It’s enough, Lord. You can stop.
They’ve already had two miscarriages, isn’t that enough? They had a less than ideal childhood, isn’t that enough? Shouldn’t that cancel out anything bad in adulthood? They already have a child with a disability, shouldn’t the rest of their children be perfectly healthy? Lord, their marriage is hard enough, can’t You heal it now and not allow any more brokenness? Lord, they’ve had one child die, will You please excuse them from having anything else tragic happen? They’ve already lost one parent to cancer, isn’t that enough? Lord, isn’t one tragedy enough? One diagnosis? One death? Why must some people endure so much, Lord?
It’s as if I think there should be a limit on our suffering. A place we get to when there is no more because we’ve been. through. enough….and then I am reminded of God’s truths: none of this pain, sin, suffering and death was in God’s original plan. It all entered when the forbidden fruit was consumed. He is not the one to blame, question or be angry with. His Word tells us we WILL have trouble (John 16:33) and to not be surprised at the fiery trials we are going through (1 Peter 4:12). He warns us about this world, which is good of Him. Because in Him is no bad, just good. So while He allows “life” to happen to His people, people that love and honor Him, He can use it for our good and His glory. In this world we WILL have trouble. In this world we will suffer and have tribulation and much affliction. And because God is good, there is a place, not of this world, when God says, “OK. That’s enough. It’s time to bring them Home.” And we enter Heaven. A place where sadness, death, sin, sickness, lying, cheating, addictions, pain, etc. are NO MORE. Trials are part of this life but not part of our eternal home. THANK YOU, JESUS.
So until then, when we see people going through trial after trial after trial, or we are in that place, we can remain hopeful and remind ourselves and others of God’s mighty truths and promises. He loves us. He is good. This isn’t our home. Our world, our bodies and our lives are fallen. Broken. Sinful. Never to be truly whole, perfect and complete until Heaven. So we endure. We persevere. We remain steadfast under much trial. We have hope! We can trust God to act and work things together for good. We can rest in His love that is bigger than we can imagine. We can know that we know what we know, but we must not only know it, we must live it because others need this hope, too.
I recently read a book* that said instead of asking God “Why?” (which I do often) ask “What now?”. We usually don’t get an answer to our “Why?”, but our “What now?” can be answered. By the power of the Holy Spirit we can know what now.
I like to tell God how to do His job and make little suggestions here and there that show how feeble my faith is. How tied it is to the here-and-now, to circumstances and sometimes even people. As Christians, our hope and our faith can only be in Him. Because- (I’ll say it again) In the world you will have trouble! But take heart He has overcome the world and can overcome us! When He overcomes us our faith will rest solely in Him. Not in anyone else, not in ourselves, nor in our circumstances. Our foundation must be laid on Him with hope in Him, expectant of Him to shine light in dark places, to bring something, anything good from tragedy and to show us who He is and how loved we are.
Thy will be done, Lord. Not ours, Yours. Everything we go through can be turned into good- for our good and for His glory…to make Him known. Relationships can be healed, we can seek Him more, and people can be saved. We are talking eternal purposes here. Things we cannot see or make sense of. We have to trust. To stay in the place of trusting in who He is when we can’t even see through the tears.
What if, with my hand up asking God to “Stop, that’s enough”, I’m not only building a wedge between my Savior and me but I’m praying against the very things that could actually bring freedom, healing and wholeness this side of Heaven? What if what He has for us on the other side of this suffering is better than anything we can imagine? What if He can really use us amidst our afflictions?
I have a dear group of friends that I am so grateful for, but as a whole, we have lived a lot of life in our 30-something years. So I say to God, “That’s enough. We’re good. We have learned and will continue to persevere with one another’s help, but can’t this be enough?” I don’t always laugh at the future like the Proverbs 31 woman is supposed to, especially because I know we will experience more pain and heartache. More death. More sin. So, often, I fear the future. BUT THEN…I’m reminded God holds the future and He holds each one of us. He will hold us up, strengthen us and give us the grace we need to put one foot in front of the other in faith and in life. He has also given us each other to walk through this life with and that is something we can praise Him for daily. We will see more bad…but we will see more good and we will see Jesus as we endure.
He is God. I am not. He is sovereign. Mighty. Loving and kind. All that we go through, good or bad can be used for His glory and our good. It’s a place- a mindset and a heart-set we must stay in to be victorious until we see Him again. When we are reunited with babies we never met, those that were gone way too soon, parents, grandparents and siblings…everything we have endured here will be gone. What will remain are the crowns we will receive. Because we share in Christ’s sufferings, we will share with Him in Glory (1 Peter 4:13).
Rereading this I am reminded that one tragedy, death and ‘diagnosis’ was, in fact, enough. How tragic was Christ’s death on the cross? I can’t imagine what everyone was thinking. But God knew. He knew what would soon happen and how beautiful the discovery of Him being alive forever would be. His is good and can take really, really bad and make good. For you and for me, for all who believe. Both of these events, Christ’s death and resurrection give us hope for now and eternal life to come. What Christ endured for us is enough for us to have hope in the middle of suffering and enough for us to meet Him face to face one day.
Christ’s death on the cross, the resurrection…ok, that’s enough, Lord.
Blessed in the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
*Safe in the Arms of God, John McArthur