give Him more of our worries and fears. Even if I struggle with anxiety my entire life, I can find comfort in knowing that He is there, He’s got me, and His timing is perfect. I am going to leave with you with this verse: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to You as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” (John 14:27). Seek Him first and the rest will become a little easier.