Just a few days ago, the Northeast was preparing for the worst snow they had experienced in quite some time. New York City and other areas preemptively shut down in anticipation of a blizzard that was expected to dump at least a foot of snow. The storm arrived and within a few hours of its furry, left a paltry 7 inches. Those who were excited for sledding and days off from school joined the chorus of anger towards the meteorological profession – “They hyped it up and got it wrong!” And sure, the graphics and music on the nightly news did play into the fears that the worst snowstorm in history was about to happen. But really, is the local weatherman at fault for the storm moving faster and dropping less snow? Isn’t their job to take the information and make the best guess they can? Could you imagine the anger that would have ensued had the same meteorologists said, “We have a few guesses as to how much snow may fall but we are not going to tell you until after the storm”?
You know what? We have a similar back and forth with God. We know that He has already shared that while we have breath we will have trouble in life (John 16:33), we will be hated when we stand for truth (John 15:18, Mark 13:13), and we will one day die (Ecclesiastes 3:2). Yet, when the trials come our way, we tell God we know this particular trial is not from Him because…in Jeremiah 29:11 it states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” But, one passage does not negate the truth of the other! I promise I have thought a lot about the truths in Jeremiah quite a bit the past few years. I can recall, several times, seated beside my wife, asking, “How is her sickness and her potential death in any way shape or form ‘hopeful’?” “How in the world, God, are you going to prosper my family when we have the cloud of a million dollar + bankruptcy hanging over our head?” But you see, there was certainty, in that uncertain forecast. In the promise to prosper and give a hope and a future there are two important items missing – a timeline and the manner in which His plans will be revealed.
I have to be honest with you. I still struggle with not seeing my wife’s death as “harming” me and others who loved her dearly. I know that God is not vengeful and that so much good has come from her story. Yet, when my daughter tells me she just wants to sit with her mother and cuddle, or I have those moments where I wish that I could just have one more hug or in-depth conversation, it really hurts. I can say that God has been and continues to prosper me. Now, I am by no means a wealthy man – monetarily speaking. I continue to deal with the financial fallout from her illness. But I KNOW that God will be with me throughout the process and that He will continue to provide for our needs. He has also given me a renewed sense of hope for the future. I know that I can miss Jaime but at the same time be excited about what God has in store for me for the remainder of time I have left. And I am very excited about the ways God is leading and directing in my life.
In thinking about the blizzard that “wasn’t,” I do believe that those who were angered had very misplaced frustrations. So much can change in a matter of moments. God has shared with us that there are going to be seasons in our life when we are crippled by a blast of wintry weather. Sometimes it’s going to be a full load of trials and other times just an annoying dusting that may cause us to temporarily veer off course. Regardless of what falls, those moments call upon us to dig deep, lean in, and trust Him to bring us through the trial. The current forecast is without question uncertain. The future forecast promises to be a prosperous, hopeful, future – count on it!