16th August 2023
SARAH WALTON comments on
Three Pitfalls When Life is Hard
The life-altering challenges of our child's special needs were nothing new, but we'd reached a new level of desperation. We felt suffocated by the very air we breathed.
Our prayers had grown weary, our hearts felt numb, and if there was ever a time we stood on the brink of despair - this was it.
Rewind four months and we were in awe of God miraculously moving a group of doctors to reach out to us with a desire to come alongside and fight for us and our child in ways we no longer had the strength to do on our own.
The following months were a whirlwind of making difficult but necessary decisions. We finally felt a small glimmer of hope in the distance - a hope we had all but given up on, aside from a miracle.
But then, as fast as the hope was ignited, it was gone.
The funding and hopeful doors that had miraculously opened weeks earlier were slammed shut, locked, and dead-bolted.
I sat in my car after hearing the news, gasping for air between anguished sobs as if I'd been sucker punched. Worst of all, I firmly believed God knew how beaten down, weary, and fragile we were - but he allowed it anyway.
Although several weeks have passed since these moments, we are still perplexed, disoriented, and confused over all that's transpired over the past several months. My heart has been on an emotional rollercoaster and I still find myself fighting through feelings of shock, confusion, anger, hurt, sadness, weariness, and the temptation to give way to despair and hopelessness.
Despite having faced countless years of chronic illness, thirteen years of life-altering challenges with one of our children, a debilitating injury that's slowly robbing me of my ability to walk, four children with chronic illness, financial collapse, and more losses than I can count, this season has left me reeling in a way like none other.
It's left me at a crossroads between what God says is true and how my circumstances seem contrary to that truth.
In the Lord's sovereignty, he led me to Psalm 106 this past week.
It's a Psalm that recounts the Israelite's journey through the wilderness. As I read it over and over, struggling to absorb much of anything, the Spirit began to open my eyes to three temptations of unbelief that plagued the Israelites - all of which I've seen in my own heart during difficult seasons.
"Our Fathers when they were in Egypt... They did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea" (Psalm 106:7).
"When life hurts, we can be tempted to forget or question God's steadfast, never ending, unfailing, unrelenting love for us.
Shortly after the Israelites were miraculously freed from the slavery and oppression of Egypt, they found themselves in a seemingly hopeless situation as they stood before the Red Sea with enemies closing in.
Like us, the Israelites were in dire need of rescue.
Yet, instead of remembering the steadfast love God had shown through generations (including their recent rescue from Egypt), they quickly doubted the steadfast love of God when a new threat stood before them. As we often do, they fixated on the strength of the waves, rather than the strength of the One who rules over them.
When life hurts, we can be tempted to forget or question God's steadfast, never ending, unfailing, unrelenting love for us. We forget that if he loved us enough to give his own Son to suffer and die in our place, he loves us enough to protect us and rescue us. Surely, he will redeem and use all things to accomplish his good purposes in our life.
It's easy to equate our ease and comfort as God's love for us, and our pain and suffering as his punishment or indifference. But his love is not dictated by the circumstances around us, it's dictated by the truth that he loved us when we hated him, died for us while we mocked him, and pursued us while we were determined to go our own way.
I don't know how the rest of our story will unfold. But I do know this: although I deserve nothing, God has loved me with a steadfast love, even to the point of death on a cross for my own sin, faithlessness, and unbelief. He has carried me through countless heartaches, trials, and seasons of confusion, and has worked countless miracles (both big and small). And he has never failed to be faithful to his promises - even when it's looked different than I expected.
is a stay-at-home mum with four kids under 15 years of age.
She's the co-author of Hope When It Hurts and Together Through the Storms (May 2020), and the author of the forthcoming evangelistic book on suffering,Tears and Tossings: Hope in the Waves of Life.
She and her husband, Jeff, recently relocated to Colorado Springs and attend Austin Bluff Evangelical Free Church.
After more than a decade of trials and learning to walk with Christ as her family navigates Lyme Disease, special needs, and more, she shares how the gospel gives hope to our suffering. You can find more of Sarah's writings at her blog Setapart.net.
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