Posted in Anna Wood, To trust in God

The marriage of joy and sorrow: a personal story



Tonight as I head to bed, my heart is heavy. Our family is facing so many difficulties. Hard times brought on by circumstances beyond my control seek to overwhelm us. Hard times that I have had nothing to do with but that I am paying the price for nonetheless. As are my children. The rent has come due, and passed, and come due again, and there’s no way to pay it. No way to prepare for Winter–clothes that were carefully packed away were rained on. I didn’t know the roof to the storage shed leaked. When I discovered it did, it was too late. Our Winter clothing–gone, given over to mildew. No way to fix those things that so need to be repaired–the dryer, the van, the stove, the fridge all are showing their age at such an inopportune time. Sometimes the van simply doesn’t work at all. There’s nothing I can do to repair them, no way to do much of anything, to pay for much of anything–and there’s so many needs.

And Christmas. Oh, Christmas. I just don’t want to think about it. What should be joyful is instead overwhelming.

My little son came to me the other day wanting to talk. He’d overheard his father talking to me about our finances, heard him saying things a child shouldn’t know. He wanted to know if we’d ever be so poor that we’d have to live on the street. “Mama, I don’t want to live on the street.” My heart broke. I assured him that God would take care of us, that that wasn’t going to happen. But, fear rises up because we’re so far behind….

My story is a melding of twin realities, the marriage of the joy of trusting in the Lord and the sorrows that seek to overwhelm us. The burden of seemingly endless struggles and trials mix and mingle with the trust that nothing will happen to us that God cannot handle. Jesus is the beginning and the end of my story. If He weren’t, I couldn’t hold on.

Sometimes, I just beg Him to help me to know what to do, to have the wisdom to just get through the day. Even though I know better, sometimes I foolishly worry that something might somehow interrupt God’s plans. That, despite all of my promises to my child, things might indeed somehow fall apart.

Then I shudder at how weak, how small, my faith is.

Our God is a God who isn’t limited by time or space. He’s a God outside of those things, outside of normal limitations because He’s the One who created everything–including what is ultimately somehow “limiting” me and my circumstances. But how to believe it? So much has gone wrong for so very long. So many unexpected expenses, so much family pain, so many sorrows–the financial has been, in many ways, the least of it. So this is where we end up, struggling, hurting, doing our best to stay one step ahead of utter brokenness. The utilities are so high and are past due, the rent remains unpaid, the the landlord could show up any day asking us to leave, and we’d have no choice but to do so. And no place to go, no one to turn to. And with all of that, we’re still struggling just to get through one more day.

What do I make of this, God? How do I trust when there’s no place to turn for relief?

No one to run to…but You. And You’re enough. 

God is always enough

God’s faithfulness is ultimately the end of my story even when there is no end in sight. Somehow God is going to help us, somehow something somewhere will turn and things will work out. I believe that…most of the time. But what if He doesn’t? If He doesn’t, there’s a reason and I can still trust Him. Even if things fail, He never does. Even if sorrows multiply, so will His faithfulness.

As this long night goes forward for me, I remember the story of Elijah running from Ahab and Jezebel. He was spent, worn out, exhausted. Fearful and consumed with “what if”, he was ready to give up and die. God didn’t scold him. He didn’t correct his theology. No, He remembered that Elijah was dust, a man exhausted from his struggles. A man needing to rest. So God let him. Elijah slept and, when he awoke, God fed him. God took care of his physical needs first–then he prepared him to go forward. This wasn’t the first time–or the second–that God had made a point to provide for His prophet. The first time God used ravens to feed him (1 Kings 17: 2-6). The second time, God used a widow woman’s oil and flour, which God kept from running out, to feed not only Elijah but the woman and her son (1 Kings 17: 8-16). This time God sends an angel to feed him and give him water (1 Kings 19: 1-9).

Elijah’s God is my God–One and the same. He’s unchangeable, and He’s good. And, in the deafening silence of our struggles, in the dark night hours when I feel so overwhelmed, so afraid, so alone, I remember that God cared for His prophet–not just spiritually but physically also–and I rest in Him.

Soli Deo gloria!


9 thoughts on “The marriage of joy and sorrow: a personal story

  1. Thank you for sharing your heart and most importantly your total dependence and faith in the Lord.
    It’s an exhausting to place to be in so we all must remember to pray for each other … for the Lord’s grace, mercy and strength. ((hugs))

    1. Yes, I have. My circumstances are somewhat unique. I’m married to a difficult man–read into that–and it’s not really something most churches understand or want to be involved with. Thanks anyway for the suggestion. Soli Deo gloria!

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