"When God Becomes Real"

I got a bit teary as I watched this video this morning, listening to John MacArthur telling about his wife's near death in an auto accident and sharing these thoughts:  

"You know, in that moment, you either know God is in charge of everything, or you don't.  And if you don't think God is in charge of everything, and you don't know why this happened, and this isn't fair and this isn't right and who did this?  Did the Devil do this?  Is this just sort of free-wheeling life without any purpose?  You're gonna struggle to make sense out of it. But the Bible teaches that He's in control of everything, and for His own children, it all happens for good.   And the  Apostle Paul said embrace your suffering, embrace the pain, because in it you're perfected, in it you are matured.  In it you learn to pray more intensely and you draw nearer to the Lord.  In it you're going to find grace poured into your life...
We learn more through the suffering than we ever learn through the blessings of life." 
 ~ John MacArthur, "When God Becomes Real"

Have you had one of those moments?  A moment when God suddenly becomes real?  Not necessarily "moment of salvation real"...that is one kind of "becoming real"...but "rubber meets the road, do I really and truly believe this?" real.  Kind of like becoming a parent....there is the moment that baby is born, when you very definitely become a "real parent", but there is also that moment, often later on down the road during the first crisis situation or illness, when you suddenly realize that you are totally responsible for that tiny little human, and you come to grips with the fact that you are a "real parent" all the way down to your toes. 

As I listened to John MacArthur this morning, I remembered very vividly that time in my life.  I had been a Believer since childhood, and yet for many of those years, it had been easy to believe, even during the hard times.  Suddenly we were facing our greatest crisis ever, and  I hit a period of intense wrestling with God.  I was forced to decide, in that struggle, if I truly believed all that I had been taught all my life, all that I had said for many years that I believed with all my heart.  Did I really mean the things I'd said all those years?  Did I believe that God was totally in control of everything?  Did I believe that God was truly good?  Did I really believe that He had a plan for my life, for our family, for our children?   Suddenly just believing it, just saying it...wasn't enough.  I had to KNOW those things down to the core of my being...or abandon them entirely.  

God was gracious to keep that intense period of struggle mercifully short, and to give the calm assurance in the end that only He can give.  There are still days that I struggle with the circumstances and how we are handling them.  There are still days that I get very discouraged.  There are still days I grieve what I *thought* life was supposed to be.   Those days, for the most part, are way fewer and further between than they used to be, for which I am so grateful!  But they've by no means been totally eradicated. We've been in a period of relative calm this year, with no major crises, and even gotten to take two trips in as many months to get away as a family (something completely unheard of for us before the past year!)   And yet, as I told a friend the other day, I've struggled more in the last few weeks than I have in a long, long time.  I don't have an explanation for that....it really doesn't make much sense.  

I've realized something recently though...that every reminder of the struggle is also a reminder of the things that God has taught me through it, the things He has shown me about Himself, and the work He has done already through it.  Every reminder is a reminder that  He IS real, He IS in control of it all, and He HAS poured and IS pouring grace upon grace into my life.  And that is all good.

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