I choose to trust you. No matter what, if she lives or dies, I trust you.
The words tumbled out before their impact registered. The doctor had just delivered devastating news: my youngest daughter was going to die from a fire that destroyed our home.
My worst nightmare came alive as I stared fear and death square in the face. I had no idea what to expect after that moment. Life shifted, tilted, and threw me completely off-balance. But even so, I made a life-changing decision that day. I said yes to God while I plunged head-first into the dark shadow death cast on my life.
Over the next eleven years my life plummeted deeper into darkness and sorrow. The broken pieces of my heart cut deep. The broken pieces of her daddy’s heart sliced deeper until our rocky marriage finally broke. The fallout from those years altered every aspect of my life —nothing escaped unscathed.
So why did I say yes to Him? If you had asked me that moment in the hospital, I might have said He was going to miraculously change everything. People were praying. Others declared a full healing. The path before me would turn straight and smooth. I wanted my happily-ever-after “God-moment” where He rescued Emma and saved us from utter destruction.
That happily-ever-after never came, at least not Hollywood’s version.
Here’s what did happen when I said yes to God.
I experienced His Presence.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18, NLT
As I traveled through the darkness, I sensed God’s presence near. Conflicting feelings swirled inside —pain and joy, sorrow and hope. Gentle reminders that heaven was near but not in its fullness. Suffering and brokenness mark this world, but when Jesus came to earth, heaven broke through and marked those who love Him through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
I experienced His peace.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33, NLT
Peace is not something that can be fabricated, not the true abiding peace that gives strength and perseverance to the weary. Peace is a gift God gives when we say yes to Him, and I felt it. I experienced it. His peace calmed and sustained me through the bleakest moments. His peace strengthened me as He developed resilience within me.
I experienced hope.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13, NLT
Emma died. My sweet girl experienced life on earth for five years, and now experiences the glory of heaven for eternity. I still long for her, but I have hope that this life and this world is not the end. One day I will see her again.
But I also have hope that my heartbreak isn’t wasted. That God didn’t forget about me, make a mistake, or leave me to navigate the dark valley of death and sorrow alone.
Nor does He forget you.
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NLT
I experienced His comfort and offer it to others.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT
Comfort came through the gift of friends and family. It came through the whispers of the Holy Spirit, reminding me that I was seen and heard and loved. Comfort came through tears that were shed by me and with those who love me. Comfort comes every time someone remembers my sweet girl and speaks her name out loud.
I experienced His goodness.
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13, NLT
Nothing about my daughter’s death was good. I’ve missed out on eleven years of birthdays and hugs, kisses and conversations. By now she’d have her driver’s license and maybe even a crush or two.
And yet God. When I said yes to Him and willingly embraced the crushing and pressing, He opened my eyes to see His goodness. I looked for it, and He revealed it. By saying yes, He opened my heart to receive His healing and blessing, even through horrific circumstances. By saying yes, He opened my soul to receive heavenly wonders and mercies that defy this temporary world.
I’m nothing special to have endured this suffering. All I did was say yes to God, allowed Him to sift and shape my soul; He did (and still does) the heavy hauling. But by saying yes, even this most difficult yes to God, my voice joins the chorus that sings His praise, giving Him glory so that others may see all He has done and be amazed.
And so can yours.
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3, NLT
Are you willing to say yes to God, even to the most difficult things? He will meet you there if you do.
Join the conversation this week on our Facebook page and share how you’re saying the most difficult yes. I’d love to hear what you have to say.