“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’
declares the Lord.” ~ Isaiah 55:8

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

Last night was a typical rowdy Saturday night at my house.  After giving my son a bath, watching a little Thomas the Train, and putting him to bed, I spent the evening watching something on Hulu, putting together a few scrapbooking layouts, and answering work emails.  Not a bad night, but certainly not what I had pictured my life to look like at this point in time (I had at least planned on not spending evenings by myself.)

I realize that by most standards, my life is pretty good.  Boring, at times, but really great at other times.  I am blessed with a home, family, and friends.  In fact, sometimes I catch myself thinking, “Wow, I have such a great life.”  Unfortunately, the snarky voice in my head almost always immediately follows that thought with, “Yeah, except for that whole part about having a husband who died.”  Which sort of kills the count-your-blessings moment, in case you were wondering.

I think so often we look around and think, “This isn’t what I imagined.”  The young couple who face the news of yet another miscarriage.  The medical tests that come back with confirmation that what they’ve found is cancer.  The mother in the hospital being handed her baby for the first time, and only to realize immediately that her child has Down’s Syndrome.

Painful moments.  And not ones we ever pictured happening to us.  Maybe someone else.  But never us.

We cry out to God, from the very depths of our hearts, “This isn’t what I wanted! Why me?  Why is this happening?”  Sometimes He answers; sometimes He comforts us with only His presence and no words.  He may explain to us why we are going through what we are during our lifetime, He may not.

Yet God promises that He has good for those who love Him.  These moments certainly do not feel like love.  They may initially feel like blistering pain.  When the nurse stood in the hallway of the ICU and told me my husband could die from the bacterial meningitis, I certainly didn’t think about how God was showing His love for me.  I kind of felt like He had taken the day off.  And yet He has demonstrated endlessly through my situation He unending love for me and my little boy.

Our ways are not His ways.  He promises good to us, and wants us to grow in the spirit.  Sometimes that is through gentle life lessons.  Sometimes it is through much more challenging, life-altering experiences.  I know to knock the rough edges off of me, I’m sure God feels like He needs to use a belt sander sometimes, instead of just a little emery board.  But He accomplishes what He needs to in each one of our lives, through whatever situations come our way.  I certainly don’t mean God causes us harm to make us grow, but rather than He uses tragedy to bring good about.  Which is something only He can do.

Whatever is hurting you right now, give it to God.  Cry with Him, mourn with Him, and allow Him to turn your tears and heartache into something beautiful.