Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
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Monday, October 01, 2012 @ 1:04:00 AM - Written by Doug Hignell -

I'm realizing that clinging to hope when our stories don't turn out as we've planned is a common struggle for many of us -- even more common than I thought. I've received more emails and comments related to this series of blog posts than any I've written before. Why is this? Because we all have at least one story that didn't end as we'd planned.

A friend of mine, who has endured suffering far beyond what one could imagine, sent me the following email (which I've edited for the sake of anonymity). It's an amazing statement of trusting God even when things don't turn out the way we'd hoped. After experiencing several severe losses, my friend, too, was encouraged by Carol Kent's book When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances. My friend writes:

"I have always thought that it is necessary to wrestle with the reality of Abraham's willingness in his obedience to God to sacrifice his son! And God asking him to in the first place! We tend to read those stories with some kind of spiritual bedtime story mentality! I have known that if I wrestle with the 'What is this, God?' question, I am relating with Him in an authentic way, and I come to a genuine surrender. In that place, I gain more of Him. With Paul, I am committed to being found in Him so much so that my DNA is more spiritual than biological. Little did I know or plan that my 'story'' would be found more in the fellowship of suffering than in the 'hope for a better life.' I am grateful in this moment for a Love that I might never have lived without the 'tsunamis' graced with His sovereignty.
P.S. I am not one who necessarily believes that one must suffer in order to know God intimately. Encounters with Him certainly change the atmosphere of our faith whether those encounters come in want or plenty. What I do know is He is God and I am not."

What an amazing response when life hasn't turned out as we've planned! My friend has suffered more than any one person should have to, and yet my friend continues to pursue God with an abandoned passion.

We'd all like to have DNA that's more spiritual than biological. Yet, are we willing to embrace suffering and the death of our planned story (if/when it comes) and still pursue God in such a way that our DNA is transformed in the process? It's easy to say 'yes' when our stories are working out; it's much harder when we face suffering. However, as I observe the life of my friend, I've seen that person handle suffering with an honest and vulnerable, yet deep and authentic hope--and it has profoundly impacted many, including me.

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