When our eight-year-old pet duck, Lily, became very ill, we took her to the vet and got her the medicines she needed to recover, and we earnestly prayed for her healing. We kept her and her mate, Larry, in our laundry room for two weeks, and we did our best to nurse Lily back to health. As she took a turn for the worse, my husband, Joe, looked in on her frequently as he worked at his computer in the next room. Then, it happened. Joe checked on Lily to see how she was doing and she looked at him, took her last breath, and died. Joe was inconsolable, and he asked me over and over, "Why would God allow me to see her take her last breath?" I did my best to comfort my husband, but I couldn't help asking myself the same thing. Why? Why would God allow this? It made no sense to me. Three years later, we got our answer.
Joe's mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. We covered her in prayer each day, and she fought bravely to recover. When her doctors told her that there was nothing else they could do, she went into hospice care. Joe rushed to her side as her life ebbed away, and in the wee hours of the night, he saw his mother take her last breath. He was overcome with grief, but he felt upon Him the consoling hand of God as he remembered witnessing Lily's last breath of life. And he told me, "Now I understand."
All this brought to mind two different passages in the Bible where God tells the prophet Jeremiah, "In the days to come you will understand all this." (Jeremiah 30:24; 23:20) On both occasions, the Lord is telling Jeremiah about events to come, and He warns His servant that he won't be able to comprehend His purposes until they come to pass. In my husband's case, when God arranged for Joe to see Lily take her last breath, He was preparing him for witnessing his own mother's passing. It wasn't until it actually happened that he understood the Lord's purpose for his pain.
As Jesus was preparing to go to the cross, He told His disciples, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." (John 16:12 NKJV) Can you imagine the Lord telling my husband, "I allowed you to experience the pain of seeing Lily take her last breath, so that you would be better prepared to see your mother die three years later"? Those are words that Joe was not prepared to hear at the time of Lily's death, and God knew it. So He allowed Joe to suffer with his questions and doubts for a time. And in the end, my husband had a deep-down peace and belief in God when he needed it most.
Perhaps you have questions and doubts of your own. I understand how you feel. But I'm asking you today to dare to believe that the Lord has a purpose for your pain, and to put your trust in Him while you wait for the revelations He has in store for you.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for doubting You and Your intentions when I have faced difficulties, disappointment, and heartache. Give me a trusting heart that believes that no matter what comes my way, You will work it all out for my good. (Romans 8:28) Help me to ask for Your comfort and healing when I need them. And teach me how to enjoy every day of my life right in the midst of trouble and turmoil. Thank You that as I keep my hope in You and Your promises, I will experience Your unshakable peace and unspeakable joy!
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