The world feels like it’s crashing in all around me. My oldest son has turned away from the Lord and is living a life we never dreamed possible for him. My husband and I are distant from each other, and I’m struggling to keep it together at work. I can’t lose my job or we’ll go under. The bills just keep adding up, and the house is a wreck all the time. I can’t even think in there, much less pray. What in the world am I supposed to do?
Over the last few days, I’ve gotten emails from a lot of boy moms that when put all together, sound something like the paragraph above. They’re hard to read. They make me cry and cause me to get down on my knees and beg the Lord to move for you, for me, and for every mom in the world who is struggling to understand a life that hasn’t turned out the way she thought it would.
Life has a way of doing that…of making us see our future through rose colored glasses, and then turning gray once we get there.
I’m dealing with something in my own life right now that isn’t going the way I hoped it would, and God is using it to teach me more about who He is and how I can trust Him in the hard times. Maybe it will help you, too?
Lessons From the Hard Times
1. God isn’t really that interested in our happiness
Now according to Victoria O’Steen, His ultimate goal is for you to be happy and serve yourself. But obviously—at least to anyone who reads the Bible—this isn’t true. I’m not saying God isn’t happy when we’re happy. I think it brings Him joy to see His creation at peace, laughing, loving well, and living life to the fullest. We reflect Him when we’re enjoying Him…I just don’t think happiness is His highest goal for our lives.
Sometimes (let’s just be honest now), that feels cruel. Why would God create the world and then not want to do everything in His power to make the people in it happy? That’s how I would do it if I were God…You too, right?
Know why we would arrange things that way? Because we’re selfish human beings, who at the deepest levels of the heart really just want what’s best for ourselves. It takes some serious effort for most of us to find the place where we want what God wants more than we want what we want. And the reason for this is because we can’t see the bigger picture.
2. It’s hard for us to let go of the way we think things should be and embrace the way God thinks things should be.
We can’t see everything He can see, and we don’t know the end of our own personal stories. And that means, if we truly love God and want to serve Him well with our lives, we have to just trust.
That’s the hardest thing, you know, just trusting. It is for me, anyway. I’m much more comfortable when I feel in control, know what to expect, and see things turn out like I thought they should. Unfortunately for me, God is the only one who has the right to play that all-mighty, all-knowing, all-powerful role with His creation, so I’m left needing to submit my desires to Him over and over and over again (and all that could happen in just one day…).
3. God is most interested in making HIS name great.
It’s hard to understand, because God’s nature is so contrary to our own, but God does everything to bring glory to Himself. All of creation screams of His majesty, and the people that are part of that creation—their blessings, joys, heartaches, and disappointments—bring attention to Him. That’s why our response to the things of life—even and especially the surprises of life—are so important…they reflect Him, and tell others the story of God through our lives.
When I know that God is always going to act in His own best interest, I can trust that whatever He does will be in mine (<<<—-Tweet that!) That changes my entire perspective, and has the potential to change how I respond to the things that aren’t going the way I want them to.
God will make a way, because it’s His nature to bring glory to His name. My friend, He wants to work in whatever situation you’re in that looks bleak and gray and make it into something beautiful so that others will “sing for joy at the work of His hands” (Psalm 92:4). You and me? We’re the vehicle He’s chosen to display to the world how good He is, and His goodness to us has nothing to do with our circumstances. Our response to the circumstances of life, however, has the potential to whisper His greatness, or scream our ingratitude so all the world can see.
Because God loves us, we can trust everything He does, everything He allows, and every prayer He doesn’t answer the way we thought He should have. Because we trust Him to make His own name great, we can trust Him to work in whatever situation we find ourselves because He wants to get the glory.
I know it’s a hard truth. But when life feels out of control, there has to be something we cling to…some truth that transcends how we feel or what we can see. This is it, and when we really get it, it changes everything.
Lord, please make a way for the precious mama reading this today. Would you come right now? Comfort her, strengthen her, and make her aware of your presence with her like never before? Help her to see that your heart for her is always good, because when you get the glory, she gets the best. In Jesus’ big, strong, mighty name, amen.
One of the things that helps me most when I’m struggling to see God in the midst of my troubles, is to remember that my response matters to God.
If you’re struggling with your response to the hard things, I’d like to invite you to take advantage of a one-day sale on my ebook, How to Control Your Emotions, So They Don’t Control You: A Mom’s Guide to Overcoming.
Today only (9/4/14), you can get it for just $2.99 when you use the coupon code “MOB” at checkout.
Sale ends at 10PM EST tonight (9/4/14). Offer only good for PDF copy of the book.
This post is a part of our series on building relationship with our teen sons. Click here to read them all.