That was my question! With 'Bachelor of Science' in my resume, working midway through my Masters program, having a loving support system, a sound church, a fun pottery making job, and an independent life, everything was going great. WAS going great. Suddenly, without any exaggeration, everything was not going great. It seemed that all was dreadful, and I was left with the question - "What is happening? My life took a turn in one night. I was very sick! Unable to walk without assistance, and completely drained of energy. School stopped, work stopped, driving stopped, friend movie nights stopped, and coffee dates stopped. The ability to join fellowship with my church family was not possible due to sickness. I remember waking up the morning after the hospital visit in bed feeling like all the energy had been sucked out of my body. I found myself, confused, in bed with that question. What is Happening?
After many texts of encouragement, friendly visits, a lot of prayer, along with rest, and doctor visits, God encouraged my soul with a quote I happened upon by Octavius Winslow
The royal path to glory is a divine mosaic paved with stones of diverse lines.
This quote gave me a new way of seeing this crash that had turned my life upside down. Even this unexpected trial was/is a stone that adds to the beautiful mosaic of not just my life, but of the glory of God. He has made this season of my life one of those stones, that might look completely hideous by itself. The Master Artist Himself fits this stone into the most perfect spot, according to His wise plan. What a beautiful picture, if only I could take a step back and see how each trail fits into each spot, like a puzzle piece, of this mosaic that my Lord is creating. How wonderful would it be for you, Christian, to see how each and every little and big trial, each valley, and every season collectively shows itself as God sees it.
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
If you are familiar with the Bible in any way...chances are you have heard this verse. It is one that many have memorized, and there are hymns and songs influenced by this verse. I don't know about you, but sometimes verses like this one can become so familiar that its meaning loses significance. "All things work toge...yes I know that already!!!!" But, really this is the very Word of God! It is a promise to His children in Christ- Something we ought to cling to. We are often tempted to think, "but what good can come from this?" In the very next verse of that passage, Paul tells us God predestined us to be conformed to the image of Christ. Is this not good? If this was the only good that would come from the trial that you are currently facing, would you be pleased? In this light, trials are a blessing. They cause us to find refuge in the only One who can shelter and protect us. He is our loving Shepherd! I can honestly say, that trials shake me a bit and shows me what I have been leaning on, instead of God.
I do want to take a pause and remind you that He does name those in Christ His children, and we can run to Him and tell Him our cares. He can give rest in the midst of the "What is happening?" moments. We find Jesus saying this in Matthew 11:28.
Now, I have said all things work for good. Lets take a look at this...it says 'FOR'. We live in a sinful world. We are sinful and all is filthy apart from the cleansing blood of our Redeemer. Because of this, we cannot say 'all things are good.' They are not. But God works all things 'for' good. He is a loving God and proved so when blood flowed from the cross. Read 1 John 4:9
When God showed me that this present sickness is a stone that fits into a mosaic of His glory. My state seemed brighter. I am not saying I am super excited about where I am. Let's be real, some days are just yucky and not so bright. Being ecstatic is not the emotion I am talking about. However, with this unseen picture that is being pieced together by God - even my sickness and your trials- there can be a smile on my face and a trust in my heart. Even a joyful song of His love.
What a site it would be to see the greater picture of redemption through Christ, in every member of the entire body of Christ, of those who have died in the faith, and those who have yet to see glory.
I find this quote from a book called Streams In The Dessert helpful to think on, and a good note to end on.
"Wherever He Places me He does so to strengthen my faith and power and to draw me closer into communion with Him."