When life gives us lemons
|Image Source: Ben White|
In the midst of some truly joyful experiences this year, Mel and I have had to also endure through a number of tough challenges.
Without going into too much detail, we have been faced with family feuds (not the fun game-show type); financial strain; academic struggles; burnout and far more car trouble than anyone would like to deal with.
Life has certainly thrown us its fair share of the proverbial lemons.
But all of this this got me thinking... Are we still able to see God's grace in our lives when things aren't going as planned?
It's easy to speak about God's goodness when the road is smooth. But when we encounter bumpy patches, we are quick to forget.
"God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good!"
This age-old saying that we often recite in our churches is beautiful and true. But do we really believe the words that we are saying?
Do we truly believe that God is good all the time? Or only when things are going well?
Indeed, God was good when I was accepted into the seminary. God was good when I got married. But God was also good when my grandfather passed away. God was good when I dropped out of University. God is still good in the midst of all our struggles and pain.
So how has God's grace been revealed to me during these challenging times? Quite simply, it has been through God's presence with me.
That is the gist of it. That is where I believe God's grace can be seen in the lowest valleys of life's ups and downs - God's presence with us.
Often our prayers during difficult times look something like this: "God, please come and intervene in my present situation. Please come and fix all my problems in miraculous ways."
Perhaps our prayers should be altered a bit. This has been my prayer over the past couple of months: "God, thank you that you are present in my suffering with me. Thank you that you are with me, strengthening and supporting me through these difficult times. Amen."
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
- Psalm 23:4 (ESV)