There are so many seasons we go through in life where we literally can’t figure out why what is happening to us is happening to us. It could be as simple and harmless as spilled coffee, a broken wine glass, or a lost library book… or as tragic and world shattering as a car accident… an illness… or the loss of a loved one, either sudden or expected. Gosh life can get so tough. This world is so crazy and unpredictable, and it’s one of the reasons why I have my faith. Someone was talking to me the other day about how they’ve struggled with reconciling how there can be so much death and brokenness in a world that God Himself created. My response was, I don’t believe in God in spite of the darkness, I believe in God because of the darkness. Because there in the blackest of nights, we know there will be light to come and dawn breaking over the horizon soon.

It’s easier said than done… to rely on God in the midst of the night. To trust Him through the unseen. But I think that’s where faith becomes its finest and weakness turns into strength. It isn’t difficult to thank God for all the good in our life and to think “someone must be on my side” when things are going well. But to claim that faith when your circumstances tell you that God has abandoned you, as the world screams at you that He doesn’t exist? What a rare and beautiful treasure to have faith that can move mountains in the midst of the all-encompassing storm.

What does that kind of faith look like, and how does it change us? What difference does it make, and why does it matter? How are our lives affected by having something like that to cling to?

I think of losing my mom when I was thirteen, and having no idea why. No one could explain it to me, and no one had the answers. I remember my mom trying to explain it to me herself just weeks before she died… trying to piece it all together in whatever way her human mind could. But “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts.” I knew that then and I know that now. I look back and see how my mom’s passing at such a critical time in my life made me exactly the person I am today… and how God has used that part of my story in such an incredible way. My mom preached the gospel to many people in her final days on this Earth… only sometimes choosing to use words. Her acts of love and her joyful spirit even as she was dying spoke volumes to her faith and how wrapped up her soul was in Jesus. Only faith in the God of heaven can bring peace and even joy in the midst of so much unknown.

There is happiness that says “I am content because of my circumstances.” Then there is joy that says, “I am content in spite of my circumstances.” Joy believes in and hopes for a better future, and knows that it’s coming. Soon.

I think of people in my life experiencing trials that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy and I long for them to know that joy. The peace that fills your heart even when the tragedies of this world try to drain you of every last ounce of sanity. In every sort of struggle, like not knowing if you’ll make enough money next year, if you’ll ever own your own home, if you’ll ever have and hold your own child. “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

The next time you’re going through something that has you questioning how and why on Earth a loving God would allow you to walk through it, remember that this world is one that is separated from Him and is destined to be until He returns. In fact, we might claim that darkness in fact does not exist at all. Darkness is really just the absence of light.

That is why we never give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. We may have small troubles for a while now, but these troubles are helping us gain an eternal glory. That eternal glory is much greater than our troubles. So we think about what we cannot see, not what we see. What we see lasts only a short time, and what we cannot see will last forever.

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