This post is written by Jenny Thompson.
I had the privilege of hearing Jenny speak, this week, at the AWARE 20th Celebration Conference and I’m delighted she has agreed to share some of her thoughts in this post…
God’s grace when we don’t see it
“Over the last few days, I have had the privilege of being in contact with a couple of people who have talked to me about times when they have been under extreme pressure through ill-health or extraordinarily difficult circumstances, and how at these times God has seemed far away. Both knew with conviction that they belonged to him, but at that time, the knowledge seemed more academic than comforting.
I am reminded of feeling the same myself during my brief struggle with Postnatal Depression. It is amazing how alone and forgotten you can feel even while knowing you belong to the God of the impossible. This feeling is not part of God’s plan, of that I am sure. When we are His children, He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). And yet we feel that way, simply because we are human, and all too often the human nature shouts louder than the still small voice of the Christian nature.
On the cross, Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) Of course, in this instance I believe God the Father had separated Himself from God the Son – Jesus died to take the punishment for our sin, and that punishment was separation from God.
It has often been said that Jesus understands everything – absolutely everything – we experience. The wonder of serving a God who is fully divine and yet fully human. Jesus has felt that sense of abandonment. Jesus understands what we are feeling at those times. And God does not get impatient with us for feeling that. God is not disappointed. He hurts for us for sure. He longs to take us in his arms, but He doesn’t push in. He never pushes in.
It was when I started swimming back to the surface, out of my depression, that I met God again. As always, He had been right there, waiting for me to turn around and see Him. The relief of having my God there, knowing exactly what I was feeling, when I wouldn’t have had the energy or words to Him, was enormous.
As I think about this, I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” As God’s child, I know that God’s grace at those times helps me know that I am His, my soul belongs to Him, no matter what. As I look back I see that in my utter weakness, God kept me, and when I was ready to see Him again, He was there to take my hand in His and lead me on, with a fuller understanding of life, of myself, and of Him. I am ever thankful that God’s grace is not dependant on me deserving it, or even being aware of it! And I am thankful (though never at the time!) for hard times, when I am weak, because those are the times when God’s grace is perfect, and the times through which God teaches me the greatest lessons I have ever learnt.”
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