Can you trust God to write your story? Yes.
Let today’s stories from our readers encourage you with the hope of Providence—God’s hand working through all things for our good and His glory. (And submit your own story of God’s Providence here!)
These three women have all learned, through tragic circumstances, the power of God’s love for them and those around them. They can tell it better than I can.
You Can Trust God to Shepherd You Through Your Greatest Fear
Three of my children were diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. After our initial shock and the following waves of grief and mourning (which still come), God helped me to identify the powerful grip of fear as I considered the potential risks, including death, related to this diagnosis.
About a year and a half after the diagnosis, God spoke to me through His Word and applied the gospel directly to my fear in a meaningful way. In the middle of a dirt path on a morning walk, while meditating on Psalm 23, God opened my eyes to see that He knows what it’s like to lose a child. That truth stunned me, and then it sank deep into my soul.
Those who’ve suffered similarly are often the best comforters, and I began to understand the comfort and fellowship of God in a fresh way. I don't have to fear any evil, even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, because God is with me. The God who loved me enough to give His own Son is with me.
Thankfully, all of our children are medically stable, but our lives are more complex with specialist appointments, medicine, regular testing, etc.
Facing my greatest fear and knowing God would be with me, even at the outermost edges of the unknown future, has helped me to live daily with greater faith and hope.
You Can Trust God’s Fatherly Care When Your Dad Isn’t There
When I was entering my senior year of high school (seventeen years ago), my dad was arrested for murder. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. It totally shocked me.
I didn’t have a close relationship with my dad, but I never imagined something like this happening. There were so many facts that didn’t add up; I couldn’t fathom how the jury convicted him. For many years, I didn’t see anything but injustice in the situation. I believed my dad to be innocent, so I felt confused about why he was in prison. I felt frustrated at my parents’ divorce that followed. I had a lot of angst over why this was happening.
Through my dad’s arrest and trial, I found myself turning to God in prayer more than I ever had before. I still found myself confused and frustrated by God’s plan, especially when my dad didn’t get to see me graduate or walk me down the aisle for my wedding day. I missed having a dad, but God used and continues to use this trial to point me to His sovereignty and His care. I have come to see what a perfect Father looks like, and God has shown me that even in the hard things of life, He has a purpose, and He is working to make us more like Jesus (Rom. 8:28–29).
It has been many years, and as I have matured, I have learned many truths about my dad that my family secluded me from. I still don’t believe he committed this crime, but I have accepted the fact that he is not a man of good character. There have been large periods of time where my dad has shut out communication with me, for reasons I don’t know or understand.
Through this process, I have come to see more clearly the command to love as God loves. God’s love is agape love; it is intentional and purposeful and expects nothing in return. It hurts deeply that my dad shuts me out, but God has taught me that even when we are rejected, we continue to love.
Who better exhibits this than Jesus? Even on the cross, when He was mocked and rejected, He prayed His accusers might be forgiven. He loved with no regard to how He was treated in return. God has taught me to love in a new way through this trial—to love with purpose. I am commanded to love, not based on what I can get in return, but unselfishly and with abandon.
You Can Trust God’s Love in Personal Tragedy
My entire life has been both difficult and remarkable, from my father (who was the deacon of the church) molesting me my entire childhood to my husband beating and raping me the first nine years of our marriage to my son being murdered while doing mission work.
And I have come to learn if we are not careful, we allow our life’s experiences to become our identity. Somehow, we give what happened to us a louder voice than what happened to Jesus! We somehow miss the part where Jesus said we are born again we are a new creation and every sin is removed from us. We allow sin against us to produce sin in us, and we miss the reason Jesus came in the first place. He came to get us back to our created value and get heaven into us. Everything I have been through I truly count as joy; I don't count the hard times joyful, but the fact that they have brought me closer to Him. And the fact that through them, I have been through the refiners fire. They have built me and taught me not only to love, but also what Love really is!
God intervened by calling me to forgive and love like Him. I forgave my father and became his caretaker at the end of his life. I forgave my husband—next January will be our fortieth anniversary, and I forgave the man who murdered our son. I forgave instantly and began praying for him minutes after he murdered our son (our entire family did). It took ten years to find him, and he is in jail, but has not gone to trial. Our family’s heart’s cry is he gets to know Jesus and believes and gets set free, even though he sits in a prison cell. That is all we want: no revenge, no hate, just pure love. I have learned what love really is and have been set free!
Years ago, I read a booklet written by Nancy DeMoss on forgiveness, and it changed my life. It was then that I forgave my dad, but I had no idea (God knew!) how much it would need it in the future.
Ten years ago, my husband and I started a ministry in the inner city. I go weekly to our local jail and minister to the women. We go to drug and alcohol rehab centers; we go to the inner city streets. I have gone into hotel rooms where they were cooking meth and had my skin burned trying to get a young women to get help. I have gone in back alleys and under bridges, into churches and schools, wherever they will have us and teach about the freeing power of forgiveness. We give out free Bibles—over 15,000 so far. At Christmas, we give free Bibles, books, CDs, DVDs, and teddy bears at rehab centers for them to give to their children for gifts.
When my son was killed, I lost one child. He was not married and had no children, so I will never be a mother-in-law or grandma through him, but now I have many who call me Mom and Mammy through our ministry! God has truly given us beauty from ashes!
I want to encourage anyone reading this to seek the truth of who you are through Jesus, your value and worth. To forgive absolutely everyone for everything and never allow sin against you to produce sin within you. To realize that Jesus said those who believe and are baptized are saved, and to realize that the way you react to the circumstances around you reveals what you actually believe. I encourage you to seek the truth in the Word and to walk, talk, and love like Jesus. There’s no greater love!