It doesn’t take long to figure out I have a fear of flying. I looked it up and it's an actual thing, y'all. It's called aviophobia. In the last year, however, as I’ve been flying more frequently, I have gotten a bit better, but I still give myself a major pep talk prior to heading to the airport.
A few years ago on a particularly disturbing flight, my husband leaned over and told me “If God wants to take you home, He’s going to do it whether or not you’re on an airplane.”
It’s extreme, I know, but it changed my perspective. God is in control of the outcome, regardless of my choices, even though I can feel as though I have authority over the situation.
Have you ever ran yourself silly to control an outcome that truthfully was never in your control in the first place?
I feel I can control sickness if I just take my vitamins, eat healthy and exercise.
I feel I can control my kids’ choices if I just point them to scripture and have appropriate rules and boundaries.
I feel like I have authority over my circumstances as long as I do my best to do the right thing, be kind to others and try my best not to sin.
And here’s the thing. We do have choices, and we should always do our best to be our best. God graciously gives us free will, possessing the ability to choose one path or another, to seek Him or not, to sin or not to sin. These choices have consequences both good and bad. We get a particular job, we change career paths, we start a business, we get married, we have kids. A whole heck of a lot is absolutely within our control, right?
But no matter how careful we are, how planned and prepared and inherently good we are, sometimes - wait for it - life just happens. People we love get sick, relationships fail, family members disappoint, tragedy and death and destruction and sin happen to us - whether we plan for it or not. Whether we deserve it or not.
We were created in God’s image for a perfect relationship with Him. That’s what our purpose was. Is. But sin entered into the world and along with it came all sorts of heartache and ill will and sickness and disease that is simply beyond our control. It’s above our pay grade. And we suddenly find ourselves devastated and heart broken, despite all the work we’ve put in.
We follow God, we go to church, we serve the community. We try to be good people. And then when heartache shows up, we ask God “Why me?”
“'For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
As I walk through this season of brokenness and freedom, I must confess I threw this verse up in God's face more than a few times and said "what about these plans, God? What about welfare and our future? Did you just not mean me?"
You’ve heard this verse, right? Most likely someone has written it on a card for you once or twice in your life. You’ve probably written it out for someone else - I know I have more than a few times. But the problem came for me when I thought - wait, what if I’ve already been harmed? What do I do with that? What if my welfare has already been compromised - does that mean God doesn’t have this for me?
Oh, me of little faith, my friend.
If you have a minute, or are struggling with asking the question 'why me', I would really encourage you to read this entire chapter of Jeremiah, because it is such a beautiful description of redemption.
The thing that we all miss when we pluck it out of the surrounding verses is what was required to get here in the first place.
Seventy years of destruction. Of brokenness. Of exile. Of wilderness.
He was talking about Israel - about bringing His people back together - but only after He allowed the consequences of sin and desertion to break down their pride and self reliance.
The word used for welfare in the original Hebrew means these four things : completeness, soundness, welfare, peace. Think about that. God wasn’t saying nothing bad will ever happen again, but instead that their hearts would find completeness and soundness with Him. Our hearts are more important to God than our safety.
God allows hard things in our lives not because He wants our hearts to break but because He wants them to heal.
Just keep reading in Jeremiah. “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart, and I will be found by you’ declares the Lord".
Could it be that the heartache you are swimming in today just might allow you to experience the supernatural healing of a Father who desperately loves you? It's not easy, it doesn't negate your pain, but it does provide opportunities for us to seek Him and find Him where we might never have been able to if we had stayed comfortable, safe, unbroken.
Let your circumstance push you into God the healer today. Let His sovereignty and His purpose color your heartache instead of the pain. He can and will show up. It's a promise.