Living in the 'come what may'
Nov. 16, 2015 at 5:58 p.m.
Updated Nov. 16, 2015 at 5:59 p.m.
"God is good, come what may and nevertheless." These words became etched on my heart during the many years I heard them preached from the pulpit. They were strong, powerful and steadfast words. God, I will trust you, come what may and nevertheless, was my heartfelt response.
I had no idea what “come what may” might look like for me or our family; it was a nebulous concept. Besides, who really wants to know? I wonder how many of us live in subtle denial that one day we will encounter circumstances so difficult that it will test our faith to the limit? It is similar to the “for better or worse” clause in marriage vows. Who really thinks there will be a “worse”? Besides, worse doesn’t happen in fairy tales, except to others.
We encountered difficult circumstances through the years, just like everyone else. In retrospect, they were mostly mole hills. The mountains of mental illness and Alzheimer’s emerged within a few years of each other, and come what may came knocking at our door. We have been living in it some eight years now.
Sometimes people say, “I don’t see how you do it.” We don’t – not on our own, anyway. However, we are not living in the come what may alone – Jesus is there, and we claim his promise, “My grace is sufficient for you, and my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12: 9).
God works in us through our brokenness in the come what may, molding us into what we were meant to be, and bringing forth beauty from ashes. “We all are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Henri Nouwen wrote in Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life, “That is the great conversion in our life: to recognize and believe that the many unexpected events are not just disturbing interruptions of our projects, but the way in which God molds our hearts and prepares us for His return.”
There is also this – His joy. It is abundantly present in the come what may. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). And Paul exhorts us, “Rejoice in the Lord always…and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4, 7). Also, “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of any kind, because the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2).
Our lives do not have to be defined by our trials within the come what may, because God’s grace covers and empowers us. C.S. Lewis’ wife died of cancer at age 45. He later wrote in A Grief Observed, “One never meets just Cancer or War or Unhappiness….One only meets each hour or moment that comes. All manner of ups and downs. Many bad spots in our best times, many good ones in our worst. One never gets the total impact of what we call ‘the thing itself.’ But we call it wrongly. The thing itself is simply all these ups and downs: the rest is a name or an idea."
We need to remember that although we are living in the come what may, we are also living in the “yet to be” – the expectation of entering God’s heavenly Kingdom. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). During our earthly lives, we are commanded to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). Waiting sounds like a passive activity, but it takes endurance, patience and fortitude, as well as hope and faith.
With God’s strength, we can persevere.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
He is my fortress, I will never be shaken."
Psalm 62:1, 2