God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
There are no coincidences with God. He purposefully watches over His children with His foresight, wisdom, and timely care. I’ve experienced His providential care many times. One of those times was the first Christmas holiday I spent without my beloved husband in fifty years. I was so deeply grieved, heartbroken, and lonely. Tears were ever near the surface when something supernatural happened.
The day after Christmas 2011, while standing upstairs early one morning, I looked out the window and was stunned at what I saw. There by our pond in the backyard were eight reddish-orange breasted robins, having a party in the dead of winter. It was twenty-four degrees outside, and they acted like it was springtime, flitting around the pond, into the trees, then back again. Some of them were taking a bath in the icy water.
They were so happy. I was mesmerized by the scene. I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. Then I heard His still small voice say to me, “Spring is coming!” All day long, the message rang in my ears. I couldn’t shake what I had seen and felt while watching the performance of the beautiful birds. I had never seen anything like it before and have never seen it since. I knew God was speaking to me. When I went to bed, the words were still echoing, they reminded me: “You may be in winter now, but spring is coming!” I knew His voice and was acquainted with His ways. I was receiving a God assignment. God wanted to use my brokenness to bless others who were broken. A few days later, I sat down at my computer, and the Spirit flowed through me, and gradually a book came into being. The tears flowed on many pages because of my recent loss.
Pain comes to all. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your name is; everyone will know the deep pain that accompanies the loss of a loved one or something that causes you heartbreak. We choose how we deal with the pain. We can curl up into a ball and die, or we can relax in the hands of the master Sculptor and let Him make us a better vessel for His kingdom.
“‘Often when I am carving a block of marble,’ said a sculptor, ‘and I see the chips flying in all directions, I feel compassion for the stone, and try to comfort it by saying, ‘Yes, I am hurting you now, but my purpose is to fashion you into a thing of eternal beauty.’ There is One who is a greater Sculptor than I, greater than Michelangelo—God. Humanity is His marble…pain is His chisel…and when I pass through suffering and see the way in which sorrow shatters my most lovely dreams, I softly murmur, ‘God Himself is at work in my soul, and in His infinite mercy He is about to enrich and deepen my life far beyond my own imaginings.’” (A Living Witness, the Life of Adèle Kamm, (1914) p. 115.)
David cried to God in his pain: “Look upon mine affliction [mental distress] and my pain” (Psalm 25:18). The pain is in our mind. The severe loss is like ripping or tearing away something precious from you. It leaves a bleeding wound of the spirit raw and agonizing to bear.
But God gives hope: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
God wants to give us the oil of joy for mourning (see Isaiah 61:3). He never allows something to come into our lives without having a remedy or a reason.
When pain comes and we mourn with inconsolable agony, His prescription for us is the oil of joy poured into our deep-seated pain. The oil of joy soothes our spirits, lubricates hearts that could become crusty and hardened, and heals the broken, raw wounds of pain. “My soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation” (Psalm 35:9).
“We know that Christ gives victory over suffering. He offers His constantly abiding presence to those who suffer. His presence enables men to handle the obstacle of suffering with triumph and victory. It was the midnight hour, while bound in stocks and chains in the Philippian jail. It was the presence of Christ which enabled Paul to give a triumphant testimony in the midst of suffering. ‘Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.’ Strong? Yes, because the God of strength is in our ranks.” (M. Taylor quoted in L. B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert, Volume Two, February 17).
God in His providence:
• Provided a sacrifice for Abraham, so his son was spared.
• Created a large, dry path in the Red Sea for Moses.
• Spared Esther and the lives of her people. “Turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day” (Esther 9:22).
• Restored double for all that Job lost. “So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12).
Jesus said He would never leave you nor forsake you. He will always take care of you. We must trust how He does His dealings with us, for He never fails. Isaiah 26:3-4 gives the secret to peace: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.”
God is in control and is sovereign over all things! “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28).
God cares: “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Psalm 91:11).
There is never a teardrop that God doesn’t see.
He knows when a sparrow falls from a tree.
There is never a moment when God doesn’t care, never!
“The very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:30-31). That’s what you are to God: much more valuable. He will always take care of you.
Joy Haney, speaker, and prolific author of sixty-two books, is the wife of the late Kenneth Haney, former UPCI general superintendent and bishop of Christian Life Center. She is mother to five children, “mom” to many, and grandma to twelve. She is a UPCI ordained minister and lives in Stockton, California.