It’s been a rough season for us in the Burleigh house. We’ve battled months of illness, from my vertigo in the fall, to ear infections, viral throat infections, rib splitting coughs, fevers, vomit, you name it… Some of the worst bugs we’ve weathered as a little family. On top of that, my husband has weathered difficulties in his job, and my parents have faced difficult health questions and diagnoses. And, then there’s my whole health saga. Recently, I received the results of my final MRI — I did indeed have a stroke; and there are no answers which yield any certainty. It was possibly caused by this, but may also have been caused by that, or it could be something else entirely. There’s absolutely no certainty.
After months and months of all these trials, I find myself fixing dinner, my mind racing, searching for the bright side. There always is one, right? Where is that darn bright side? I know it’s there somewhere. But where, in all of this, is it? In the middle of the vomit, the wild two year old tantrums, the hair pulling, the vertigo, the ear infections, the stroke… where are you, bright side?
I’ve recently been working on a Sunday school lesson on the sovereignty and the goodness of God. My premise is that God is both totally sovereign and totally good (a long ago lesson from the Jerry King days — Thank you, Jerry!). It’s daring to believe. Because it means that in the midst of vomit and ear infections, job changes, and strokes, God is absolutely in control, and even though that stuff feels junky, he’s still good. I’ve come to realize through this winter of many trials that I cannot allow the fallenness and brokenness of our world color my view of God. I must begin with the firm believe that he is good, and I must use that unwavering belief as a lens through which I see everything else.
If I look at life through the lens of our fallen world, I will see a broken God.
And that’s not the truth at all. The depravity of our world and of the human condition does not have any baring on God’s goodness. Instead, I stand firm in the belief that he is good, and I use that knowledge to process all the junk I encounter.
If God is good, then how should I interpret the reality of my fallen world? Personally, I choose to believe that, even when it doesn’t appear to be so, God ALWAYS has my very best interest in mind, and he is working for the greater good of HIS kingdom. You see, this world, this life, really isn’t about me and my happiness, my health, my comfort, my anything. It’s about him and his glory. And so if I have to go through some “light and momentary trials” I can trust fully that they will not compare to the “eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor 4:17). It stinks to have poopy seasons in life where everything just seems wrong, hard, bad, gross, day after day. It has worn on me these past few months. The final MRI was just the icing on the cake.
But, I have pinned down that elusive bright side in this: Rather than perceiving life through the lens of my broken circumstances, I must see my broken circumstances through the lens of God’s goodness.
Rather than focusing on all that’s wrong with my world (which is just depressing) I can choose to focus on a good and loving God who is truly working for my good, according to the purpose for which he has called me. So, no matter how dark the circumstances may look, the bright side remains in my good and loving Father God. And I find that once I turn my focus to him instead of on all the junk, my problems become much smaller, much less significant, much less depressing. What we have gone through in these last six months is nothing compared to what others have endured. And it all dims as I fix my mind on the fact that my good Father loves me. That is more than enough for me.
4 Responses to In Search of the Brighter Side
Your faith is so refreshing and encouraging to me, Catherine! What a strong woman you are! I so love your line above: Rather than perceiving life through the lens of my broken circumstances, I must see my broken circumstances through the lens of God’s goodness. I am writing that off and posting it over my kitchen sink, as I need to read it often to work at renewing my perspective! (I am not nearly so good at finding the bright side as you are.). Gosh, I sure hope I can be like you when I grow up! 😉
Aw, Bonnie, you are so sweet! 🙂 Thanks for always encouraging me!
I want to be like Catherine too, when, no, IF i can ever grow up!
What great writing to give clear pictures of how to do real life with Jesus, to keep pressing on… through all the disappointments and shocking incomprehensible events in life. Determined to find the positive, the light in the darkness of life on earth.
Bonnie, that quote you mentioned was a Wow for me too: Rather than perceiving life through the lens of my broken circumstances, I must see my broken circumstances through the lens of God’s goodness.
I went from “Yep I can relate, to Oh yah! that’s how God wants us to think!”
Catherine, Thank you for helping us to keep growing up. So encouraging to hang in there and not be moved from my baby steps of faith in who our Father God is.
Yes! This is exactly what we were talking about in Bible study last night. We were looking at Psalm 57. David is in such a rough place at that point in time. He’s hiding in a cave because King Saul is trying to kill him. And yet, he worships God, He praises Him for His goodness in that moment. He redirects His focus back up at God, where it belongs.
Such a needed reminder.
There’s always something to praise Him for.