Psalm 139, a Psalm I’ve written about previously, is one of sweet assurance not only of how precious God’s children are to Him, but also of the reality they can know that He has His protective hand over His own. If you are God’s child, then those promises are yours.
In the first chapter of the book of Job, the curtain is parted between the physical and the spiritual, and we see the reality of God’s protection on our lives as Satan comes before God and states that of course Job’s life is good, because God has a hedge of protection around him. Satan couldn’t do anything to Job without God’s permission. Many times I’ve heard people say (and have said myself), “I’d rather God didn’t notice me! God was the one who highlighted Job’s righteous life to Satan so that Satan brought the challenge to lift that protection and see if Job would still serve Him! No thanks, I’d rather God not take notice of me!” Interesting how we focus on the negative (fear of what God may allow) rather than recognizing that we can have peace because God, who loves us more than we can fathom, is in control of our lives. And it is good to remember that untested faith isn’t really faith at all. It is when we go through difficulties that put our faith in God to the test and we trust Him through it, that we gain a faith that is real and a joy that can’t be crushed because we know that what we believe is real (and when you know that the things you read in the Bible are real, that’s a big deal).
Eight days ago we had our sweet dog put down, something I never, ever wanted to have to face in my life. But we prayed, seeing her suffering, and we knew it was the unselfish thing to do. God gave me peace to move forward with it. I was with her when she died, and God answered my prayers and those of my friends that I wouldn’t fall apart at the vet. But afterwards, not only did I melt into tears, but the peace from God that I had before was gone. I was second guessing the decision, and I couldn’t shake the turmoil it was creating inside of me. I was confused — had I really not had God’s peace? Had I just convinced myself it was right? But, no, I knew that God’s assurance had been there because it was so outside of what I had wanted, so why did He take the peace away?
For six days I struggled with this, and it was agonizing. I cried out to God, but I couldn’t see how He could fix it; I thought I’d just have to learn to live with this struggle and find a way to cope. But then God broke the silence. There was something He wanted to teach me, something that deepened my heart to love others in a way that I hadn’t been able to before. Though I cannot share the details of that right now, I am seeing on the other side of what seemed to me an impossible situation to resolve, that God was in it — He was there before, during, and after. He has given me something precious out of the trial, and I am the richer for it. I still miss my wonderful dog, but I am thankful to my God who gave her to me and took her from me, all the while holding my life in His loving hand.
Don’t fear what God may allow to come into your life. Live in the peace of knowing that He loves you and that He is always working for your good — always. There are treasures He wants to give you that you cannot receive until you walk through the dark valley of faith unseen. Trust Him there. He will not disappoint you.