September 27, 2017 by Katy Epling
“Now then, consider from this day onward…” Haggai 2:15
“Consider from this day onward…” Haggai 2:18
Seven years ago, my world was turned upside down when my three-month-old son was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Hearing that my child would struggle to grow and learn, that he would be different from his peers, that he would likely face health concerns beyond most typical children—it was all too much.
For months after that diagnosis, life felt hopeless. I couldn’t understand how the sun kept rising every morning, how I could pass people on the street every day who seemed so happy and unaware that my world was falling apart.
But do you know what else happened? God provided. He bonded our family together in new ways. He brought friends to our door with meals in hand. He provided strength and led us through the hard days one step at a time.
I can happily tell you we are no longer shrouded by the grief of Joey’s diagnosis. In fact, he is one of the greatest blessings in our lives. His smile lights up a room. His personality draws people to him in ways I couldn’t have imagined. And not only has our family drawn closer to God, but He has also provided opportunity after opportunity for us to use our experiences to minister to others.
Sometimes bad things happen as consequences to our own poor decisions, like an accident caused by texting while driving. Other times our hardships are just part of life, like cancer, where there is no one to blame. Either way, one thing is true: God doesn’t waste our pain. He is not sitting in heaven, musing, “I wonder what happens if I do this.” He isn’t caught off-guard, thinking, “I didn’t mean for that to happen, but hopefully they’ll recover.” Every trial, every consequence, every tear and frustration serves a purpose—for our good and His glory.
Unfortunately, we can’t always see that in the moment. Often we have to get through the trial first before we can look back and see His hand, His provision, or the lessons He taught us as we battled.
Contrary to popular belief, experience is not, in itself, the best teacher. It is through evaluated experience that lessons are learned. By “considering” our past struggles, we learn how to avoid mistakes, we see how God provided in hard times, and we grow closer to the God who is always in control. Then we can more fully rely on Him the next time rain falls in our lives.
Recently we found ourselves faced with another crisis in our family. I felt the familiar pull to hopelessness, and then I took a moment to consider. Remember how it seemed that life would never be happy again? Remember how God provided? See where He has brought us through that once hard situation? Suddenly I felt like I could breathe again. That doesn’t mean everything was fixed or that I no longer struggled throughout our trial. But in the midst of my pain, I could trust that God is good and is leading us through. He doesn’t waste our pain.
Are you facing a battle today? Maybe it’s a result of a bad decision, or maybe it’s something out of your control that blindsided you. Either way, take a moment to consider how God has led you in the past. Allow Him to use your pain to draw you—and those around you—closer to Him.