Every suffering heart eventually comes face to face with a pivotal question, for the pain of our circumstances hinders us as we remove layer after layer of uncertainty until we finally hear His whisper, “Do you trust Me?”
I have personally wrestled with this question, because the truth is it is the last thing you want to hear when you are in pain. My own disappointment with God seemed to scream that He is not faithful or good, but the fact is that we live in a fallen world where our enemy delights in using every negative situation to destroy our relationship with the Lord.
What I once perceived as God’s wrath through my suffering was actually Him pursuing me. What would have happened if Jonah was not cast into the sea? He would have turned his back on God. No doubt you have heard that we learn obedience through suffering. This is true, but less commonly known is that there is an intimacy with God that is available through the catalyst of pain for the simple reason that “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18). We either use the white-hot noise of pain to springboard ourselves into the arms of God, or we run like Jonah.
But how can we experience that sweet tenderness with the Lord if we don’t trust Him? It is difficult to trust anyone when we don’t know if their heart is good. Authors Brent Curtis and John Eldredge call this intimacy The Sacred Romance. In their book of the same title, they beautifully express God’s passionate pursuit of us. The Sacred Romance unveils the loving heart of God and gently shows that the deepest longing of the human soul is for an adventurous love affair with our Maker.
John Piper eloquently states, “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him.” In his book When I Don’t Desire God, How to Fight for Joy, Piper explains that contentment in suffering is achieved through an eternal perspective in that we need to cast off everything that hinders (Rom. 12:1) or, more simply put, to dissolve all attachment with the natural and to treasure nothing except that sacred relationship with the Savior. Of course, this is not an easy task and requires faith, but once our gaze is fixed on our eternal home, there is serenity. An eternal perspective helps us realize that He is sufficient. We have the freedom to love God without the fear of losing Him because we know that this is not our true home.
The wonderful pursuit of God will begin to change our lives as we love Him, not for possessions, success, direction, prosperity, or any other thing but His passion for us. In his book The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer expounds on this concept by explaining that those who make God their treasure have lost nothing because they have all things in One. This inspired and Scripturally sound book will topple tradition-infested doctrine like a house of cards. The truth in the title resounds so loudly it will cause you to examine the falsehoods of “religion” and understand that the fatherly heart of God is good and trustworthy.
Yes, we will face suffering in this world. Our disappointment with God may burn away the chaff of our “religion” leaving nothing but pure, unadulterated faith. This world may fail us, our church may fail us, our friends and family may fail us, but God will never fail. He will relentlessly pursue our hearts. Whether to the depths of the sea or the heights of success, we will never walk alone. God is faithful to give grace for our most filthy sin, comfort in unimaginable pain, faith in our darkest doubt, victory in our fiercest battle. In fact, He is faithful to give Himself.
I hope that these three books would help you to trust that our beautiful Savior is more than enough.
Audrey lives in Delmar, MD with her husband and two young children. She blogs about surviving motherhood with her faith intact at www.sanitybreaks.weebly.com.