When we think about things that God entrusts us with, we almost always think of blessings. In the parable of the talents, we look at the fact that the man entrusted his servants with money (Matthew 25:14-30), and in our minds that translates to things. Physical things we can hold in our hands. But what about spiritual things? What about things we don’t think of as having a value, or a physical shape.
I have been going through a season of intense discouragement. These seasons come into my life, and usually they follow this pattern: physical health problems, logistical issues regarding residency, and financial issues. This season hasn’t been any different. After watching my husband struggle through another difficult flare up of his Ulcerative Colitis, we experienced visa difficulties, and then had our major church tell us they couldn’t afford to financially support us after May. At this point, I have watched as God provided solutions to the first two problems, at least for a time, but the third one is still open ended. If I’m being honest, having a church, the main church that sent you out, tell you that you are one of the missionaries they will no longer be supporting is painful. It feels like a break up. You know that they are continuing to support other missionaries, but for some reason, you were expendable. That is what it feels like. I’m not saying it is that way. We trust that God is leading this church and their choices are purposeful, but it still feels lousy knowing you didn’t make the cut. When this church first came into our lives as missionaries, it felt like they were adopting us. It is strange, but in a way this has felt like anti-adoption.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2
Lately, there has been an extreme temptation for me to indulge in self pity over this entire situation, but then I realized something… well, actually the Holy Spirit helped me to realize something. This is a disappointment that came into my life, but it wasn’t random. There was a specific reason that God allowed this to happen. God is entrusting us with a disappointment. Over many little disappointments and discouragements in life, I have seen that God has been there, and that when I was finally willing to pass over my burdens to Him, He was more than willing to carry them for me. In Romans 12:2 we see that by testing (and the renewal of our mind) that we may discern the will of God, to know what is good, acceptable, and perfect. At one point I was praying for help to fight against the temptation to become angry and bitter about this anti-adoption process, and this thought came into my head, “He has entrusted you with this disappointment, now do what you know you should do.” Maybe my husband and I are better able to deal with this discouragement than others were, and if that is the reason God allowed it, I’m glad. I know that there have been plenty of points in my life when I wouldn’t have been ready to deal righteously with a situation like this, and God’s grace was there for me. If going through this pain means that God’s grace is available to someone else who needs it more desperately than I do right this moment, then it is worth it. Or perhaps this is a time of testing from God, to prepare us for things we can’t anticipate later on down the road. Whatever future struggles that come as a result of these events, they will be worth the knowledge of knowing that God Himself has entrusted this disappointment to our family.