Throughout Scripture, we see over and over how Jesus worked through hopeless situations in order to display God's glory. The man born blind went 40 years without sight before Jesus opened his eyes. A sick woman suffered for 12 years before Jesus healed her. Countless parents went through untold agony as evil spirits tried to kill their children before Jesus cast out the demons. Even Jesus' close friend Lazarus died before Jesus performed a miracle and raised him back to life. As unpleasant as suffering is, often it serves to heighten the relief when it does come.
When the blind man was a child, I'm sure he had no clue that one day he'd meet the Son of God and have his sight restored. The blind man had to wait for four decades before he fully understood the purpose of his suffering. And when Jesus' friend Lazarus died, many asked, "if Jesus could heal all those others, why couldn't He have prevented Lazarus from dying?" Of course, those who questioned Jesus' ability didn't know that the best was yet to come when Jesus raised him from the dead instead of simply healing him from his infirmity.
2013 was the hardest year for me to date (2008 takes a close second when, 2 months after we bought our house, Jon lost his job, the car died, and we found out that Lauren was on the way - all within the same week). Although I'd give anything to change the fact that Tyler has diabetes and has to inject insulin multiple times a day, I love what this year has taught me about trusting in God's sovereignty and seeing how He's working everything together for my good and to His glory.
When life began unraveling the summer of 2013, I couldn't see past putting one foot in front of the other. When Lazarus grew sick and died, I don't think Lazarus' sisters Mary and Martha could have predicted that they'd see their brother alive on earth after he died, either.
And yet, for each difficulty this year, God provided me the measure of grace needed to get through the current hallway. His timing was perfect. He had plans bigger than any I could have imagined. When He allowed Lazarus to die, He allowed it so that that His glory might shine more fully and so that more people would put their faith in Him. When the frustrations of 2013 hit us, it was so that we'd more fully comprehend the greatness of our God and would better understand His kindness and grace, so that we would trust more readily that His way is far better than our own.
A familiar quote from C.S. Lewis appropriately sums up the lessons from our suffering: "I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are Yourself the answer. Before Your face questions die away. What other answer could suffice?" I didn't necessarily question why He allowed the trials that He did, but I am finding that He Himself silences any questions that might try to surface.
I don't have to love the fact that Tyler has diabetes or that Jon thought he would lose his job (it's now going much better). But I do love the Lord more for His care for me during these and other trials that we faced this year. I can love the lessons that each Lazarus experience brings, because they bring me closer to the One Who brought back Lazarus from the dead.
Your turn: What hallways are you facing right now? What parts of Scripture are encouraging you? Share with me in the comments so that I can better pray for you!