Even If…

by Kim Brunette Smith • Director of Marketing and Communications

How do I handle it when God doesn’t do:

• What I long for Him to do?

• What I need for Him to do?

• What I know He can do?

Have you ever had a hard time reconciling the disappointments of life in light of God’s omnipotent power? Second Peter 2:9 tells us “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.” If so, why, are there oh-so-many ways to hurt in this life?

  • The death of a parent, a sibling, a child, a dear friend
  • Infertility
  • Betrayal
  • Abandonment
  • Victimization by crime
  • Injury, disease, or failing health
  • Financial hardship or ruin
  • House arrest during a pandemic
  • Fill in the blank…

It can be very difficult to believe that all our trials have one solution.

Is it hard for you to believe God loves you when you are hurting? Then remember the cross. And know there is a purpose for your suffering. He saves every tear you shed and He won’t waste your sorrow. “You have kept count of my tossings;  put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” Psalm 56:8.

Grace for us~

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~James 1:2-4

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,  for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” ~1 Peter 1:6-9

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. ~James 1:12

But, wait…

What’s my attitude during a season of waiting? Where is my peace and joy? When God puts our relief on hold, do we allow facts to affect our faith?

Delay is always meant to bring greater glory. In John 11, we read the story of Lazarus’ death. Verse 40 states, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Daniel 3 tells the fascinating story of three young men, former nobility, who had been forced into the king’s service. They remained faithful to God during their trials to the point of death. When facing a furnace of blazing fire, they declared, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” And, as you know, God did deliver them from this horrific fate with not so much as the smell of smoke on their clothing. Was this deliverance simply because God was pleased with these young men? Or because of His strong love towards them? Yes, for these reasons, but God was, all along, working all things out for good and we see the king transformed into a believer in the next chapter.

For believers, there is always hope if we maintain an eternal perspective. In Ephesians 1 (the chapter where we find our adoption papers into the family of God) verses 18-21 Paul prays, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”

Just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we can be confident in our Father, for He holds our future whatever it may be. He wants to take what is good and replace it with the best. And even if He doesn’t do what we expect, we know that to live is Christ and to die is gain!

Do you have even if faith?

Kim Brunette Smith first came to ELCA as a member of the Ministry Team in 1994. In 1995 she took the position of Business Manager. She enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom to her children from 1996 until 1999 when she returned to ELCA as a volunteer Preschool Music Teacher. She now enjoys the role of Director of Marketing and Communications after serving 14 years as librarian and Director of Libraries. Her daughter, Erika, attended ELCA through her 9th grade year and Ethan, is a member of the ELCA Class of 2014.