Seen By God

God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and mountains fall into the ocean depths; even if the seas roar and rage, and the hills are shaken by the violence. There is a river that brings joy to the city of God, to the sacred house of the Most High. God is in that city, and it will never be destroyed; at early dawn, He will come to its aid.
Psalm 46:1-5 (GNT)

The phone rang. The news came. The unthinkable, except you have thought about it. It’s why you whisper prayers at night when your children are on the road. You do think about the possibility of the unexpected, but you just cling to the hope that it will not be your unexpected news. You do not want it to be anyone’s unexpected news, and yet you don’t live in a bubble, so you know that the reality is, some will die young.

On October 24, 2018, we received the heart-wrenching news that our son, Ryan, 22 years young, was struck by a truck while working roadside for his job. One day later, we stood beside his hospital bed, holding his hand tenderly because almost every bone was broken, and it was difficult to find a place we could hold without fear of hurting him. But the reality of it was that the pain of the world was losing its grip as the hope of heaven was tightening His. We didn’t expect that we would have to kiss our son’s cheek and say goodbye, but we did.

The unexpected can knock you over, taking the breath right out of you. One moment you are breathing effortlessly, and the next moment you aren’t sure how you will breathe at all, but you do. Because the reality is, you were not responsible for the breath you made without effort any more than the ones that felt impossible after deep hurt.

Our unforeseen is seen by God.

I admit that it is beyond hard to understand how El Roi, the God who sees, knows our unexpected and still allows it to occur. Trust me when I say my husband and I have wrestled with that one. Thankfully, God understands our wrestling and meets us during it when we need Him most.

In the unexpected, I found a deeper connection with the Creator.

In the sudden and hard, I heard His Word in the dark of night. Years of scripture stored in my heart soothed my soul. His voice reminding me that His Son, Jesus, had gone before Ryan to prepare a place for him (John 14:2).

In the unforeseen, I had to cling to that which I could not see.

Because that is faith and that is where hope is found. And I did not want to lose hope.

Six days after we watched Ryan’s last earthly breaths, all that you never expect to experience became too innumerable to count. Arguing with authorities about autopsies, hearing from strangers who spent more time with your child in the last week of his life than you did, looking loved ones in the eye and helping them understand this was real, planning your first child’s funeral while your second child does her best to be strong so her parents don’t crumble. I thought at some point we would wake from the nightmare, but you don’t.

However, what I now know is that if you are determined to cling to hope, Hope will shelter you. Hope will carry you. Hope will when you aren’t able.

The end of yourself opens the opportunity for the beginning of something incredible—deep dependence on God. Click To Tweet

I wouldn’t choose this road for myself, my husband, my daughter, or anyone else. But while I ache, I also rejoice. Each day we have a choice. We can allow the unexpected to suck the life from us, or we can choose a road that leads to living abundantly. A road filled with strength, joy, peace, and hope.

A friend recently shared this in a Voxer message, and it will not leave my memory because it is what I long for others to have in their life. She said, “I keep thinking of my friend Jodie, the joy warrior. How she is constantly going to the Word, not to find the silver lining because that would make it too lighthearted, but to say, what is the truth?”

She continued sharing these powerful truths:

  • We know our Redeemer lives. (Job 19:25)
  • His banner over us is love. (Song of Solomon 2:4)
  • Whatever the battles we are all fighting and facing, He is the one holding the banner high before us and we just follow His lead. (Luke 9:23)
  • We don’t grieve as those without hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
The unexpected comes, doesn’t it, sister?

But there in that place of hard and heavy, the truth remains the truth. We can cling to it. We can bank on it. When we don’t understand, because I still don’t entirely, we can find peace in it.

Your hard and unexpected likely looks different and the same. Right now, as a nation, we are walking things described as unprecedented and at the same time, you are carrying burdens of your own. So, what do we do?

We cling to God. Our Father. Our Creator. El Roi. All-knowing and all-powerful. Most High.

We dwell in His word, eating it for nourishment because it will carry us through the darkest, most difficult times and when we seek the truth, we have hope. We know heaven awaits. We know that God is working things together, even the surprising, for the good of those who love Him.

Reflection Questions

What truth have you found reassuring during “the unexpected?”

Have you been able to share that truth with others? If not, ask God to show you a way to share that reassurance with others.

Prayer

Father, thank You for being our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. While we may feel unseen, we can trust You to see us and be with us. Be our strength, our hope, our peace, and our comfort. As we seek You in Your Word, soothe our hearts. Amen

11 thoughts on “Seen By God

Faye Lynch

To be totally transparent here, through this pandemic time I have felt the attacks by the enemy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. BUT GOD, lead me to the psalms and as I have studied His Word and tried to share it daily for the encouragement of others. Through this time, He has strengthened me, taught me, drawn me closer to Him, and increased my faith. I have sheltered very close to home, with the help of my children that pick up for me or I order, because I help to keep 2 precious grandson’s during the week. I pray for all my grown children as they are all working and have to face the demands and risks with their jobs daily. I’m helping one grandson with online learning for 4th grade and praying for 3 others that may be attending school a few days a week and the rest online. There are many unknowns, but as you would say Jodie, many things about tomorrow I may not seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand!

Reply

    Jodie

    Transparent is good, so thank you so much for that, Faye. Your courage never goes unnoticed. Your strong faith and resolve to be there for others is encouraging. You made me smile with those last words- “I know who holds my my hand.” I once gave a talk about God’s hand in ours. If I am transparent, I am not sure it was understood for the depth that it really had. Love you friend!

    Reply

      Esther Pannebaker

      Thanks for sharing your story of heartbreak and the goodness of God that has carried you through the deepest of waters. Your message of hope in the darkest hour, sheds light on our oaths – that we too can keep breathing , walking, and trusting. I still can’t fathom the staggering loss and grief, but know that your rejoicing will be for eternity-dancing with your sweet Ryan. Love you Jodi!

      Reply

      Esther Pannebaker

      Thanks for sharing your story of heartbreak and the goodness of God that has carried you through the deepest of waters. Your message of hope in the darkest hour, sheds light on our paths – that we too can keep breathing , walking, and trusting. I still can’t fathom the staggering loss and grief, but know that your rejoicing will be for eternity-dancing with your sweet Ryan. Love you JodiE!

      Reply

        Jodie

        Esther, you made me smile with your repost and adding the “E.” Sisters take the time, don’t they? Thank you for taking the time to share a comment and as always, for being a friend that shares joy and pain with others. “Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15

        Reply

Mitzi

Jodie,
Thank you for sharing your story about Ryan and the heartbreak of living through the grief and pain. While the depth of your pain is unimaginable, I pray your words about Jesus going ahead of Ryan to prepare a place for him brings you some much needed comfort and solace. You’ve said to me on many occasions that joy and pain collide; indeed they do, but it is only through Christ that we manage to find our way. Thank you for your faithfulness, for your ability to trust deeply, and for the joy you radiate to others–all are a living testimony to the goodness of God.

Reply

    Jodie

    His words about our prepared place bring me the greatest comfort, Mitzi. Until such time He calls me there, may we rejoice and be glad! Love you!

    Reply

Cindy Wilkins

To be honest, I hesitated before beginning to read this post because I knew there would be immense heartache and pain within the words. The reality of great suffering is brought close when someone you care about is experiencing it. But, my hesitation only lasted for a moment because I also knew that your message would be one of the joy found in God, and I was right. Your words are balm to those fears that always lie on the fringes of my heart and mind. You are more inspiring and encouraging than I think you know and your willingness to share your darkest time and still show us The Light has a profound effect on me and all who hear your testimony. YOU are a blessing!

Reply

    Jodie

    Thank you for being honest. I always want to meet someone where they are and you help me to remember how important it is to consider where I am meeting the reader. Oh, may my joy always shine above, around, and over my pain. Jesus makes a way even in the darkest times. Love you, Cindy!

    Reply

Michele O’Leary

Jodie, I read your words of faith, your words of hope, your words of joy amid grief. There are so many things I grabbed from this post; however, the thing that I am reminded the most is: studying God’s Word to know God intimately. You are joy, Jodie. Thank you for your faithfulness. I love you.

Reply

    Jodie

    Michele, so much changed after Ryan went to heaven including the way I pray and read His word. For many months I just needed to remember all there was know about my Creator and His goodness. His word is our nourishment—enriching every day.

    Reply

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