Life is hard. For some, it’s impossible. This last year has been one of our hardest. March 11th, 2016 we buried our 14-month-old granddaughter. Why would a loving God give a child and then carry her away at 14 months? I don’t know the answer to that, but I can tell you what I do know. God is good, no matter what.
God gives us free will.
Ever since Adam and Eve were given a choice in that beautiful garden, life was about to change. Read Genesis 3:6-19. But before you’re quick to put the blame on them, think again. We would have chosen the same thing. How do I know? Because we all want our own ways. Once they chose to eat of that fruit, the whole game changed.
Before the fall, God provided for their every need. Adam was given great responsibility, but he also enjoyed his work. There was no sickness, no death. Simply two people depending on their heavenly Father completely. It’s a wonderful picture of God’s love. Before the fall, life was not hard. But God gave man a choice—free will.
One thing I’ve learned about free will is that we only like it sometimes. We like free will if it’s our free will. We want to make our own choices. But when someone uses their free will and it hurts us or our loved one, we are no longer fans of free will.
Adam and Eve got to choose. While we are living on this side of glory, there will be hard things we go through. Sometimes because of our decisions, sometimes because of the decisions of others, those hard times are out there.
God will never leave us.
The thing is, God never promised it would be easy. I looked all through his promise book and it’s not there. And yet, he did promise that no matter what we go through, he would be with us. Read Deuteronomy 31:6. We will not go through it alone. Like a loving dad, he holds our hand, or if things get too scary, he will carry us. Read Isaiah 46:4. I can nuzzle my head right into his neck and know it’s going to be okay. He’s right there.
God gives us grace.
God has this special thing he gives us when the hard times come. Paul knew about it and mentioned it in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9. Instead of answering Paul’s prayer and removing what was hard from his life, God gave him grace. God wanted Paul to know what Paul was facing was hard, but God would provide what he needed in that hard place. God’s grace enables us to do things we never thought we could do… like when I sat at my sister’s murder trial waiting to testify. I didn’t sit there alone. God was with me, giving me his grace.
God has overcome the world.
Maybe you’re wondering why God didn’t warn us about life being hard. Well, he did. Read John 16:33. Tribulation means hard times. God let us know we would experience hard times. But he reminded us we would not be alone. When we found out our granddaughter, Olivia, would probably die before she was born, God was with us. At 16, when I stood at my mother’s casket, God was with me. There is not one hard thing I’ve gone through, not one loss I’ve experienced alone. And when things felt like I could not handle them, I could run to him. Read Psalm 91:1. Do you remember when you were little and you got scared? God knows sometimes we still feel like that in life. So he said we can always run to him. We can hide in his shadow, his giant loving shadow.
God comforts us.
Rushing to get my three year old son, Nathan, into the car, I heard him scream. To my horror, I had shut the door on his chubby little fingers. I threw the door open, freeing his hand to hear his surprised voice cry, “Mom, why did you do that?”
He was stunned that the same mom who loved him so much would hurt him. I’ve felt like that in my life at times. When I miscarried, I felt like my heart was inside a door that God had slammed. I wondered why. And then when I found out I had to wait a year to get pregnant, I struggled with it. And do you know what God did? He picked me up and cuddled me, just like I did to my son. He met me where I was. God always gives us comfort when we need it. Read 2 Corinthians: 3-4. God opens up his storehouse and dispenses comfort any hour of the day it’s needed. And his supply will never run out.
God has a purpose for pain.
Maybe you already know all these promises, but you’re stuck because you want to understand why we have to have pain. I mean, he is God; he could bypass all of that if he wanted to, couldn’t he? And then I think of his own Son and how God allowed him to suffer on the cross. Because God loved us.
God has reasons we may not understand. He thinks differently than we do. Read Isaiah 55:8-9. God’s ways are not our ways, nor are his thoughts like our thoughts. We cannot understand an infinite God with finite minds. That’s where trust comes in. And when we go through hard times, we need to remember God is all-knowing. And he works everything together for our good. Romans 8:28. Even though life is hard, we can trust that God is good.
Please pray with me:
Father, we pray that you will help us when we go through hard times in our lives. Help us to be like David who always remembered how good you are. Help us to trust you when things don’t make sense. And God, on days when our hearts are broken, carry us, as only you can do. We believe that life is hard, but you are good. You can’t be anything else. Amen.
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker and published author of fourteen books. Some of which are: Her memoir, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival, three children’s books: Emma’s Wish, The Crooked House, and Lulu’s Lunch. She has also authored the poetry books Droplets, and the series He Whispers. While Anne enjoys being a poet, speaker and published author, her favorite title is still ‘Grandma’ to her three grandchildren here, and one in heaven. To find out more about Anne you can visit her at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest pages.