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
- 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: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.
I read this recently and it has really impacted me. Trusting Father and His sight rather than what we do see now is a place of rest 🙂 Waiting on Me is not a place of being alone—really. For I am always with you. Waiting on Me yields alignment with Me. It produces greater trust in my will, with believing it is okay for you to not see what is ahead so clearly. You know that I see, and you trust that it is okay for you to trust my sight, my heart, more than you trust yourself.
Cast aside the focus on needing to know the future and all it may bring, and I will show you more of my face. And you will hear my voice, ever more clearly. Be careful of this world, so full of information and attempts to figure out all that humans don’t understand. . . Don’t worry now. Don’t think of what you don’t know. Think on whom you know, whom you trust. Think on the things that will allow you to becoming more accustomed to my presence with you. (Loop)
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Dr. Michelle, for your raw openness and honesty, in your willingness to share the deepest parts of your heart with us; and for ALWAYS pointing us to the only One who will never fail us.
Thank you for this reminder. There have been numerous times in our lives when we couldn’t understand what the Lord was doing but looking back, we have been able to see God’s hand. He is always good, even when we can’t see it. Your neighbor at #livefreethursdays
The little answers often add up to bigger answers. Thanks for encouraging us to trust no matter what!
I’m your linky neighbor at http://3dlessons4life.com/
Thank you for your encouragement. It’s hard when we don’t get the answers we expect and don’t have any earthly idea what God is doing. But we know He knows. I loved reading the verses you picked.
It’s such a comfort to trust in God’s character. He never changes. Thank you for pointing us to the truth that our hope is anchored in God who sees all. Visiting from #MMBH today 🙂
That’s probably one of the hardest things—waiting for God. These times of testing shape us, teaching us to rest more firmly, more peacefully, in the arms of our Father. Be strong in the Lord, keep praying for His peace; it will come. May you be comforted by His unfailing love.
Your open transparent trust through this journey you are walking has been a huge source of inspiration and encouragement to me. I am sorry, friend, for the trials and the continual burdens that feel heavy… but I am praying that God will continue to protect you and lead you and guide you and for His glory reveal the beauty of His amazing plan for you.
Thanks for reminding us to keep trusting and praying.
Such solid wisdom for when life is hard to understand. It’s the same underlying question that they faced in the Garden -is God really good? Thank-you for sharing this!
This is so real. It’s hard, in those Job moments, to wonder what is God thinking? But that’s just it, He’s God. He KNOWS what is best. Finding the strength to remember and cling to that is our battle. Wonderful post.
God is so good, even to eliminate someone without an interview. May God send you the special people to fill the need in your practice. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.
Thank you so much for this beautiful reminder. And thanks for sharing with us at the Family Joy Blog Link Party this week. We’d love to have you join us again next week!
Have definitely contemplated the whys of hard times, but then I have to remember that God says we will have trouble in this world. And like you said, we have to trust God’s character and rest in His sovereignty. It will be so awesome to know in full one day! Thanks for sharing your encouragement at Literacy Musing Mondays.!
I’m in a season of buckling down and learning to trust more. I am so thankful He’s a patient Father. Blessings!
I am so thankful for this great reminder that when the answers to our prayers and needs do not come when we think they should, we can know that our Father does love us, He knows our needs, His character and His ways are right and good and always for our best even when we do NOT understand them. These past few months I have prayed fervently for friends and family needing healing or restoration and it has not happened as I had hoped but my faith in a sovereign all knowing and all caring God has grown stronger rather than weaker because I realize now that He is God and I am to trust Him. Not sort of trust or maybe trust but TRUST HIM. My God is an AWESOME GOD!!
I can relate, Karen. But then I have to go back to what we know to be true about God: He is always good, He always wants good for His children, and He withholds no good thing from His children. So when prayers aren’t answered like I had hoped, I have to assume there is something better coming.