Next month will be the year marker of moving back home. In some ways it feels just like yesterday that I graduated Seminary and headed back home. But, some days it also feels like it’s been an eternity and I so long for the next stage in life. I have been looking for a job, but still have not found anything. (Let me note here that I did not search at all the first 5 months or so, which I now see was not the best plan. Thankfully, the Lord is not affected by my unwise choices.) I have shared a lot about God’s overwhelming faithfulness and sovereignty and the confidence I have in that. However, I still definitely deal with sadness and confusion and frustration. Lately, that is exactly where I have been. I see the hand of God in everything that has happened the past year leading up to this point. But, I still feel sadness over certain things and confusion on why certain things happened the way they did. I know God has great plans for my life, but I get discouraged waiting for His great plan to take place. So, that’s what has been weighing on my heart lately. Is it possible to experience sorrow while still living in faith?
I think the answer to that is, ‘Yes!’ God has given us so many emotions. Positive ones like happiness and excitement and negative ones like anger and sadness. There is a righteous way in expressing them all. I used to struggle with this idea and always felt like I was being bad if I felt sadness or anger towards God. I felt like I must not really love Him or trust Him if I felt anything other than great joy and happiness. I think Scripture clearly speaks differently on the issue. Take the Psalms, for example. Constantly, the psalmists expressed sadness and anger. They were completely open and honest with God. They shared their fears and their anxieties with Him, and He listened. Look at Jesus. When He prayed to His Father, He expressed great sorrow about the task He was about to complete (Matt. 26:38-39, Mark 14:33-36, Luke 22:41-44). Did this mean He lacked faith? Absolutely not! He is the Christ! He does no wrong. So, if He was able to rightly express sorrow, then I should be confident that I also am able to rightly express sorrow.
Recently, I have been able to see this played out first hand. One of my dearest friends, Courtney Reissig, and her husband, Daniel, have gone through a very trying time and have experienced great sorrow. (You can learn more at Courtney’s blog, here.) Courtney experienced a miscarriage this past year and just this past week was her expected due date. There have been many days of overwhelming sadness and confusion and anger and tears for Courtney and Daniel, but through all of that I have also seen great faith and confidence in the Lord. They have shared their loss and hurt with so many people and have been such an encouragement and example. They have been able to stand up and say that they still completely trust the Lord and live out their lives in faith. Does this mean they have no sorrow? Of course not! Does this mean their days always end with no tears? On the contrary. But, it also does not mean they have not experienced the great hand of God in all of this. I know Courtney would say that this time has not only brought some of the hardest days for her, but it has also brought some of the sweetest and most meaningful moments between her, Daniel, and God. The Lord has brought them great comfort and has also used them as a great comfort to those around them. I have so been encouraged by their faithfulness and through them I have become more confident in the fact that sorrow and faith can go together. (Thank you Courtney for allowing me to share your story! I am so blessed by you and Daniel!)
So, that is where I am now. Feeling a longing beyond words for something new. Ready for a job. Ready to move out of the parents’ house. Ready to start a new phase in life. It has been extremely difficult seeing people experience what I so long for. I have been overwhelmed with sadness and confusion, wondering what exactly the Lord is doing. Wondering when exactly these things are going to take place. Wondering why things happened the way they did, even though I know they were meant to. And, I am confident it is completely ok for me to feel this way. Have I lost my faith? No! If anything, my faith has grown through this. I have become more confidence now than ever in God’s sovereignty. I know He has not forsaken me. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I still feel sadness and loneliness and confusion. And, lately, there have been days that I have done nothing but pour out my soul to my God, complete with tears and an aching heart. Saying to Him that I am overwhelmed with confusion and sorrow. I am overwhelmed with a longing heart. But, also saying that I know He is God. He is Creator. He is Sovereign. He is Truth. He is Love. And, He will make all things new.
May YOU be glorified in all I do, Lord! (even in my sorrow and confusion.)