Faith for the Good Times


_ After 10 years, 7 months, and 3 days of marriage, my husband and I are officially looking for our first house. That 10 years, 7 months, and 3 days has included multiple job changes, seven household moves (both interstate and international), and a variety of living situations--everything from rentals, to living in other people’s furnished homes, to a parsonage. But now, after 10 years, 7 months, and 3 days, for the first time in our married life, we are actually on the verge of settling in and putting down roots.

As you can imagine, it’s a high point for us as a family. And it comes with a great job in my husband’s field and a move to a fantastic region that really does offer “all the amenities of city life combined with the tranquility of a mountain arts community.” I’ve also had some unexpected opportunities open up for me personally, and our children are a constant source of laughter, love, and joy. Life is good.

And I’m having a hard time with it.

Something complicated happens when you go through a difficult season like we have for the last several years. In our case, it was an extended period of un- and under-employment, complicated by devastating interpersonal conflicts and private uncertainties. Things were so topsy-turvy at times that we wondered if the world would ever right itself. Thankfully it has and slowly we’re coming out of it. But even as we do, I’m realizing that regaining our bearings isn’t going to be as simple as getting the dream job and finally settling down. It can’t be, because our circumstances weren’t the only things affected in that difficult time. Our souls were too.

I think it’s simply that when you go through hard times, you become so accustomed to being strong, to protecting the ones you love, to being on guard, that it’s easy to see everything as a threat--even the blessing of God. So much so, that when the drought finally ends, when the rains finally come, your soul has become so dry and dusty that the healing water can’t penetrate. Instead, with each drop, with each shower, you find yourself asking, Can I really embrace this from Your hand? Can I really let down my guard and feel again? Can I really trust You?

And you discover that embracing the goodness of God requires as much faith as enduring the time of suffering.

You find that you must actually learn how to bless the Lord as He gives as much as when He takes away; you find that you must learn how to be content in abounding as much as in being abased. And like everything else in this crazy life, you learn that it takes faith. Faith to believe He is good so that you won’t fear His blessings, always waiting for the catch. Faith to believe He is sovereign so you won’t rely on yourself, convinced that you made the rains come. And faith to believe that He loves you, so that you won’t keep protecting yourself, always defensive and aloof.

Ultimately it is faith--that when the blessings finally come—allows you to accept them with an open hand and simply say, “Thank you for this gift! I love it.”