How do we trust God when He allows loss and pain? I love the holiday season. But holidays can punctuate life’s losses. Shadows darken our thoughts and feelings. What does trust look like when our whys scream for answers?
How My Dog Helped Me Trust God
My eighty-six-pound poodle, Max, showed me what trust looks like. After being diagnosed with Addison’s disease, Max needed to have his blood drawn regularly to check his electrolyte and hormone levels. One week, Max planted himself and refused to go with the technician. I followed the tech, and Max followed me.
I felt like a traitor luring my dog into my vet’s lab. I did it to save his life, but Max didn’t know that. Did Max think I was heartless to let the vet draw blood from his thin leg month after month?
This made me consider how I trust God when I am hurting. It’s easy to believe that if I understood the purpose of my pain, I’d trust him better. But is that true?
Imagine explaining Max’s condition to him. I could read him the symptoms off the Internet. I could show him his lab reports. I could remind him how he almost died. But would that help Max have his blood drawn?
My knowledge concerning the treatment of Max’s illness surpasses his. I know the brief pain of the needle produces lasting benefits. Sometimes God allows us to see the benefit of our losses. But many of our whys remain unanswered.
Isaiah 55:8–9 (NIV) offers some understanding:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
The difference between my thoughts and my dog’s is much less than the distance between God’s thoughts and mine. If Max can’t understand why I have his blood drawn, do I think I can understand why God lets pain touch me?
Our Master’s Assurances
But God has not left me without assurance. He promised:
- “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Cor. 4:17 NLT).
- “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later” (Rom. 8:18 NLT).
A child of God can’t lose a hair without God noticing. Perhaps Romans 8:31 (NIV) sums up all we really need to remember. “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Life on this planet is a vapor. But how we live echoes through eternity. Pain, loss, and confusion provide opportunities to trust the Master. The pain you, Max, and I experience is real. But the pain is temporary. God sees the big picture and promises to work the wrongs and injustices that touch us together for our eternal good (Rom. 8:28).
When I see Max romp across the yard without a symptom of Addison’s, I remember how sick he was before blood tests and shots and thank God for them. Max doesn’t understand the connection. He doesn’t need to. He only needs to know I take care of him.
This holiday season, instead of wallowing in our whys, let’s be wise and trust the one who shed his blood for us. He promises to use the pain we suffer for our eternal good and to walk with us through our trials (Isa. 43:1–3).
Today’s Strength Builder: What loss or injustice still pains you? Ask God to help you transfer your focus from your whys to the one who loves you.
Wishing you a joyful Thanksgiving,
Adapted from Little Strength, Big God