A Mother’s Struggle to Trust

Not again.

Clutching my Bible and prayer journal, I retreated to my favorite chair, eager to spend some time with the Lord. Well, that’s what I told myself anyway. I really just wanted to feel better.

Here I am, Lord. I scratched the words on the page, searching for where to begin. Worship filtered through my headphones, the uplifting beat of the melody marking a stark contrast to my mood. My mind tuned to the lyrics, “All we need is You.”

Instantly, conviction pierced my heart with the unsettling knowledge that I didn’t agree—at least not that day. That day I needed more than Jesus. I needed Him to fix things.

Guilt compelled me to confess. I’m sorry, Lord. I want you to be enough, but this is too much . . .

A jagged scar from an old wound had just been torn open. The familiar longing for acceptance tugged at my heart, crying out for satisfaction. Rejection had found me again. But this time, it had come for my son.

That changes things. I can handle the battle when I’m at the heart of it. I’ve learned to trust God’s plans for me even when I can’t make sense of them. He’s proven Himself faithful over and over again.

But this felt altogether different. This wasn’t about me. This time my child’s heart had been shattered, and I desperately wanted to fix it. I can’t be expected to idly watch one of my precious ones suffer.

My heart rebelled at the injustice of it. Anger mingled with the pain, begging retaliation. This wasn’t fair. He deserved better.

God should do something.

Soon His gentle Spirit stirred within my heart, lifting the veil so I could see. Realization dawned, penetrating my grief with this undeniable truth: God knew. He understood rejection. He understood the pain of seeing His Son cast aside—of wanting the world to recognize His great value, yet seeing it deny Him.

“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” John 1:11, ESV

In that moment, I knew His suffering. I felt His pain. How the Father must have wept when they rejected Jesus. How He still must weep as we repeatedly devalue His only begotten Son . . . the Son He loves . . . the Son He gave.

Hope flickered through my sorrow, God’s own understanding of my feelings encouraging me to press in close. I asked Him to speak to me, to help me trust Him with my own son’s fragile heart. I needed Him to help me believe what I knew His Word declared: that His plans for him are far greater than my own.

True to who He is, God answered. Once again, His Spirit stirred, reminding me of truth. God never allows suffering for its own sake. Suffering, according to Scripture, marks the path to glory.

“But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13, NIV

Then I knew. God had glory to reveal in my son’s life.

This pain would pass, and God would somehow bring good through it. It wasn’t what I would choose for him, but the God who created Him and wrote his story knew what I couldn’t. For whatever reason, my son needed to walk through this. His despair would not be in vain. Through it God would reveal Himself.

I sat in the stillness, pen in hand, and listened, inviting the God who speaks to do so again. Soon His quiet whisper stirred within me, and I found my hand moving once more across the page.

He is mine, beloved, just as you are mine. I AM greater than his pain . . . than your pain. You will soon see.

A promise.

Tears fell in response, my heart hopeful. God always keeps His Word.

I thought of Abraham and how he must have felt as he placed his son, Isaac, upon that altar. I imagine he did it with trembling hands and a breaking heart. But place him there, he did. And Isaac received the blessing that came through his father’s promise.

God had spoken blessings over my son as well, and I had a choice to make. I could retreat into my anger and justify my sorrow. Or, I could trust God to keep His Word in my son’s life. I could fight to change things and try to manipulate his circumstances so I’d like the look of them better, or I could choose to believe the God who speaks and entrust my son to Him with open hands.

I decided I wouldn’t withhold him from the God who loves him even more than I do . . . and then it came. I experienced Jesus’ promise from John 14:27,

 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” ESV

The wonder of it always astounds me. I can’t explain the how of it. I simply revel in the miracle of it. But when I run toward Jesus in my confusion instead of from Him—and I listen—I find peace.

It happens the moment I resolve in my heart to believe.

Lifting the Veil

“When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” John 16:8

We have no idea how very desperately we need a Savior. And that, dear one, is precisely why He came.

One of my friends used to have a saying, “I just want to be in the happy place.” It was her way of expressing, “I’d rather not deal with this right now.” When difficulty would come, it was easier to just pretend everything was fine and get on with being happy. At times the illusion seemed far more inviting than her reality.

All of us can relate on some level. We often want to run from uncomfortable truths, and many of us do. But don’t we at least deserve the right to choose?

The enemy of our souls doesn’t think so. And because of that, the vast majority of people spend their lives embracing an illusion instead of facing the reality of their dire circumstance. Unfortunately for them, they don’t know any better. They’ve been deceived.

Have you ever wondered at Jesus’ teaching in John 6:44?

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Scripture states that we are unable to come to Jesus unless the Father has drawn us to Him. This means we can only find Jesus and attain salvation in response to the invitation of God. We will not simply stumble upon the truth or decide we need redemption. God must pursue us, reveal truth to us, and then empower us to receive it. Consider Jesus’ words from John 6:65,

“ . . . no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

Why would God need to enable us to come to Jesus?

The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 4:4. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

People are incapable of seeing the truth of the Gospel on their own. They won’t seek salvation because they can’t understand that they need it. No wonder Jesus could cry out on the cross on behalf of His accusers, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). They couldn’t know. Their minds were held captive by the deceiver. Praise God that Jesus bled and died to set captives free!

We cannot free ourselves from the deception, and we can’t free anyone else. We’ll never talk someone into faith in Jesus without a work of grace produced in his or her heart by the Spirit of Truth. He alone enables us to see and understand. He alone has the power to lift the veil on the enemy’s deceptions, and one of His primary tasks is convincing us of our “guilt in regard to sin” (John 16:8).

I remember the day He convinced me. I had grown up in church my whole life. As a child, I had followed someone through the sinner’s prayer and asked Jesus to be my Savior. It seemed the logical thing to do because everyone else around me had done it. And I certainly didn’t want to go to hell if it existed.

So for years, I went through the motions of going to church and trying to be a good person. Then I had my first son and something began to tug incessantly at my heart. I reasoned that I should probably try to become “more spiritual” for his sake, so I joined a Bible study and set about doing my lessons.

I wasn’t looking for it when it happened. I was simply trying to finish my homework so no one would see the blanks in my book when we met the next time. But God had plans for this lost and wandering sheep. Four words stared back at me from the page seeking response: Do you love Jesus?

The question should’ve been easy to answer, and I tried to. But my hand began to tremble as a fresh revelation dawned on me. The Spirit of Truth invaded my thoughts and allowed me to see what He saw. I didn’t love Him.

I had thought I did. I’m sure I’d said it a hundred times in my twenty-six years, because I knew it was the right answer. But this time, the Spirit lifted the veil so I could see the truth about myself, and I realized I had been a pretender, living a lie. I couldn’t love Jesus because I didn’t even know Him. But I realized something else that day that was even more important: I wanted to. And so, undone by the Holy Spirit in my living room, I confessed my sin, exited the kingdom of darkness and gave my life to Jesus. I have never been the same.

Have you had your encounter with the Holy Spirit, dear one? Does your Christianity bear the marks of religious chains, or a transforming work of grace?

If you’re not certain, ask the Lord of Glory to reveal Himself to you. He will never withhold Himself from a seeking heart. In fact, He’s the One stirring you to seek Him. And when you do, He promises,

“I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:14

He will lift the veil for you to see, piercing darkness with glory and disclosing your truth. And then, you have a choice to make. Will you step into the light and head toward Jesus? Or will you prefer to remain in the darkness (John 3:19-20)?

Through His work on the cross and the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has restored your right to choose, but ultimately the decision rests with you. Choose life, beloved, and experience the promise of 2 Corinthians 3:17:

“ . . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom .”