This is a guest post by Sandra Fahmy, a second year medical student from the U.K. and a proud member of St. Mary and Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox church in Birmingham, U.K. You can follow her on twitter, @sandrafahmy. And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
"Those who sow with sorrow reap with joy," he said. The words kept running through my mind.
For the past few months, I've been doing just that. Sowing in tears at a dream and plans I've watched crumble before my eyes. The one thing no one tells you about pain is that it seems like you’ve forgotten how to swim in an endless, cold ocean with no hope of a rescue boat in sight. To put this in the theological zone: everything you once believed and clung to fervently about God does not make much sense anymore.
Oh my soul, let hope arise!
We cannot see God through our situations but we must see our situations through God.
When people disappoint, it is not our God who disappoints. When circumstances fall apart it is not our God who fell short. And if we really lived what we know: that God is good and God is love and He loves us the same yesterday, today and forever, then every situation and outcome is one of love and goodness, despite how much it may hurt and break our hearts.
So what's so great about this love? This love; there is nothing like it because it is this love that God so loved the world with that He gave His only begotten Son for us. This love stopped at nothing for our sake. This love is surely enough - this love that did not even spare the Son of God, must freely give us all things we truly need. This love can never run out on us. No gain, loss, sickness, or chain can keep this love from us.
We cannot be sure of the decisions we've made. We cannot be in control every situation. We do not have the answers and we have a whole lot of why’s. But this is the one thing that we can be sure of; He is jealous for us. He loves us with the passionate love of a consuming fire that many waters cannot quench. And that love which suffered and endured death then so that we could be found and made whole, is the same love that reaches out to us in the midst of loss and brokenness.
Fix your eyes on Jesus. Look to the cross. The heartache, torture and tears shed at the foot of the cross. Birthed from that immense suffering and anguish came the redemption and restoration of humanity. The reason we can stand face to face and confidently call Him Father and know the power of His resurrection. The greater the mourning, the more beautiful the dance of joy in the aftermath. From His wounds we drank salvation and from the sweat of His brow we were freed to become more than conquerors – to really live! That's not my opinion. That's the gospel. And the gospel of Christ saves.
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, so that we may be also glorified together.” Romans 8:17
I ask: could this love really fail you? Could Love really fail you? Just know it is not possible. Know all will be well. You must not doubt. You must be sure. There is no miracle He cannot perform, nothing He cannot do. No eleventh-hour rescue He cannot accomplish.
His promise for us still stands-the promise He fought for-the promise of a future and a hope. He has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). Every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17).
Sometimes God heals and sometimes He doesn't. Sometimes He delivers and sometimes He doesn't. But God hears every single cry of the worn and weary; never stop praying, never stop hoping, never give up. The promise of the Lord, that whatever we ask in His name will be ours, is our strength and fortress in times of trouble. He is ours.
"Daughter, be of good comfort; your faith has made you whole." Matthew 9:22
Do you trust in that? It is a choice to trust. Wait on The Lord. He keeps those in perfect peace whose minds are stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3).
The one thing no one tells you about pain is that you still have a reason to sing, because it doesn't compare to the glory that will eclipse our afflictions. Maybe not tomorrow, the next year or even this side of eternity. But the Teacher of the trial is also the Student, sitting right next to us in the lesson, our hands held securely in His all the time. He’s there in the sorrow, in the storm, under the weight of a world that pulls and tugs. He’ll never forsake us.
For discussion: pain is one of the best teachers of so many lessons. Have you learned any lessons that you’d like to share from the great teacher called Pain?