I love music. Music speaks to me in a special way. As the seasons of my life change from one thing to another, I generally have a special song or two that I keep going back to, or maybe just a phrase from a song. I’ve gone through quite a few of them in the past three or four years, but there’s one phrase that keeps coming back to me again and again, no matter what’s going on at the time.
“I may not see in front of me
But I can see for miles when I look over my shoulder
And Lord it’s clear, You’ve brought me here
So faithful every step of the way”
~I am Found in You, by Steven Curtis Chapman
That pretty much sums up the story of my life. In the past several years there have been a lot of things that I could not understand at the time. Yet looking back now, I can see God’s hand in everything. I can see His hand in the drought during 2011 and 2012 that I struggled to understand. I can see His hand in my great-grandmother and a dear neighbor going home to be with Him. I can see His hand in Noelle’s wreck and all the chaos that followed in its wake. I can see His hand in all the health problems I’ve had over the years. I can see His hand in multiple mistakes and things that, at the time, I never would have believed He could use for good. I was (and still am) ridiculously short-sighted when it comes to stuff that’s going on around me. Yet when I look over my shoulder at where God’s taken me, I wouldn’t trade all the difficult things for anything. Because He really did and does use them, and I would not be anywhere near where I am had they not happened.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28
It’s one thing to know that in your head, but it’s another thing to be able to look back and see it in your own life. I believe Paul knew this from experience, and I know without a doubt from my own experiences that it is true. When I look back on how much God has changed me in the last several years, it takes my breath away. When I remember to look back on His past faithfulness, I have no trouble trusting Him for the future. He hasn’t ever forsaken me, even if I couldn’t see that at the time. And I know that if He was with me during all the hard things I have been through, I know without a doubt that He will always be with me no matter what lies ahead.
Knowing that gives me such freedom. I don’t have to know what lies ahead. (Hey, I don’t even know for sure what I’m going to be doing this summer!) I don’t have to know if my health problems or loneliness/minor depression will ever totally go away in this life, because I remember how He’s used them to shape me in the past, and I know that even if I face them for the rest of my life He will stick by my side and teach me through them. So then, I don’t have to be worried about the future, because even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death itself, He will always be with me.