My husband’s frustration was palpable. He paced around the office, muttering under his breath to no one in particular. “I don’t get it. It makes no sense,” he spewed as he walked past me.
Honestly, I couldn’t have agreed with him more.
We had lost two staff members, both turning in their notice on the same day. One was moving to another state to help her mother care for her father who suffered from advanced Alzheimer’s disease. The other was moving with her husband to another state to follow God’s call to a mission field.
Neither were leaving because they disliked their job, or working for or with us. God simply had a new call for the next season of each of their lives. Both were trusted members of our staff who did exemplary work. Both were like family. And now both would be wished well, but missed terribly, and left vacancies to fill.
We had never before had such trouble filling positions with qualified and eager candidates. Yet this time, when we most needed the help, the help was seemingly impossible to find.
God knew our situation. My husband was still enduring chemotherapy treatments for cancer, and I was trying to be a physical and emotional support for him and our children while maintaining a busy private practice, when I came down with the second bout of pneumonia in 9 months. Stability was but an aspiration at this point in our lives…something we dreamed of one day again appreciating.
More than once I lamented to praying friends, “I just don’t understand what God is doing, or why He doesn’t intervene and provide.”
It seemed that every time we turned around, we were hit with another crisis. Something completely out of our control left us feeling desperate and wanting.
We knew God and trusted His word, believing Him to be our source of help. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 NIV) And yet, as time drug on, His help was not quick or obvious.
My heart sank. I felt scared, uncertain, doubtful, and yes, even a bit hurt. Our home and our office were our mission field. How could we adequately serve others while our lives were in such disarray?
On this particular morning, neither of us were feeling well. He was still recovering from the side effects of his most recent chemotherapy treatment, and I was still regaining strength and stamina from having been down under pneumonia. Yet, we had a job applicant to interview, and that was worth crawling out from beneath our warm bed covers, getting dressed, and driving into the office.
About 30 minutes before the interview, we reviewed our notes, and had questions ready when a text came across my husband’s phone. “I woke up 30 minutes ago with allergies and bloodshot eyes. I won’t be able to make it to the interview today.”
Allergies and bloodshot eyes? Who cancels an interview for that?
My normally calm and collected husband became, in his words, “steamed” as he relayed the notice to me. We had both been hoping this would be “the one”—God’s provision for a dire situation.
A death in the family, we would have understood. An ER visit, certainly. A flat tire, perhaps. But allergies and bloodshot eyes? Really?
While my husband paced to release his frustration, I prayed a simple prayer. “Thank you God. Thank you that you let us know this individual’s nature and character before we made the mistake of hiring.” If one canceled an interview for bloodshot eyes, would they call in sick for a broken nail?
The situation was not as I had hoped, and certainly didn’t have the outcome I was hoping for. But in times like this, we have to stay anchored to the reality of God’s character: He knew that we would face trouble, and yet He offered the provision of His peace despite the circumstances:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).
We still felt lost, and we still didn’t have answers or provision yet. But despite our troubling situation, we were not alone:
“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5).
My heart still hurt, and I was still weary from the battle we endured on many levels over the last several months. Yet I took comfort in recognizing that sometimes God’s protection and provision are given as much in preventing things as it is in making them happen.
We often won’t understand why things happen. His ways are frequently not our ways.
“’My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Yet we can be thankful and recognize that God never withholds what is good from His children.
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)
We may never know why things happen as they do. But we can always know and trust Him to do what is best, often protecting us from unseen harm.
Dear God, you are sovereign and you are good. Your mercies to us are new each morning. Lord, you are our provider, and the lifter of our head. We trust that you know what we need and what we don’t, even when we don’t understand or even agree. Help us to trust your goodness toward us, and be thankful for your protection and guidance. Your word promises that those who trust in you will not be disappointed. Today we choose to trust you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.