Our associate pastor, Scott, gave a beautiful sermon on Sunday about pain and growth. He spoke of the birth of his son, Jackson, and the many health issues Jackson has had in the short amount of time He’s been alive. (Jackson’s not even a year old.) Jackson has spent most of his life in the hospital, although he’s home now, and that means that Scott has had plenty of trips to the hospital and an abundance of opportunity to get mad at God.
Scott didn’t see this as God picking on him or punishing him like some would. He saw it as an opportunity to lean on God and trust that it’d all work for His glory. I’m sure Scott was many things during this difficult time – upset, exhausted, ready for good news. But through it all, he was also faithful.
The man who could’ve lost his son is almost the same man who stood in front of the congregation Sunday and advised, “Don’t waste your pain.” I say “almost” because this Scott is more tried-and-true, stronger, than he was before.
You probably have a story like Scott’s. Maybe not one as universally bad as almost losing a child, but I’m sure you have a story of a time in your life that was dark and, at least in your eyes, potentially earth-shattering.
I’ve wrote about my dad’s passing several times on this blog because that was my darkest time. When my dad went to the doctor because of back pain, I had no idea that it was cancer and that I only had two months left with him. I wandered the world (well, my world) concerned about him but blissfully unaware that I was soon going to lose the man who passed on to me a lot of my personality traits and who always loved and believed in me.
I was merely 20 when he died and not even a mature, capable 20. I’d never imagined my life without my dad, so I was stunned and scared. Heartbroken. How could the world keep spinning and functioning without Charles Prevette’s presence? And what was I supposed to do? Who was going to relay the adventures of Othello, our adorable dog, to me when I was at college? Who was going to make sure I was taking proper care of my car? Who was going to tell me corny jokes and funny stories? Who was I going to watch action movies with or get into pointless arguments with? Who was I going to watch sports and yell at the refs and players with? Who was going to tell me how proud they were of me all the time?
I’ve had people ask me how I did it, how I made it through. I’ve given advice to friends in similar situations to the one I was in. All I know to say is that I wouldn’t have made it on my own. I had family who shared my pain, friends who wouldn’t leave me for the world, and a God who I leaned on so much that I practically laid down on Him. I knew I had to live the rest of my life without my dad, but I tried not to focus on that. I focused on getting through day after day, even moment after moment, without him with the help of those I love.
We read in Lamentations 3:22-23 (NRSV), “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NRSV), “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
He writes a few chapters later in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV), “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
David writes in Psalm 63:7 (NLV), “For You have been my help. And I sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings.”
And Psalm 147:3 (NLT) reads, “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”
God tells us in Isaiah 41:10 (NLT), “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
We’re given all these lovely promises and more by God, so why not take Him up on them? Seriously. Take Him at His word. I dare you to. I dare you to give faith a chance. Be crazy enough to believe Him.
When I think of faith, I think of that scene in Indiana Jones when he has to cross a chasm on a bridge he can’t see. The viewer can see if from other angles, but from where Indy’s standing, there doesn’t appear to be anything to help him cross. Sweaty and nervous, he steps out anyway.
There was something there to catch his foot when he stepped although he couldn’t see it. Likewise, God is there to catch you. He could be sitting right in front of you, obvious to everyone else but you oblivious to Him. He could be seen by no one but be there all along. Regardless, God is there to love you and watch after you and embrace you, even if you fall into Him. You just have to trust Him.
By Carrie Prevette
P.S. – The Bible is a goldmine of inspirational, hopeful verses. I’ve listed a few above, but I would love to know what scripture has been a light for you through the dark. Feel free to share the scripture in the comments. It may help another reader like it helps you.