It’s hard for our human mind to understand the depth of God’s love. The kind of love that will allow some people of His own creation to be swept into everlasting punishment. The kind of love that allows bad things to happen to good people.
Those things don’t make sense to our worldly selves. They seem like a direct contradiction to each other. How can good love equal bad things happening?
To make sense of that statement, you first must be open to the fact that we do not see the end from the beginning like God does. If you are a parent, you know that there are some secrets that you have to keep from your children because they lack the capacity to fully understand and appreciate the plan that you have made for them.
The Bible says that we see things as if through a dirty window, but one day we shall see clearly (1 Corinthians 13:12). That day may not happen in our lifetime here on earth, but it will definitely happen.
To be God’s children means to be under His loving care. The Bible says that God will work all things for the benefit of those who love him and who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Because there is sin and death in this world, sometimes what looks to be like horrible circumstances result in somesomething far greater than what you and I can understand at the time.
A family member of mine suffers from PTSD from his years in emergency medicine. I can even say from my own experience that it’s hard to get some of those images and memories out of your mind. There’s a hundred memories I’d rather not have from my own time as a police officer and a medic. The thoughts come to mind of “Why was I not enough to help this person?” or “If I had only been there two minutes earlier, I could’ve saved them.”
Those kind of thoughts plague first responders and military personnel. “Why was I not enough?” or “Why am I alive and they aren’t?”
The short answer for that is: I don’t know. The long answer is that God is in control and has measured the days of our lives, as the Bible says in Job 14:5. You and I can’t see the end from the beginning like God can. I would need the mind of God to understand all of God’s plans. The Bible says that God’s ways are not our ways. They are as far above our ways as the heavens are above the earth (Isaiah 55:8-9).
I don’t mean that as some kind of Christian cop-out. Just saying “Oh, that’s God’s will…” doesn’t help anybody to understand or get through horrible circumstances. Just hearing someone flippantly say “God has a plan…” doesn’t answer anything and it doesn’t keep the pain or nightmares away.
It’s true, God does have a plan and He does work it out perfectly, but it’s so hard for us to truly get that. You must come to a place of child-like dependency on our Father in Heaven. What does a child do? They trust, they believe, they love.
How can you “be enough”? Try taking the following actions:
1. Be humble. Understand that humility is a spiritual nuclear weapon that can break the heaviest of chains.
2. Seek first the kingdom of God. You can’t do this without first having that humility from step one. Either you are on the throne or God is. If He is on the throne, the. get into a relationship with Him so that you are better in tune with God’s desires for your life.
3. Strive to be the best version of yourself; not as the world sees you, but as Christ sees you. Knowing that you are not perfect (and won’t be this side of Heaven), take steps to be at least “on the way” to being perfected by God’s grace.
4. Get rid of indwelling sin. Kind of along the lines of the last point of being your best self, make sure to acknowledge those “secret sins” and turn away from them. Change your mind; choose the better path.
5. Rest in Jesus. This doesn’t mean just sitting in a cave and doing nothing the rest of your life. Run with the ball, so to speak, as far as you can knowing that you can’t make it on your own. Then, hand it off to Jesus who will take it the rest of the way. Truly “let go and let God.” *Note that when you hand that ball off to Jesus, He may take it into a direction you didn’t plan. Remember, it’s not your plan, it’s His.
If you think that maybe you aren’t enough, let me just dispel that thought for you right now. YOU AREN’T ENOUGH! You and I are weak and sinful and frail, but God says that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Trust in His strength, not your own. Rely upon Him who holds the universe in His hand.
It took a long time, but I have trust in my Heavenly Father. I trust that He truly knows what’s best for me, even if it doesn’t look like it at the time. It took a while to get there, and what’s worse is that it took a lot of bad times to show me all the good that God has waiting on the other side of those problems.
I can tell you that there’s no magic formula to trusting in your Heavenly Father. It’s about spending time with Him in prayer and in His word. The closer you are to someone, the more you understand and trust them, no matter what the situation looks like.
One of my brothers passed away abruptly pretty young in life, right after my mom did in fact. That didn’t make sense to me at the time. But then at the visitation, the Holy Spirit was moving through in a big way. People who I love accepted Christ or recommitted themselves to Jesus and even were baptized that day. That was all because of the opportunity to share the gospel with them at my brothers funeral. Love was there. God was there.
It is a tough statement to say, that if it takes my brother’s death to help other people come to eternal life, then his death was worth it. I can tell you though, my brother, a faithful servant of the Lord’s, would have agreed with all of it.
Dare I say that if we truly knew what the full plan was the way God knows it, some of our bad times we would not only agree with, but we would have done it that way too.
That statement may not be popular, but it’s real.
The one thing I do know is that God will never allow something bad to happen without a greater good coming from it. If you want proof of this, I point to the cross of Jesus Christ. The greatest evil there could ever be, the creature torturing and killing the creator. But the greatest good came from it, our eternal salvation!
Once again, God’s ways are not our ways. Some things just don’t make sense to us right now. You can give the best you have, and it will never be enough. But you are to give your best anyway because in the end, in the final analysis of life, you are offering everything that you have to God. That is our sacrifice to Him. You are not enough, but you plus God can accomplish great and wonderful things.
Win or lose, you are exactly who God wanted in that situation at that time. That’s why you were there. Trust that it was the right thing. Don’t feel guilty or condemned for something that goes poorly, even though you tried so hard to do all the right things. Romans 8:1 says there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. If you are fully committed to Him and His will, all things will work out for the best, even if it doesn’t look like it at the time with our worldly eyes.
It is not your fault.
It is His plan and His purpose that we have to come to grips with. We may not understand at all, but like Job in the Bible, understand that we are to accept the good and the bad from our heavenly father. We must come to the place like Job that we can say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 15:13). God knows what we need better than we do.
Even if the circumstances look bad at the time, God truly has our best interest in mind. He has our eternal lives in mind, I guarantee, much more than we do. Be encouraged when things go right. Be more encouraged when things go poorly, because there is a greater good in store than what we can realize.
Trust in God, trust in his uncompromising love, and trust in the things that He can see that you and I can’t. A greater good is on the way!
God’s blessings to you
If you or a loved one is suffering with PTSD or any number of mental health issues, please reach out to a reputable, professional Christian counselor in your area.
As always, our prayer team here at FCSF Church is always ready to help storm Heaven with our prayers for you. Contact us!