Friday, August 31, 2012

Triumph Over Troubles

"...Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? In all this Job did not sin with his lips."  ~ Job 2:10 

Perhaps you can relate if you have lost someone you love greatly. 

I have accumulated several dreaded "special" dates!  Most of these days on the calendar were ones that I once celebrated with great happiness...and is marked by my husband’s death. 
Ever since Brad died...I have assigned these dates a place of sorrow in my heart instead of a song. 

March 1 ~ Our Wedding  Anniversary
May 25 -        Brad's Birthday
June 12 -         My Birthday
September 1-         Brad Died

 I am usually a pretty optimistic and cheerful person. So, to be honest with you...I’ve grown tired of “dreading” when these dates show up on the calendar. It wears me out!

The last four years during these days mentioned above, I have had the tendency to remember and dwell on only the bad and setting aside the good. I focus on the troubles of my heart and not the triumph God has given me over them. 

So starting with this 4th anniversary of my husband’s death I wanted to try something different! I prayed and asked the Lord to help me "re-train" my thoughts when recalling Brad's last days...and especially the day he died. I knew I needed to focus on the journey through the trials which has lead to triumph over troubles instead of the bad which befell Brad and I in them! 

I went to the Scriptures to find some encouragement for this new mindset. I easily found exactly what I needed in the Book of Job. As someone who has experienced some pretty devastating circumstances...they are only a fraction of what Job experienced. I have to say...I admire Job! 

He suffered the most devastating losses in his life. He lost all his children, his fortune, and even his friends. When Satan attempted to destroy Job's faith and trust in God...we find a grieving Job responding to the greatness of God, reflecting on the goodness of God, and refusing to assign guilt to God.  Job in all of his pain and heartache kept his integrity intact. How? He knew that God was enough for him ~ with or without all he valued.

When I recall Brad's responses as he battled cancer...I see in Brad so many of the same attributes Job had. Brad grieved his loss of health, his limited ability to lead our church family in worshiping Jesus, and knowing he was about to be separated from me by his death. Yet...Brad responded to God in trusting His greatness, reflecting on the goodness of God, and refusing to assign blame to God. Brad's integrity, like Job’s, remained intact. God was enough for him...with or without the things or people he valued and loved.

Unfortunately... I fell a bit short in all of these things during Brad's last days and after his death. I became doubtful of God’s goodness and I blamed Him for not saving my husband from such suffering...for I knew He had the power to have spared him from such pain. my brokenness...I also knew that God was the only One I could turn to and trust.  I still believed He loved me and I believed He was the only One who could truly help me. For I had learned through so many earlier trials and troubles that when all was said and done...God alone was enough for me. What I own and even the people I love often failed in one way or another but...God never does. 

So I prayed and prayed...asking Him to reveal to my shattered heart that His love and faithfulness would fill my soul and give me a new heart that desired above all things...only Him. God is faithful..and He gave me this desire of my heart to love him more...

Job is a good model for the kind of believer I can also be. In Brad...I saw this kind of faith and trust in God being lived out.  I know I can trust God in the midst of severe and unexplainable circumstances. Job, express my grief to God...for He wants to hear the cries of my heart too. There is healing in our tears when given into God’s care.

As I look back on the weeks and days leading up to Brad’s death, I recall how praising God in the storms brought relief to my troubling thoughts, and how trusting God’s goodness instilled hope, no matter what was to come.

These past few days leading up to September 1st, God has shown me I can choose to recall the past with dread...or remember the triumph I experienced through my testing with Jesus by my side.

I choose to remember the victories past.. and the victories yet to come. May the Lord open my eyes always to the absolute, all-sufficiency of Almighty God. He has brought beauty from the ashes of my despair. He is enough!

"He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only."
- C. S. Lewis



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