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God has great timing, don’t you think? One might even say, perfect timing?

It’s no coincidence in my opinion, that last week Ann says to us, “Okay, ladies! Let’s spend a few weeks thinking about love, especially in the hard places.” Wouldn’t you know, Ann’s invitation was God’s invitation. God beckons me with Lewis’s words “Come further up! Come further in!”, God’s invitation to draw close and know Him better.

Since that invitation, my week has filled up with shadows, from friends, and then other friends, and then from family. Thankfully, mercifully, the shadows aren’t my own, but because of my love for those who are suffering, the close proximity of my heart to theirs, part of their sorrow casts its shadow on my own heart.

The shadows are of the deep, heavy sort. Shadows of terminal illnesses, chronic pain, grave losses. Shadows that make a person want to rail at God at the unfairness of it all, to deny His Goodness, and to deny His Love.

Where is the love in a teenager with cancer?

Where is the love in a girl who needs medical care, living in a place where none is available?

Where is the love in a widow who can’t work?

These are the questions that keep me up at night recently. I wish I could find some answers and thus get some sleep. But the answers are slow in coming.

Recently, I’ve been mining a sermon series on Job. The pastor returns to this quote again and again

Where I cannot trace His hand, I will trust His heart

When I can’t understand what God is doing, I will trust in His goodness. When I doubt the goodness of what I’m given, I will trust the goodness of the Giver.

And so, while I search for answers and understanding, wait for an illuminated “ah-ha!” to happen, God keeps whispering to me, “Don’t try to understand, just trust Me.”  Trusting in His love and goodness is what brings me further up and further in.

I do not ask that He must prove His word is true to me,

And that before I can believe He first must let me see.

It is enough for me to know It’s true because He says it’s so;

On His unchanging Word I’ll stand and trust ’till I can understand.

E.M. Winter

Yes, God does give us hard times. He says Himself that He does. And yes, God is still love, because He says Himself that He is. I don’t understand how both can be true, and yet they are. It’s one of the mysteries of His character.

For a long time, a lifetime, I strive to understand this paradox, insist that if I can understand then I will be able to trust. But as he draws me further up and further in, He shows me that what I really need in this world of woundedness isn’t understanding, I need trust. When shadows come creeping, it’s not the understanding of the why that comforts, it’s the trusting of the Whom.

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