Spoiler Alert: If you have not read the first chapter, don’t read my response!
I read the first chapter of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp this afternoon. Absolutely heart wrenching. My heart was absolutely wrenched inside my chest as I placed myself in the shoes of Ann’s parents, but especially her mother. Especially her mother. Her mother who was washing dishes at the kitchen sink and watches with her own eyes, her 18-month-old daughter be hit by a truck and killed. Her mother who holds her dead child in her arms. Oh, oh, oh. It hurts so much as I look at my own children and imagine what it might be like.
It’s interesting to me that just this morning in our teen class we discussed the topic of pain and suffering in relation to God. Why does God let these bad, painful things happen to us? Especially to those of us who love Him?
I am so scared, especially lately. I just have so much to lose. Husband, babies, family, my own health, financial stability. My life has certainly not been without pain, but I have not had anything earth shattering happen to me. I know that it is to come. People get sick. Houses burn down. As my mother says, “No one gets out of this life alive.” Everything can be lost. In an instant, your world can change, and everything can be lost.
Look at Job. Read even just the first three chapters and you see a man who loved the Lord, who was healthy, who was thriving financially, who had a wife and many children. In an instant, it was all gone. What does Job do? In verse 20, we see that he fell to the ground in worship.
Would this be my first response? No doubt, Job was experiencing intense grief over his losses, but he still fell down in worship of God who allowed it to happen. I can’t say that I would react the same way.
Romans 8:28 says that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him”. In all things. God does not want to treat us poorly! He gave up his very own son for us. As Ann says on page 21, “He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what it all means.” That is why he is the author, and we are not.
I am so afraid of a cancer eating a hole through my life, through my heart. I need to trust in my God who loves me. God knows the plans he has for me, for us, in happiness and in pain. The plans are to prosper us, not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). It doesn’t mean that everything is going to be easy, but it does mean that he loves us and is working for our good, working to see us be better and better.
I need to trust in my God who loves me. I need to trust that the holes that will come will be “seeing-through-to God places” (pg. 22).
Seed: What has been planted as you read this chapter?
God is the author for a reason; he works for the good of those who love Him.
Water: How are you nurturing what God desires in you? Be intentional and obedient to what your responsibility is in growth.
I need to trust God. I need to trust that he loves me, even when pain comes into my life, even if something truly terrible happens in the future.
Bloom: What is the fruit you are seeing from what you have learned?
I believe that if I trust God even through pain that I will be closer to Him, that I will have a deeper gratitude, and that I will have more faith in the spiritual than the physical.
Visit Bloom for the Chapter One video commentary from Ann Voskamp.