"We pray for blessings, we pray for peace, Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity, We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need, Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things
We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear, We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love, As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea, And long that we'd have faith to believe
What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life, The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise"
~Lyrics by Laura Story
When this song first came out, I like many people, felt very connected to it. It was encouraging and a reminder that even in the hardest points of life, we are not alone. However, now after reading Laura's Story...the story of the life behind the song... I am overwhelmed with awe and have a whole new appreciation for every word and the truths behind it.
I've been thinking a lot about suffering a trials and the darkest moments of life's night lately. Thinking about where God is in the midst of those things and how I seem to take two different routes in response to tough situations (running to or running away from God!). I've had questions for and arguments with God about the suckiness of life that I just don't understand (yes I know there is sin in the world, I get that... but sometimes you need more than a pat answer). That's when I saw this book. In the midst of my mess and the messiness of those around me, as I was wondering where is the hope and why God isn't doing anything about it all, I saw that title "When God doesn't fix it" and I knew I needed to read it!
To be honest, in reading I was hoping for answers... at least the kind that would satisfy my longings.... and while I did find wisdom in these pages, the answers I got were not the kind I would have expected. And the truth is, as Laura wrote, "God doesn't owe us an explanation this side of heaven. There's nothing in scripture that tells us we're entitled to an answer. It's not that God is secretive and doesn't want us to know, it's that we're incapable of seeing the big picture". Not only that but "We ask God why, believing the answer will provide us with some kind of deep soul satisfaction. But too often, we don't get the answers we want". And "even on those occasions when (we) do get an answer... it always leads to more questions"! Ain't that the truth!
As I was reading Laura's story, my heart broke with hers, and yet as I watched her life "fall apart" I began to understand something that I am so often blinded to. That is, it's our world... not our God... that cheats us out of the joy of life. It's the world that tells me that as a 30 something year old woman I am suppose to be married, with children, living in my own house and driving my own car... and since that's not my life, there must be something wrong with me... or God's failed me in some way. But God never promises us any of that. In fact the Bible says "In this word you will have trouble..."! Yet God also offers us the comfort to "take heart, for I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). This world has convinced us that God owes us something cause we are here. That we are good people and a good God would do nothing but bless us! But that's not the truth, is it? As the Bible says, "There is none righteous not even one" (Romans 3:10). Laura puts it this way, "The righteousness scale in the bible says that no one but Jesus makes it to the top. But despite our lack of Goodness, God is always God and is always good to us" and yet , "Even during our darkest trials God is waiting with outstretched arms for you to come into his presence."
Now, if you're like me, then maybe you're thinking "but what about the time when...". I was there too. I still sit there sometimes, wondering why it felt like in my darkest moment, when I was crying out to God and begging Him with all that was within me to show up, He seemed nowhere to be found. But then I was out walking the other day...the 7th or 8th day in a row of crappy rainy-ness... and it was like I had this small epiphany. I hadn't seen the sun for at least 168 hours, yet I knew, behind those clouds it was still there, every day rising up and setting. I may not see it. I may not feel it's rays. And for all intents and purposes I have no proof it's there... but I know it is. And it's the same with God. Sometimes the clouds of life get in the way and I can't seem Him or even feel Him and I wonder if we will ever meet again, but I can know that He is there and He always will be.
"No matter what it is that we are praying for, a time will come when we bump up against what we think God should do and what He allows". The thing is "God doesn't promise our stories will make sense in and of themselves, but He does promise they will find their greater purpose in light of his greater story of redemption". He is there with us, because we are His and ultimately the story is about Him!
So, like I said in the beginning, I might not have gotten the "answers" I wanted from this book, but I ended up with honest truth and wisdom from someone who has walked through the fire (and in many ways is still in it) and I stand here at the end believing God to etch those truths into my heart and help me to trust Him more and more.