The sovereignty of God is a sweet pillow that you can lay your head at night. It is a beautiful truth not only that God is in control over all, but is also working everything out — the good and the bad — for your good, and his glory. This sweet doctrine is medicine for the soul that you can take in any season of life.
- C.H. Spurgeon
Living among fire victims at a hotel for over two weeks, you begin to realize that everybody has a backstory. Some hide their emotion better than others, but everybody has a difficult circumstance that has led them to uproot their lives, put everything on hold, and live among strangers all during a time when they normally would be shopping, decorating, and cleaning in preparation for the much-loved festive season of Christmas.
When disaster strikes, priorities change. Routines are disrupted. The urgent, unfortunately, crowds out the important. And we're left with a pile of emotions that affect every decision, every schedule, and every interaction with strangers, family and friends. The hotel guest who responded to my "Good morning" with a snarl yesterday, not surprisingly, lost her house and everything in it. The woman laundering her clothes next to me last Thursday was overwhelmed with the prospect of building again while caring for her elderly mom and family, and felt tired and angry at her circumstances. And the older gentleman with his sweet wife who sat near us at breakfast had been displaced and uprooted from their home of forty years and were asking the difficult, "why would a good God allow bad things" question. Everybody has a story. Everybody. (If you missed ours, read Part A here).
Yet through this common denominator of tragedy, we have been handed the priceless opportunity to speak hope into the lives of those without hope–a temporary license, you might say, to voice truth and offer solid answers to their questions of why. The bottom line? As my husband frequently says, the bottom line is always the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only solution, the only hope for a hurting world. And when we come to know the sovereign God who created us, we are able to rest and enjoy peace even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances. So if we know where to find this peace and hope, why wouldn't we share it? Why wouldn't we reach out to those around us who are desperate for answers in the midst of tragedy? As someone once said, "Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread." Let's share the bread!!
A few nights ago, while discipling a young man from church in the hotel jacuzzi, my husband, Jeff, was able to share the gospel with another young man who had been listening to their conversation, had started asking some hard questions, and by God's grace, gave his life to Christ. This young man was truly searching for peace, as his abusive living situation was pushing him toward killing his own father, then killing himself. The gospel is truly the only solution for any and every situation. God is good. And this may be the whole reason we have been displaced by the fires--so that a young man might come to know Jesus as his Savior and Lord. Praise God!
This sums it up right here. Found this beauty in the ashes of my mom's storage unit. Words are from our family's signature hymn that we sing after
praying over our meals. What a beautiful reminder to praise God through the difficult circumstances–even though we cannot see the purpose of things or grab the whole picture of what He's doing–we can still praise our sovereign God from whom all blessings flow.
"Our suffering has meaning and purpose in God's eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good.”
-Jerry Bridges, Trusting God Even When Life Hurts