For When You Don’t Understand

In a fallen world like ours, it’s easy to trip over yourself and find yourself in the midst of confusion from time to time.

Noe’l Matthews

I feel relieved whenever I’m talking with a pal and they remind me that they often are confused and don’t understand God’s plan for their lives.

I’m blessed to have gotten to know my friend Noe’l Matthews throughout my time here in Kent.

Not too long ago, the both of us sat down in an empty Starbucks and had a conversation about life and how sometimes we just don’t understand what God is doing, and why that is an okay place to be in.

Noe’l is a sophomore at Kent State studying exercise science with a concentration in pre-physical therapy. As college began to pick up, Noe’l began to get sick and eventually went to see a doctor with the hope that they would find the problem and fix it—for Noe’l that wasn’t the case, and in May she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.

Managing a disease like Crohn’s is difficult, and she struggled to find a medication that didn’t have overwhelming side effects that would affect her life more than the disease already had.

Noe’l explained to me that she never asked God “why” because she understands that we, as people, have our “things” that we go through, and her thing is Crohn’s.

It can get challenging as people always say that there could be healing, and while she doesn’t deny that there could be healing in this lifetime, Noe’l wonders what to do right now, before the healing?

There were a lot of things that she said that really stuck with me after we talked, one of which was simply understanding that there will be healing in Heaven and God might not heal it while we’re on Earth.

John 9 tells the story of a man who was born blind and is ultimately healed by Jesus. In the story, the disciples ask Jesus if the man was born blind because of the sins of his parents. In response to this, Jesus says that the man was born blind so that the glory of God might be revealed through him.

Noe’l brought up this story as we talked to explain how she realized God wasn’t punishing her, but it was just simply what she was going through. She mentioned a conversation that she had with a sister in Christ, Ary, who said that sometimes God lets us go through things so that He can become more real to us.

It’s been a long time since she has felt good, but she believes that God is still good either way. She recognizes that, yes, her immune system sucks at being an immune system, but her organs still work, and she’s blessed to have even had access to a doctor to find out about the Crohn’s in the first place.

A song that has been comforting for her is “God is Good” by Jonathan McReynolds; specifically the lyrics:

“May your struggles keep you near the cross
And may your troubles show that you need God
And may your battles end the way they should
And may your bad days prove that God is good
And may your whole life prove that God is good” 

She feels like God has allowed her to go through what she’s going through to bring her closer to Him, and sometimes that’s just how it is when we’re struggling.

She explained to me moments in her life where she was straying away from Him, and how the enemy used her relationship with her Earthly father to make her bitter toward her Heavenly Father. She realized she couldn’t even call God “Father” without feelings of bitterness.

She felt like she was pulling back on God before He could pull back on her.

She realized God missed her when she was straying away.

It’s been cool for her to realize that God isn’t like a man; He’s not going to be sometimes here and sometimes not here; He’s consistent and persistent, relentless in His pursuit of our hearts

God doesn’t give up on us, and He separates us from who we are and from our sin.

Some Bible verses that have been helpful for her:

Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 32:17, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.”

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Sometimes in life, we don’t understand what’s going on, or what God is doing in the midst of our struggles, but there are some things that we can remember for when we don’t understand:

1. God is Good all the time.

This is true; God is capital G good all of the time. There’s no explanation needed; whenever we’re struggling and confused, asking God “why” we need to remember that God is Good. And when we look at our problems through the lens of God’s Goodness, we see our problems differently.

2. He doesn’t change.

God doesn’t change; He remains the same through every year, through every struggle and trial. If there’s anything that we can rely on more than anything, it’s God’s consistency.

3. It’s a process.

Whatever you’re having trouble understanding God in, remember that it’s a process. You’re never gonna feel like you have it all together. Remember that God still chose you. You are special to Him.

4. He LOVES the heck outta ya.

Nothing is ever gonna separate you from God. Remember Romans 8:35-39.

5. Most importantly, recognize that what you think being “okay” looks like, might not be what it actually looks like. Adjust your expectations, and trust that God does not have plans to harm you.

It’s okay to have questions, friend. It’s okay to not understand—none of us have it all together anyway.

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