I stood at the sink, washing dishes. Wind and sunlight swept through the open windows. Outside, a pileated woodpecker tipped the bird feeder as he ferociously dug for seeds.
My youngest daughter was in her high chair; my oldest was in the booster, eating lunch. Both mirrored the contentment I felt. My husband came inside from the barn and began prepping his second bowl-sized cup of coffee.
He came to stand beside me and looked out the window. He touched my shoulder and said, “We’re blessed.”
I reared back from his words. My heart clenched. I immediately thought, “Don’t say that; we’re too close to your scans.”
The foundation of my faith better resembled superstition. To admit that we were blessed felt, in my mind, to entice just the opposite.
To cause God to stop and pause—to look down through the screen of clouds at our idyllic family—and say, as if a new version Job, “Have you considered my servant, Jolina?”
I continued washing dishes. I wiped down the countertop and swept the floor. All the while, I pondered why I didn’t believe God wanted good things for our family. Why I didn’t—and couldn’t—trust.
Like a father who delves out punishment, and a mother who delves out gifts, God and Jesus each had their roles, and I could not comprehend that they loved me the same.
I had no trouble believing Jesus wanted good things for our family. I had no trouble believing Jesus was one I could trust. However, the same did not go for his father.
Father God was not the one who nurtured my spirit when times got tough; instead, he was one who orchestrated the tough times as recompense for all the bad things I did.
Last night, three days after I began analyzing my unhealthy viewpoint of God, my husband and I had another young couple over for supper.
The four of us sat on the front porch after our girls were in bed. We ate peach pie for dessert and talked about our spiritual journeys as the birds returned to their nests and the windmill creaked in the dark.
Though talkative to a fault, I hesitantly told them about my own journey: about growing up on a Christian camp, my parents’ ardent faith slowly becoming my own, my dear friend’s death, my best friend’s cancer, and my husband’s emergency craniotomy eight weeks after we moved away from our families.
That is when I understood: every time I’ve walked through a hardship, I’ve also walked closer to God.
He doesn’t give me hardships out of punishment. He gives me hardships out of love, because he knows that unless I walk through hardships on this earth, I will never be ready to meet him face to face.
The revelation unclenched my heart. I knew that I could trust my father God, just as I could trust his son. And that, regardless of the outcome of my husband’s brain scans and tests, God and Jesus will walk with me every step of the journey, and one day – though I now peer through the glass darkly – I will clearly see the perfect trinity’s heart and plan.
Have you ever walked through a hardship and then later saw how God turned it for good?