This morning, I was chatting with my mom about the process of rehoming our sweet dog, Barnabas. As you can imagine, this has been beyond difficult for Jason and me, and as the time grows closer to say our goodbyes, my heart grows so heavy it feels it will burst. I know this is something we have to do, but I have yet to understand why. Why would God ask so much of us? I didn’t share all of this with my mother, but over the past few weeks, I’ve shared enough with her that she knows how much this hurts us.
As Jason and I headed out to take Barnabas on a hike before the day grew too warm, I received a text message from my mom. It read, “A very wise and talented author has written something that will hlep you as you face this hard choice you know you must soon make. See Daily Discussions of a Doubting Disciple page 79. She can help you.”
For those of you who aren’t aware, Daily Discussions of a Doubting Disciple is the title of one of my books. Yes, my mother used my own words against me. Only, they weren’t really against me. As I read the message within those pages, I realized I already had all the answers I needed. No, I may not understand why God is asking this of us, but I know I can trust that He will work even this for our good. Below you’ll find the devotion I wrote several years ago when facing a similar crisis of faith. I hope it will encourage you as it encouraged me.
As many of you know, at the early part of last week, I dislocated my shoulder. I spent the remainder of the week lying on the couch or bed in great pain and doped up on muscle relaxers. (By the way, I HATE medicine, so the fact that I took so much will tell you how much pain I was in.) Jason had a very busy week at work, so he wasn't able to help much with housework or other chores, and so I watched, helplessly, as my house (which I had just cleaned) became cluttered with dirty dishes, laundry, and take-out boxes.
When I was coherent enough to think straight, my thoughts consisted mainly of the following:
*My book tour starts on the 22nd, and I'm not ready. I have interview questions to answer, guest posts to write and publicizing to do.
*I have to march at the college graduation on Friday night. I need to be well by then.
*Abby's (my niece) play is on Saturday. I can't miss that. She's worked so hard, and this year she's actually in the play. Not to mention, I spent all that time making her costume.
*My house is falling apart. I can't stand this mess any longer. I need to get better.
*The dogs are growing restless. They haven't been for a walk in a while. I'd take them if I could, but I can barely make it back and forth to the bathroom.
*I need to prepare my Sunday School lesson and offertory for Sunday. Offertory? Can I play the piano at all? Oh dear!
And on and on the thoughts circled. Let me tell you, it was more than a little frustrating and depressing. And yet, all the while, Romans 8:28 kept joining the other thoughts. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
"Really?" I asked. "What good could possibly come from this?" But still, the thought would not go away.
It remained with me as my house grew more and more cluttered before my eyes. It calmed me when my book tour grew closer, and I still found myself unable to concentrate long enough to come up with a coherent sentence. It encouraged me when I missed graduation and my niece's play. And it helped me accept the fact that I was going to have to "sit out" from my normal duties at church on Sunday.
I can honestly tell you, now that I'm back on the mend (although I'm not there yet), that I still have no idea what "good" God is working from this past week. It was painful, exhausting and extremely frustrating. I began this week still not feeling 100%, yet facing two weeks' worth of work. Still, the reminder is there. It whispers to my soul every moment of every hour of every day, "It's good. It's all good. It will be good. You'll see."
I don't know what you may be facing today, but may I remind you of the same. It's good. It's all good. It will be good. Just keep trusting. Just keep praying. And above all, keep going. . .even when the way is unclear and the path seems painful.