Psalms 73:21-26 says: 21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. 22 I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
It was really the last line of that passage that caught my attention today but that whole passage is powerful. I think at times we all get mad at God. We all get frustrated. We all question. At least, I know I do. I look at evil people prospering and I am frustrated. I look at good people struggling and I am upset. I sometimes wonder where is God in all of it. It can leave me discouraged and at times has found me questioning my faith altogether.
As a chaplain, I have sat through many of these same types of conversations with people that have just lost a loved one and are asking why. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to some of our questions, and God’s will and plan while great, often do not align with mine or yours! As a result, I can find myself feeling bitter, upset, torn, and confused. Once upon a time, this was the limit of my emotions but as I have evolved as a Christian and developed more experience and strength I recognize that I need to trust God and let His will be done even in those moments of deep despair.
I am growing better at this. It has been a journey and it is a journey I am clearly still on. I was talking with Sharon a wise woman from church who is a bit ahead of me on that journey this weekend about this very topic. Through the loss of multiple husbands and more trials than I can count, she has built incredible faith and trust in God and His plan. I really admire her level of trust. She has reached what verse 26 talks about and God is clearly the strength of her heart forever. God has held her hand and guided her through a variety of challenges from the death of loved ones to parenting dilemmas, to ministry challenges. Along the way, she has learned to lean in and trust God and it has brought her tremendous peace and has also yielded a great deal of wisdom that has allowed her to be a better friend, wife, mother, and follower. She has truly allowed Jesus to take the wheel as Carrie Underwood famously sings.
I took a lot of inspiration from that conversation with Sharon and from this timely passage that showed up in my reading today. The conversation was a great reminder that I still have plenty of learning and growing to do. I have been thinking about that a lot over the past 24 hours and this verse feels like God highlighting that for me. Yes, I have a ton of growing to do but I do have one thing that will help me at every step of my journey and that is the knowledge that God is mine forever. I may not know what the future holds. I may not know what ups and downs I will face but God is my rock and I will trust in Him no matter what comes my direction. I will continue working to lean into Him and trust His plan but I can rest assured knowing that no matter what that plan includes, I know I won’t ever be alone or without his help and support even when I reach the end of my journey here on earth.