In "Other" Words...When Adversity Strikes

"Only when we understand that God has ordained our suffering can we begin to make sense of it.
Only then can we be certain that He has a purpose in it. 
When tragedy comes, when adversity strikes, we will not be shaken
Yes, we will cry.  Yes, we will grieve.
But we will move on confidently knowing that God is on His throne
that we are in His hand,
that our circumstances are His doing
and that He is working them for our good."

~ Terry L. Johnson, When Grace Comes Home

Quite some time ago, I ran across this article (through a link on a friend's blog, I believe.)  The article is actually the fourth chapter of Terry Johnson's book When Grace Comes Home

Due to circumstances in my life at the time, and the things that God was teaching me through them, this article spoke to me very deeply.  Today's quote is the ending of that chapter. 

When I selected this quote for today's IOW weeks ago (at Loni's suggestion), I didn't realize how much I would need to be reminded of these words this week.  God is good that way. :)  

I don't usually do this, but let's pick today's quote apart by section...

1.   "Only when we understand that God has ordained our suffering can we begin to make sense of it."

I can so give an "Amen" (Tom Stuart style, for my friends from Conway :)) to this.  When I was wrestling through the greatest suffering I had ever experienced several years ago, God's sovereignty was the first battle in the war.  Once I finally acknowledged that not only was God not surprised by the horrifying situation we were in, but that it had, indeed been part of His plan from before the beginning of time, I was able to begin to work through the other issues that needed to be worked through.  

I read just this week an article in which the author said that when her father died, a well-meaning adult in her life told her that God had nothing to do with her father's death.   At that point, she decided that if God had no power in death, He must have no power in life, and therefore, He couldn't be trusted.  Her life spiraled into a disaster of drugs, alcohol, and finally the desire and plan to end her own life.   God mercifully saved her from that, but only after much pain and sorrow.  

2.  "Only then can we be certain that He has a purpose in it."  

Once we realize that He planned it, then we realize that it isn't just chance or happenstance.   Not only did He plan it, but He planned it for a reason.  He is not playing "Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe" with our lives and futures.

3.  "When tragedy comes, when adversity strikes, we will not be shaken.  Yes, we will cry.  Yes, we will grieve.  But we will move on confidently knowing that God is on His throne,  that we are in His hand, that our circumstances are His doing, and that He is working them for our good."  

When we know that He has a plan and a purpose, then we are able to stand firm in the knowledge of His sovereignty, His goodness, and His care, even in the worst of storms.  That doesn't mean we won't grieve...sadness, even deep grief, is normal...but we will not get stuck there.  We will move forward.  When we trust that He is working for our good in every situation, we will not get stuck in bitterness and despair.  When we realize that it is all part of His plan for good and not for evil, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11), then we are able to heal and look forward to that future with joy and hope, even in the midst of sadness and grief.  

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, 
but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: 
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward 
in Christ Jesus."
~Philippians 3:12-14

We would love to hear your thoughts on today's quote!   To join us for In "Other" Words, share your thoughts on today's quote on your blog, grab the In "Other" Words graphic below, and then post the link to your IOW post (not your main blog link, please! :)) in Mr. Linky.  (If you don't have a blog, feel free to share in the comments below!)  For more information about In "Other" Words, and to learn who is hosting each week, visit Loni at Writing Canvas.  


Denise said...

Enjoyed this, bless you.

Tami Boesiger said...

Thanks for the reminder to press on. When crisis hits, I feel out of control which forces me to rely on God because I can't solve it myself. He sure does work in mysterious ways!

Thanks for hosting today, Jennifer.

Karen said...

I like how you picked apart the quote for today. You had good points to make in each section. Thanks for hosting today.