I wrote a post last week that triggered a response that blew my mind. In four days, over 3300 people have read those words of grace for weary moms on the days when they forget everything they know to be true about the hope of Christ. What that tells me is that grace resonates.
But moms are not the only ones who need grace, and moms are not the only ones who forget.
We all fall into traps, snared by bills or health problems or relationship conflicts or some other hardship. We might even be caught in several traps at the same time. We might be throwing up our hands, crying, “It’s too much! I can’t survive any more bad news!”
I experienced this a few years ago when it seemed like one storm after another crashed into my life, until it felt like I could barely breathe through the pain. And for a while, I forgot.
When the storms are real, when they’re big, when they are crippling–these are the times when we might forget.
We might forget that God has promised to work everything together for the ultimate good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). We might forget that He is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). We might forget that we can actually count trials as joy because they work in our hearts to produce steadfastness, which when it has its full effect, will make us perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).
We might forget that hard things in our lives do not mean that God is not good, and that He has promised to allow nothing into our lives that has not been carefully measured by His hands in love in the perfect portion to work in our hearts and make us look more like Jesus.
We will all experience hard days. Sometimes we know exactly what is going on, we can easily identify the storm that is wreaking havoc, just like meteorologists name the hurricanes as they brew out in the ocean.
Death of a loved one. Serious illness. Financial hardship. Divorce. Job loss. Infertility.
Other times, we cannot label the storm so easily. Maybe it’s just a nagging spirit of discontent. Maybe it is just a cloud that seems to be hovering over us like we’re Eeyore. Maybe it’s something so minor as waking up in a bad mood after a restless night. We can forget on these days, too.
We might forget that Jesus never promised us an easy life, but instead guaranteed that we would have trouble (John 16:33). We might forget all the ways He’s proven His love and faithfulness over and over and over (Lamentations 3:22-24). We might forget that it is possible to be content in any difficult circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13). We might forget that the way for us to shine like stars in the universe among people who need Jesus is to do everything without grumbling or complaining (Philippians 2:14-16).
We might forget how small our troubles are in the grand scheme of things.
And you know what? We are so fickle that we forget in good times, too.
We might sit back and smile in self-satisfaction as we look around our beautiful home, forgetting that every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17). We might boast about our kids’ latest accomplishments or our husband’s job promotion or our own achievements, forgetting that everything we have has been received and we have no room to boast (1 Corinthians 4:7). We might make our plans and fill our calendar and go about our days with no thought of God at all, thinking we can handle things pretty well on our own, forgetting that we are not even guaranteed our next breath (James 4:14-16).
We might forget that everything we are, everything we have is a gift from the God who made us, and that we are dependent on Him for our very heart to keep beating.
So to the tired soul journeying along a dark and weary path, and to the one who is coasting along enjoying life but forgetting the Giver of the gifts, He whispers:
I am here. I have not forgotten you; do not forget me. When you walk through the storm, I am with you. I catch all your tears in a bottle, they do not fall unnoticed. It is not for nothing that you must go through this Hard. Your suffering is never wasted. I have a purpose. You can’t see it right now but it is for your good, my child. You are but a bruised reed, but I will hold you so gently that you will not break. You are just a faintly smoldering wick, but in my hands your flame will not go out. Trust me. Remember me. Keep looking for me and you will find me even in the storm.
And when you come out of the storm and can breathe again, remember me then, too. Do not be fooled into thinking that now you can figure everything out on your own. You need me. Your only hope is found in me. If you fail to acknowledge me in times of peace, then I may allow more storms to come your way to force you to look up at me. Remember from where your good gifts come, and let gratitude flow from your heart. Use your time of peace to serve me, to love others, to comb through my word to know me more. Rejoice and give thanks for what I have done in your life and in your heart, and tell those who need to hear.
And remember that my love for you will never fade. Even on the days you forget.