I finished this journal today. I started it in 2015, a lot has happened since then. There are seasons where I journal multiple days a week and there are other when it’s more sporadic. These three years have been more sporadic, which is why it’s taken so long to finish it.
When I journal, I use it as a conversation with God, I write Him letters. I pray and tell Him about my concerns, needs, wants and dreams.
The time period of this journal (May 5, 2015-today) covers some highlights: it began with an entry about my mom’s birthday and the day I spoke on stage at church for Seasons. It includes praises for speaking opportunities, fun times with loved ones, and many answered prayers: financial provision and healing for medical needs of family and friends, to name just a few.
But it also includes the biggest heartbreak of my life: my parents’ separation two and half years ago, and their divorce.
The pages of this journal hold so many prayers for a miracle, prayers for changes of heart and for reconciliation. But the miracle did not come. God didn’t answer my prayers in the way I had hoped. Earlier this year the divorce was final. It has been so so hard.
But here’s what I know for sure: God is still good and He is still worthy of my praise. My unanswered prayers aren’t an indication of God’s measure of love or care for me. Your unanswered prayers aren’t an indication of God’s measure of love or care for you either. We can’t confuse the two.
Life is messy and we are complicated people, sinners trying to get along with other sinners. God allows us free will and our choices have consequences. We live in a broken world, where so many things are backward and contrary to God’s way of doing things. Here our bodies and souls are susceptible to diseases, addictions and pain. Loss is sadly part of living on this earth.
Sometimes God intervenes to change things, but sometimes He doesn’t. We’ll never be able to understand why and we’ll make ourselves crazy if we think about it too much.
So what do we do?
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” – Psalm 9:9-10 NIV
Do you believe those words?
Even when it’s hard and even when we don’t understand why, we can choose to trust Him. We can let our pain bring us closer to Him or we can let it push us away. I believe God can use our pain for good if we let Him.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 of The Message says:
“All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that too.”
As I begin a new journal this week, I trust God with the future. I’ll continue to pray prayers that may go unanswered or won’t be answered in the way I hope. But I trust Him because He is trustworthy and true. I believe Him when He says that He will make all things new.