How to Trust God in the Midst of the Storm

This article was originally posted on September 24, 2012. This is a re-post because today I am going to be on the television talk show "Insight with Paul Arthur" on the Miracle Channel at 11am MST discussing this same topic. You can tune in and watch live online at www.miraclechannel.ca. September 23, 2007, five years ago this week, was the worst day of my life. It was a Sunday, and we had just finished church. I was unloading our church sound system into our home's garage (the privilege of being a church planter), while Joy-Lynn and the kids went into the house to begin the preparations for lunch. About 5 minutes later, Joy-Lynn came into the garage and I could tell by the look on her face that something was terribly wrong.

"It's your mom," she said quietly. "She's been taken to the hospice and the doctors said it will only be a couple of hours. We need to go now."

My mom had been fighting her second bout of breast cancer. By the time the doctors had caught it this time, it had spread to her spine and into many of her organs. We knew the diagnosis wasn't good, but we were people of faith and we were going to fight for healing regardless of what the doctors told us. And fight we did. We even held a church service, just for mom, about a month before to give her an opportunity to worship with her friends and family and to corporately pray for her healing. The service was amazing! And she seemed to dramatically improve in the weeks that followed. We were so encouraged and hopeful.

Nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen.

Joy-Lynn and I loaded our 3 boys into the van and rushed into Calgary to the hospice where mom had just been moved to. We weren't sure what to expect or even what was really going on, and my heart was pounding.

"God," I prayed, "don't let this happen. PLEASE heal her!"

When we arrived at the hospice about an hour later, we were met at the door by my youngest brother, Craig. He was crying and he gave me a hug. I consoled him, but he didn't speak, other than to say, "she's upstairs." As I proceeded up the stairs, I saw my dad. His face was solemn, but he wasn't crying. He looked deep into my eyes, tried to force a smile and then gave me a big hug. In the midst of our embrace, he whispered in my ear, "she's gone."

I collapsed right there on the floor and began to sob. It felt like the wind had just been knocked out of me. This can't be, I thought. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. We were ten minutes too late.

The week of the funeral was a blur. In the midst of preparing a funeral and comforting my family, I was still trying sort things out in my head. I was angry. Really angry. I was angry at God. How could he have allowed this to happen? My mom was a great woman of faith. She firmly believed God could heal and that he would heal. My dad believed. My brothers believed. I believed.  I had laid hands on many people with illnesses, including two with terminal cancer, who had been instantly healed. Why did God heal them but not my mom?

I think the thing that made me the most angry, was that God felt a million miles away that week. I was a pastor and had served Him for all of these years and the moment I needed Him the most, it felt like He abandoned me. I contemplated resigning. How could I preach the Word of God if it didn't work? How could I serve and trust God if He wouldn't show up when I needed Him to?

It was in one of these angry, feeling sorry for myself moments, that Joy-Lynn entered the room with a Bible and plopped it on the bed in front of me. It was open to Mark 11. She pointed to verse 22 and said, "read." It said, "Have faith in God."

This was a turning point for me. You see, it didn't read "Have faith in your faith." Or, "Have faith in your prayers." Or, "Have faith in yourself." It said, "Have faith in God...period." I knew then and there that I needed to trust God regardless of my feelings, regardless of my pain, and regardless of the circumstances surrounding me. Trust was a choice, and I need to choose to trust Him no matter what. I knew it was the right thing to do. And so, right there I said, "I'm sorry God, I will trust you. I don't understand and probably never will, but I choose to trust you anyway. Your ways are higher than mine and so I surrender to You and Your will."

The next day was the day of the funeral. As we were driving to Cochrane for the service, I was still searching for God to show up in a tangible way. I wasn't sure how I'd make it through the day and I really needed Him. I sensed nothing. Just an empty hollow void. I cried out and still nothing. It wasn't until we were descending the hill into the town of Cochrane that I felt this physical rush of peace. I don't know how to explain it, I just became overwhelmed by a strong presence of peace. It was so tangible that I gasped and whispered, "there you are!"

I made it through the day and through the next 5 years. I have chosen to trust God, no matter how I feel or what the circumstances are around me. I have come to realize that I don't need to understand everything in order to put my faith in Him. He is God, I am not. It's that simple. And you know what? My relationship with God is somehow deeper now, and I have an incredible internal peace I didn't have before.

Do I believe God heals? Absolutely! In fact, I witnessed one of the greatest healing miracles only a month later, but I'll have to save that story for another time.

Question: Do you trust God? I mean, really trust God? Even when your circumstances are confusing or frustrating or painful? How did you get that trust? Please comment below in the "Leave a Reply" box.

Another article on a similar topic: The Purpose of Storms