Bright blue sky peeks between pearl white clouds—but more showers are on the way. No breaks in the forecast for days. Windows snap shut. Everything feels heavy and wet. But the trees breathe a sigh of relief.
Summer scorched the earth this year. Crops were cut and stored ahead of schedule. I fear the leaves curling—missing their chance to turn.
Seasons come and go, ready or not.
It’s hard to resist the approaching sweet and spice of Autumn. Shiny red apples piling high on shelves. Plump orange pumpkins selling on farms and in cans. Cider and cinnamon warm in a cup. Acorns dropping, temperature falling, firewood stacking up.
It can feel melancholy to let Summer go. Bracing ourselves for six months of cold. But who knows? No one knows what the wind will send, or if we’ll be here when Winter ends.
Life and death, like seasons, roll in abruptly and fade away swiftly. The past year has felt severe. Storms, one right after another. Our bodies losing steam. Hearts sick with grief. The worlds’ greed to dominate and deceive. No breaks in tears it seems. Everything feels overcast and threatening.
Here’s what I found in heartbreaking hours: a heart can beat stronger for what really matters.
THE DOWNPOURS OF SUFFERING WATER THE ROOTS OF WHO YOU ARE
“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.” – C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed.
The bible says, Job was blameless and upright, a man who feared God. Considered to be the holiest, wealthiest man in the east, and popular with friends. God, Himself, vouched for Job. And I quote, “There is none like him on the earth.”
Let’s zero in on Job’s afflictions: Every worker struck down with the sword. All his property burned to the ground. Ten kids killed in the wind. From head to toe covered with sores. A wife that couldn’t care less for his soul. Friends that let him down in the end.
Job was drowning in loss and pain. Did he question God? Yes. Suffer depression? You bet. Groaned, wept, never slept. Yet, this is what he said, “But God knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” (Job 23:10)
Job’s hope did not fall to his property, his kids, his wife, not even his health. Job fell on his swollen face before the God he feared and loved. The God he trusted to measure his afflictions. The God who judges rightly, is clothed in majesty, rules without apology.
Searching for ways to explain how God sustains in dark days, I cornered myself with this halting question, Do I love God? Not simply because He can give me what I want but because I trust Him, love Him, and He is all I want?
How do I know I love God?
Then, like lightening, I understood a drop of why suffering:
When God called you out of unbelief, did you leave? When you lost strength, job, dreams, savings, friends, family did you fold before the One who gave in the first place? When your diagnosis looked bleak, did you run for His everlasting love? Then, take comfort, beloved—because the downpours of suffering water the roots of who you are.
I have felt fearful of letting go of life. Bracing myself for how I will die. Compared to Job, I know almost nothing of suffering. But this I know sure as skies turn blue: Jesus has saved me every possible way. He speaks to me, I talk to Him all hours night and day. And when the sun is taken away, leaves let go, colors fade, I will sleep the sweetest relief at home with God.
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth.” (Job 19:25)