“Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.'”John 13:7
If you’ve been here a while, then you know that three years ago I got pretty sick. It was a frustrating time in my life but was also a fundamental pivotal point in my faith. Three years ago I thought I had everything together. A nice job with an impressive title, all A’s while taking 22 credits, and my body was at the height of its ability as I was training for a marathon. During the three months leading up to my sudden sickness, I had one reoccurring theme popping up in all scripture I was reading: suffering.
It seemed like every day I was learning something new about what suffering looked like as a Christian. I remember being so confused and kind of annoyed because my life, honestly, felt pretty much the opposite of what we would call suffering.
It got to the point where I even told my mom one night “I love what I’m learning but I feel like all I’m learning is about suffering and endless joy. I want to learn something applicable, I don’t need to know about suffering right now.”
I literally changed books of the Bible I was reading, and also switched my free reading from Levi Lusko’s “Through The Eyes Of A Lion” to Bob Goffs “Love Does.” I purposefully listened to sermons that stayed away from the topic of suffering.
But somehow it always ended up on my mind and in what I was reading.
One particular day I decided to stop dodging the topic and found myself studying joy. Not just any joy, but the kind of joy that a believer only finds through the Holy Spirit. I made a list of Bible verses that discussed uninterrupted, endless joy.
The kind that only comes from God and the kind that we only often rely on when our circumstances are not bringing us joy. I memorized about 10-15 verses on joy and kept them in a list in my notebook. One of my favorite past times is memorizing scripture. I love it because it helps me make decisions in life, but also because it brings me a sense of accomplishment for memorizing them.
What can I say? I’m a results-driven person.
Let me tell you when I did finally fall sick three months later, I learned on this list like no other. One day it got especially bad and I ended up in the ER. What did I do the entire time I was lying there, eyes barely able to open? I recited those bible verses in my head.
You see, God was using a MIGHTY word to prepare me when I didn’t know what was coming. He was making a way when I was still in the dark. He was shining a light at the end of the path I never expected to be on. When I got sick I lost all ability to memorize. I could barely remember what I did 5 minutes prior, let alone scripture. I even forgot things that had happened in the prior months but you know the ONE thing that stuck?
The Bible verses on everlasting joy.
I was in the ER because I couldn’t remember where I was the day before, and could barely communicate but I could remember multiple Bible verses on joy.
Talk about a sovereign God we serve.
This is why when we don’t understand things that are going on in our lives or don’t understand something God is giving to us it’s so important to just take it in and have faith.
Without those verses, I would have been a mess. I would have been crying in the ER instead of thinking “hi God, I see you in this place.”
I’m sure many of you have had the same kind of experience where you don’t understand what’s going on at the time, and I understand it can get really frustrating. One verse that helps me remember the importance of simply believing in His ultimate plan is Proverbs 3:5-6.
It reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
He calls us to trust in Him, with all of our heart, not leaning on our own understanding. When you’re having trouble understanding something that is going on in your life, or repetitive themes showing up in things like scripture – remember to trust in Him. Stop leaning on your own thoughts, and knowledge of the present, and lean into His sovereign plan of the future.
Life can be hard and confusing but we have one constant in our life and that is Jesus Christ. Hold tight to the truth that He always knows what’s going on and He is always making a way.