Where was God in your hardest times?

But God rescues the poor from trouble

Psalm 107:41-43 But God rescues the poor from trouble . . . The godly will see these things and be glad. . . . Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.

Every one of us has been “poor” in some way during our lives: lacking something important that we need. Whether our needs fall in the most basic of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or further up the pyramid, they create trouble and distress in our bodies, minds, souls, and spirits.

I believe God is present with us in these circumstances, caring for us in ways we may not be aware of in the moment of our anguish. And I believe significant healing can come from being able to see where God was in those anxious times. Not only did he not abandon us (although important people in our lives may indeed have done so) but he acted proactively on our behalf.

My own story is chock full of evidence to support this premise. I wrote about some of them in my memoir about my daughter, Karis: All I See Is Grace. But God has graciously let me see him present and at work in my life from my earliest memories: growing up in a violent and abusive home, boarding school, living as a “foster child” with a family in another country for high school, feeling forced into engagement for two years to an emotionally disturbed man, the challenges of my marriage to Dave, moving to Brazil with a chronically ill child, and so much more.

My PTSD after Karis’s death was not “just” about her death. It was about a long history of traumas I had never dealt with. Because of shame. Because of fear. Because I didn’t feel worthy of the kind of attention and support I needed in order to heal. Because I had been taught a super-spiritual kind of Gospel in which if I truly had faith, I wouldn’t be in emotional trouble.

I might have continued to struggle with the horrors of PTSD for much longer had God not spoken to a woman I hardly knew, telling her I had PTSD and needed help. She showed up at my house to tell me what God had told her and offered financial assistance so I could get the help I needed. How amazing is that? At a time when I felt God had abandoned me, he made it crystal clear that if I couldn’t hear the words of compassion he was whispering to me, he would speak to me through another of his children, able at that time to hear him and take action on my behalf.

Once I started viewing my story through this lens, I began to see him everywhere. I began to experience his love, not just know about it theoretically. I began to heal. I longed to share this way of seeing with others, first through the Karis book as she helped me see God present in her story. It’s the impetus behind the novels I’m writing. I pray those who read them will catch this vision and see God’s faithful love in their own stories.

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