I snapped a picture as my daughter and I drove near Asheville a few weekends ago. I was traveling to speak nearby, and I wanted to show her where our family had lived when she and her brothers were little. How we had loved living there.
As those glorious mountains spread out before us, trees budding with the promise of spring, I remembered my seven-year-old son Ben’s sweet words on a long-ago afternoon. He and I had crested that same hill, and he had said, “Mommy, look at that mountain!”
“Yes, Ben, I see that beautiful mountain. Isn’t God good?”
“Mom, God is good; and He made me little for a reason.”
Not sure where Ben was going with this, I quickly agreed, “Yes, Ben, God is good; and He made you just the way He wants you to be.”
Ben replied, “Yes, Mommy. God made me just like He wants me to be. He made me small so I might save a small animal in a hole sometime.”
I laughed to myself and quickly agreed. Ben was tiny. He had been born a preemie and had lots of catching up to do. I didn’t give his words much more thought, and we went on to the grocery store.
Though Ben’s spunky nature had helped him overcome many health issues, his chronic lung issues were causing him lots of trouble, and he was also having seizures brought on from the brain bleeds he had sustained as a preemie. Because Ben might stop breathing when the seizures came on, we were instructed to call 911 if they lasted more than a few minutes.
But this day had been a good day—until that night.
Shortly after I tucked Ben in bed, he began to have a seizure. His little body shook, and he was unable to respond. I looked at the clock and began to pray. I pleaded with God for the seizure to stop, and it did. But I found myself remembering Ben’s precious words from hours before, “God made me just like He wants me to be.”
And I got mad.
It didn’t seem fair. God could have made Ben completely healthy. Yet, my kid wasn’t.
I brushed my teeth, fighting back angry tears. I finally lay down and tried to sleep, but I kept listening to the monitor in his room for any signs of a seizure starting up again. As I lay there, I found myself becoming increasingly angry and barely able to rest.
Morning finally came. There were no more seizures during the night.
Give Me Answers, Lord!
As was my routine, I headed to my favorite chair and picked up my Bible. I usually read by a reading plan or part of an ordered Bible study. But this time, I angrily flopped my Bible open, asking God to “show me something,” as if He owed me an explanation.
I look down to see Job 2:10 underlined from a previous study. “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (NIV)
And I could almost hear my Savior whisper, “You, Kim, are talking like a foolish woman. Shall you accept good from God and not trouble?”
Seeing those words, I could barely breathe. I wanted to crawl under that favorite chair where I sat.
I bowed my head and whispered the words, “Oh, God,” . . . for that was exactly what I was doing. I was acting as if I deserved the blessings, and I questioned God’s goodness in the pain.
I fell to my knees, sobbing as I realized my sin. I felt like Job when God questioned him with the words, “Who is this that darkens my counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2).
For I was indeed acting as a foolish woman.
I had forgotten that God so often brings the greatest blessings from the hardest trials. He had done that in my life over and over. Why would I doubt He could do that in my son’s life?
All these years later, I have the benefit of perspective. I have indeed seen God use Ben’s physical trials to cause Him to draw close to our Lord. Ben has a faith that has been tested. Ben trusts God like few I know.
The apostle Paul says in Philippians 1:14 that it is because of the chains (not in spite of them) that others have been emboldened to speak the gospel without fear. He confidently states what has happened to him has served to advance the gospel (v. 12).
And so it has been with my Ben.
About seven years after that hard night when Ben was little, those seizures no longer were a problem, but his heart was. Ben has a heart condition that has nothing to do with being a preemie. It can cause sudden death and had required surgery. This eight-hour surgery involved stopping Ben’s heart multiple times. It was risky, and the doctor had informed us all of the risks.
After it was all over, I held Ben’s hand in recovery. I looked down at my then fourteen-year-old and asked him, “Ben, were you afraid?” He looked up at me with a groggy smile, his eyes still closed, and said, “Mom, how could I be scared with a God like Jesus?”
God Has Proven Faithful—Over and Over
Ben will graduate this May with honors from the University of Tennessee. Those brain bleeds and seizures haven’t held him back. But more than that, the struggles have caused Ben to draw near to God, ask Him hard questions, and Ben has found God faithful.
Because Ben knows he can count on God, he confidently and often tells others they can too.
Ben doesn’t just know about God, he has seen God prove Himself faithful and true to His promises over and over.
Ben believes in God. He doesn’t just believe in His existence, but he believes Him and keeps believing in Him.
So, what does this look like for us? How can we have this kind of believing faith?
Believe God’s Son died for you and made the only way for you to be with a Holy God (John 14:6). Then keep trusting God with every day and every circumstance. Trust His promises and keep trusting them.
Yes, when I look at my circumstances, I’ve been fearful and worried; but when I turn my eyes to Jesus, when I remember His faithful promises, when I trust Him again and again, my faith grows stronger.
As I take my eyes off my scary circumstances and look up to Him (even after I’ve blown it), I’m fully convinced (over and over) that He is powerfully able to do what He promises.
To Trust God, I Need To:
- Know His promises (read the Word).
- Turn my eyes to Him and remind myself (over and over) that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).
- Remember there is no circumstance in my life that God cannot use for my good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).
- Know that God, who loves me enough to send His Son to die for me, isn’t going to leave me hanging. He will never leave me nor forsake me (Heb. 13:5).
- Keep fearlessly trusting God to help me. “So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Heb. 13:6).
And then get up and trust God again tomorrow (Matt. 6:34).
Yes, God made Ben just the way He wanted. And I am so thankful I have seen God’s goodness in the good days and in trouble. Perhaps I’ve seen Him more clearly in the hard days.
Maybe you’re going through something right now. Maybe life seems unfair. Maybe you want to question God’s goodness. Oh friend, hold on! He brings beauty from ashes! He works hard things together for good in our lives and the lives of those we love!
God, help us trust You in the good days and in trouble. We know You certainly bring blessing from both. Strengthen us to keep our eyes on You for our good and Your glory!