A number of years ago, I heard this song and had to pull over to the side of the road. I had to let these words wash over me. It was right after my sister and grandfather had passed away and I was really struggling emotionally. Listen to these lyrics:
Yeah, bring on the rain, I thought to myself. I felt like Job in that moment. Just bring it! “What else can you take from me?” I thought. Don’t. Just don’t say these words to God. Why challenge Him? I was angry. I was lost. I was hurt. I was one broken child of God.
I fell so far from Him in my anger and grief. And yet, through that same anger and grief, He drew me near to Him. He renewed my faith, sanctified my heart. As I reflect back today to that fateful December of 1999 when my world fell apart, I realize I would not be who I am today. I would not have the strength of faith I do today. I would not have the deep understanding that I will never fully understand the ways of my God, but I trust Him. Yes, even through grief, I learned to trust Him. Trust is so different from understanding!
And yet, I understand so much. This world is fleeting. It is temporary. Nothing in my hands or in my life is certain except for God. He alone is constant. So in all the stability I was seeking and desiring in my life, I find it in Christ alone. He is steady, especially in the storms of life.
Then I stumbled upon this song, and again had to pull my car over to the side of the road and just sob. Let the tears fall!
Yes, I have learned to praise my God, even in spite of loss and grief. I have learned to praise Him because He is ALWAYS worthy of praise. Even when I don’t understand what He is doing, I trust in His Holiness. I trust in His plan, in His purpose. In my weakest of moments, He gives me strength to keep going, to press on toward the goal. Even when He does bring on that rain that overwhelms and consumes, He gives me a life boat. He fills me with His strength so that I may hold on for dear life and come out on the other side of the storm.
Philippians 4:4-7 speaks this truth: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The peace of God is so real! We never fully understand the truth of that peace until we are in situations where we need it. God has given me much peace over the years since my sister died. He has given me many blessings! Had I given up when I wanted to, and followed my sister into death, I would never understand the idea of the fullness of God’s love. I say the idea of fullness because my small, finite brain could never fully comprehend the vastness of the fullness of God’s love. I have seen glimpses, and I have felt that peace that surpasses all understanding. But to fully comprehend it is out of my league. God alone can understand His own fullness. He only gives us insight through glimpses of the whole.
And so I press on, because God has given me strength. I press on, because He has given me purpose. I press on, because I desire more of you to know and love Him as I have come to know and love Him. Whatever storm you are in, whatever crashing waves are washing over you, hold firm to His Truth: you are loved so greatly that Jesus gave His life for you and conquered death to cleanse you of every wrongdoing you have ever done and will ever do. That is truth, and that is worthy of praise!