My oldest daughter, Katie, just left for Africa to serve the Lord overseas for almost a year.
Seven years ago, serving Jesus would have been unthinkable to her. Seven years ago, God wasn’t real to her any more. Seven years ago, she almost walked away from faith.
A few weeks ago, on the Sunday that her church commissioned her, the sermon was on Joseph. The pastor said, “Don’t be so focused on what God has taken from you that you can’t see or believe that God will do something through you.”
Those words hit me hard. He went on to quote from Paul Miller’s powerful book, A Praying Life, “When confronted with suffering that won’t go away or with even a minor problem, we instinctively focus on what is missing…not on the Master’s hand. Often when you think everything has gone wrong, it’s just that you’re in the middle of a story.”
Often when you think everything has gone wrong, it’s just that you’re in the middle of a story.
That one sentence kept coming back to me throughout the sermon. It’s so easy to focus on what is missing and not on God’s hand when you’re in the middle of a story. When every day feels like an insurmountable struggle, and the details of the present are all-consuming, it’s impossible to imagine anything else is happening.
Seven years ago, we were in an excruciating part of the story. It felt like an unending nightmare. In fact, it was probably the hardest year of my life.
In the middle, all I could see was what had gone wrong. What God had taken from me. What seemed irredeemable and broken. I felt that I had lost everything. And I didn’t believe that God would do anything through me or through my circumstances. My husband had left, my kids were a mess, and my body was failing. How could anything good ever come out of unimaginable pain?