Written by: Cherie Gagnon
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have really changed the way we communicate. We pass along feel-good pictures embedded with inspirational quotes. We summarize ideas to 140 characters.
I may get in trouble for saying this, but sometimes I think our view on God can get somewhat skewed because of this.
Many well-meaning Christian figures will toss out palatable phrases to the webisphere like, “God has something bigger and better for you”, “Expect His favor”, or “You don’t have because you don’t ask.”
Do I think these such phrases are true? Usually, I do. And yes, I believe they can be a great encouragement.
The problem is that these quotables are only part of the picture. And when we only grasp on to what we like to hear, we can end up disappointed or even ladden with guilt when our life doesn’t turn into a rose garden.
As a parent who has two children with special needs, I often feel frustrated with messages that would paint God as a Supreme Being who wants to give you a perfect life (and by “perfect” – I mean how we would define it, not God).
I had faith for victory over my kids’ health, yet their conditions still persist. At times, I wondered was it may lack of faith that my boys weren’t healed? Didn’t God want to show me his ‘favor’?
I also expected great things from God and from the looks of it, God let me down. After all, weren’t my husband and I children of the King who had a storeroom of blessings to perfect out health, wealth and relationships?
But as we have walked this path with our children over the last 13 years, our view of God has changed.
Apostle Paul, agruably one of the greatest figures in Christianity, was given a thorn in his flesh (1 Cor. 12:7-10). We don’t know what exactly that thorn was, but we do know that it was some sort of difficulty that God intended for Paul to live with. The purpose in it was to show the power of God in his life in spite of it.
In 2 Cor. 1:3-7 we are told that God will comfort us in our sufferings so that we can in turn share that same comfort with others. We have received such reassurances from older parents like us and in turn we try to encourage younger moms and dads.
In addition, because we have children with special needs, God has opened many doors for us to champion and advocate for those living with disability. We would’ve never had those opportunities if our children were ‘normal’.
God has also used these situations to develop our character (see Romans 5:3-5). Through all we have experienced, God has changed us in so many ways…and He’s not finished yet!
Kay Arthur has a wonderful teaching on trials. She explains that everything that happens to us is filtered through fingers of love. God is still sovereign, even when life is not perfect…and it may never be.
But God has never left us (Matt. 28:20). We may have to remain in a hard place for some time, but we are not alone. Even if we feel the whole world doesn’t understand, we take comfort in knowing that Jesus does (Heb. 2:18; 4:14).
Hardships and sufferings are part of life’s journey in a fallen and broken world. They are not necessarily a result of something we did wrong or a lack of believing on our part.
You may never see a tweet like, “Jesus said you will have trouble in this world (John 16:33)” or “You are blessed when you are perscuted and insulted (Matt. 5:11)” But know that hardships are some times part of God’s plan.
If you are going through a trial today, I encourage to lean into Jesus and let him carry you through (1 Pet. 5:6,7). He loves you and you are precious in His sight.
Cherie Gagnon is a Christain freelance writer, aspiring novelist, and disability advocate for a grassroots family organization. She lives in Ontario with her husband and their two amazing boys. Raising a son with severe physical disabilities and another son with Autism has been an invaluable experience full of love, laughter and tears. As a writer, Cherie’s desire is to weave her lessons of life and faith into stories of hope. You can join Cherie and her friends at http://www.pagesfromstages.wordpress.com.