I love when God speaks to you so clearly through circumstances. If you come across a passage of Scripture once in a day you might read it and then move on. When it appears three times, separately, in three different books/blogs, you pay attention.
Today I was finishing up “Amazed and Confused” by Heather Zempel and began reading “Praying God’s Word” by Beth Moore. In addition to those two books, I read an excellent post by my friend Judy about rejoicing in God no matter what comes our way.
All three of these resources referenced and spoke about the SAME passage of Scripture.
What was the common passage?
Habakkuk 3:17-19 is not a new passage to me. It’s one I considered many times throughout our journey with Tori because it absolutely applied to our situation.
Habakkuk is stating that no matter what happens, no matter how hard things become, he would rejoice in the Lord and be joyful.
Heather Zempel’s commentary on this book of the Bible – and on this passage, specifically – is excellent. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
“God is still good, sovereign, and faithful, despite the circumstances we see around us, and is therefore worthy to be praised.” (pg. 153)
“We learned that faith was not about conjuring an idea in our heads and finding ways to fuel it; faith was recognizing that God always had something better in mind than what we could see in the present circumstances. We understood that perspective might not change the facts of our reality, but they certainly changed our perception of reality.” (pg. 156)
Through it all, we trusted (and continue to trust) the God who made us all, who sent His Son because He loves us lavishly, and the One who knows what the future holds.
“What’s the difference between people who face the unknown and see fear and those who see opportunity? What makes a person look at a dead-end and see open-ended possibilities? Story. The story we have been told will set the stage for what we expect in the next chapter and will inform us of the role we play.” (pg. 157)
“When Habakkuk came to a place where God’s actions collided with his expectations, he found the only hopeful response was worship that was rooted in an unshakable and undeniable awareness of God’s character, ways, and works.” (pg. 160)
“As we see God more, we are able to praise Him more. We more clearly recognize and acknowledge the hand of God at work in our lives, and the practice becomes an act of worship and a hymnal for worship in days to come.” (pg. 164)
“Habakkuk is not just comforting himself by playing with ideas; he is speaking of the things that God has actually done. The Christian faith is solidly based upon facts, not ideas. And if the facts recorded in the Bible are not true, then I have no hope or comfort. For we are not saved by ideas; but by facts, by events.” – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (quoted on pg. 169)
“This brand of faith knows God can…believes He will…but worships even if He doesn’t.” (pg. 177)
“We can frame the character of God according to our circumstances, or we can frame our circumstances according to what we know of the character of God. We can let our circumstances inform what we know to be true of God or we can let what we know to be true about God inform our circumstances. As Warren Wiersbe said, “God doesn’t always chance the circumstances, but He can change us to meet the circumstances. That’s what it means to live by faith.”‘ (pg. 178-9)
God continually reminded the Israelites of the importance of remembering all that He had done for them, and yet they continued to forget. When they weren’t studying His word and their history, they lost sight of God’s goodness and plan and they strayed from His will.
As we said at the beginning of our journey, God has never been unfaithful to us, so why would He be unfaithful now? Because we have reminded ourselves for years of His wonderful works since the beginning of time and of those in our own lives, trusting Him with Tori came fairly easily.
“He works things together for His purpose and not our expectations.” (pg. 184)
“Whether He delivers from, delivers through, or delivers later, we know that He is always present.” (pg. 186)
‘His faith was not rooted in what he could see but in what he could not see in the moment. He anchored into the brand of faith that the author of Hebrews described: “Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen” (Hebrews 11:1).’ (pg. 186)
Oh yeah, and Hebrews 11:1 (quoted above) was also the verse of the day on WordFM today so I heard it many times throughout my day.
“Sovereignty means that God is in charge. Eternally in charge. We need God to redefine our suffering against the background of eternity because eternity puts things into perspective.” (pg. 188)
When things don’t go as we had planned, do we run from God or run TO God? Why is it so easy for us to discard our faith just because things get tough? Why don’t we trust His proven faithfulness to be present in our own lives?
“I refuse to let what I don’t know keep me from worshiping what I do know.”
(I know it seems like I just quoted the entire book but I promise there is so much more wisdom to be gleaned – you should read it!)
This final quote is a great summary of our perspective on Tori’s short life.
We KNOW that there is ONE true God. We know that God is sovereign, that He is good and loving and gracious. We KNOW that there is a Heaven waiting for those who believe in Jesus and that this life is only the beginning. We are certain of these things!
We DON’T know why God chose us to be Tori’s parents, why He chose her to have Krabbe, and why He didn’t choose to heal her on earth so that she could grow up under our care. We don’t know what the future holds for us in regards to having more children. We don’t know. But, as the quote above says, we aren’t going to let these few unknowns keep us from serving and praising the One who does know!
We know that He has a plan for us and that Tori is waiting for us in Heaven. Whether or not God chooses to reveal to us His thoughts on this situation here or if we will find out in Heaven, it is still well with our souls.
Our faith isn’t blind, and it isn’t a band-aid. Our faith is the frame through which we view this entire life and it’s the source of our joy and our peace, and it’s the reason why we continue to praise God and choose joy “even though” we lost our only child.
After all, our loss doesn’t change God’s character or His purposes for us. He is STILL good.