As I sat in the chair, the past five months replayed over and over. Flashes of the hardest times and the joyous times flooded my mind and tears started to form. Before I realized it, one had dripped down my face, but it was not a sad tear or a happy tear, it was a comforting and peaceful tear. I had finally gotten a taste of how it feels to be at peace with the hardest circumstances of life.
Wednesday afternoon I received a text that read, “I have an extra ticket to the women’s conference featuring Laura Story. Would you like to join?” I had no idea what this conference was, in fact, that was the first time I had ever heard about it. Not knowing what this would amount to, I responded with, “Yes I’d love to!”.
Thursday rolled along and I can not think of a better place to be that night. Laura Story sang songs and then gave her testimony. She told stories of how she has fought through life’s challenging storms, one of which is an everyday battle. She told the story of how her husband had surgery to have a brain tumor removed, but when he awoke he did not know she was his wife. She said this one phrase to express how she kept going despite her challenge. “Sometimes He chooses to sustain us rather than save us.” Immediately all the struggles and battles I faced in the past five months came flooding to the front of my mind.
Saying goodbye to the sport I love.
Holding my great-grandma’s hand one last time.
Watching a little boy get ripped from my family.
And countless other things.
Tears began to fill my eyes. All this hurt and hardship over the past months never made sense to me. I had prayed and prayed for protection and all I received was hardship, but her ten simple words spoke volumes to my soul. In this time He chose to sustain and strengthen me rather than saving me from these circumstances, and that I am honestly grateful for.
It is so easy to immediately feel like God has left you or that He does not love you, but the truth is, He loves us so much that He chooses not to give us any less than what we have.
He loves us enough to give us the hard times and the good times.
The beautiful and the ugly.
The structured and the chaos.
He did not save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego from the fiery furnace, instead He sustained them and stood with them. He did not leave them even though He did not save them. He did not love them any less. He does not say If you go through the waters I will be with you, He says When you go through the waters I will be with you. You and I both have to realize that we will go through the battles, but when we go them HE WILL BE WITH US, and that is another life-long task.
Isaiah 43:2 KJV
2) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
Daniel 3: 20-28
20) And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed–nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
21) Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
22) Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed–nego.
23) And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed–nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24) Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
25) He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
26) Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed–nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed–nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
27) And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
28) Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed–nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
So, girl, what if your battles were in fact blessings? What if your battle with acne, or an eating disorder, or relationships was actually a blessing? Where would you be and who would you be if God chose to save you rather than sustain you? These battles we face and the feelings that weigh us down shape us and mold us into who we were created to be. Life is not easy girl, but He is always there holding His hand out waiting on you to latch on.
He loves you.
He will not leave you.
He is right beside you.
He will not let you crumble.
The Potter knows the clay.