As I write this post on a late January afternoon, it’s partly cloudy outside and temps are in the low 70s. Winter days here in coastal South Carolina can be unpredictable, but I’ll take this one for sure!
I know a lot of people who are carrying heavy loads in this first month of 2021. I mentioned that we’ve already been to two funerals, and have other friends who’ve lost loved ones. We know people who’ve had surgeries, hospitalizations, received a cancer diagnosis, or dealt with covid. None of us are exempt from trials.
In my Friday e-mail to blog subscribers, I included a video where I talked about part of our journey expecting an anencephalic baby. [If you’re not signed up to receive those e-mails, you can do that here.] Since we’ve been looking at God’s goodness on the blog this month, I hoped to encourage you by sharing a time in my life when God’s goodness was particularly evident.
Today I wanted to dig into this a little more. When we’re going through a difficult time, it may not be natural to immediately focus on God’s goodness. But if we can, it’s always there for us to see. It can change our perspective on the situation and give us hope going forward.
Three ways we see God’s goodness in our trials are through…
1. His grace
Like His unexplainable peace, God’s grace is always there to sustain us. It’s such a comfort to know that whatever comes, He will give us grace to meet the need.
In our case, it arrived when well-meaning strangers saw that I was pregnant and excitedly asked questions about the baby. They had no idea that she would never take a breath on her own on this earth.
We needed grace as other couples around us were choosing furniture for their nursery while we chose a gravesite. And His grace brought me through a difficult delivery and allowed us to hold our stillborn baby.
Does God’s grace mean that there weren’t hard days? Of course not. But His grace sustained us and brought us through that trial. We came to a place of knowing His goodness that we’d never have reached without it.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” ~1 Peter 5:10
2. His gifts
Can there really be gifts in a trial? Yes, so many! Among the greatest were our ob/gyn who fully supported our decision to continue the pregnancy. Our labor and delivery nurse in the hospital was unbelievably kind and caring. Family, friends, and church members prayed for and supported us.
While we may not have seen it at the time, God used this trial to knit my husband and me together. We gained a common confidence in the goodness of God. What a gift that was! It’s a lesson that has stood us in good stead over the 23 years since this happened.
God’s gifts can be people or financial provision or deliverance from a situation that only He could have orchestrated. Regardless of the form it takes, there are always gifts from God that demonstrate His unfailing goodness.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” ~James 1:17
3. His guidance
After our baby was born, I needed to go back to work. I’d given up my teaching job before we received our baby’s diagnosis since I thought I’d be staying home with a baby. God opened the door to a wonderful administrative position in a hospital system that was a blessing for the next three years. That experience would never have unfolded if not for the trial we’d been through.
In every difficulty we face, there are decisions to make. We won’t always know what to do. But as we pray and seek God through His Word, we can trust that He will guide us into what is best for us because He is good.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” ~Psalm 37:23
Have you’ve experienced God’s goodness for yourself? I hope the verses we looked at in last week’s post cement in your soul the truth that He is a good God. Whether life is smooth or today is hard, let’s look for His goodness in His grace, His gifts, and His guidance.
[If you’d like to read our full story about our daughter Angel, I wrote a blog post series on it called Our Story of God’s Goodness and Grace.]