"...faith that moves forward triumphs." Shelly Esser


“…faith that moves forward triumphs.” Shelly Esser

Once again, we were on our way to the hospital – this time to the emergency room, my daughter in the back seat raging with fever and seizure-like chills. It seemed our car knew the way as we had made this trek one too many times over the last year battling her illness. Halfway there tears began exploding down my face as I felt a heavy darkness closing in on me. An almost audible voice said, “See, God doesn’t care about you. He’s not answering your prayers; your daughter isn’t getting better. Why don’t you just get it over with and curse God!” I sat there in the darkness – a part of me half believing it, but in the depth of my heart knowing it not to be true. “NO,” my thoughts shouted back. “I will not curse God – in the midst of unanswered prayers, questions, and incredible pain I will choose and keep choosing to trust Him.

Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Luke 7:23 KJV

Have you ever felt offended by God? Glancing heavenward with a look of disbelief thinking, “How could this be happening to me and my family, my ministry? How could You allow this, God?”

Offend means to irritate, annoy, or anger; insult; to affect disagreeably. It’s often easy to feel offended by others, but I had never before thought about feeling offended by God. And yet, if I allowed myself to look deep enough, I know I have been irritated, even angry. In silence, we can be angry at God, resentful perhaps, even so deeply hurt that we erect a wall between ourselves and God. There’s no question that at times it’s very difficult not to feel offended by God – by His apparent inactivity or lack of care when trials unexplained or mysteries unresolved enter our lives, and when senseless circumstances daily gnaw at our souls.

Job was a man who not only suffered incredible pain and agony, but who refused to be offended by God, even when others were suggesting he should be. How many of us can choose to not be offended in the face of such great suffering and loss? In Job 1:8 and 2:3 God tells Satan, “There is no one on earth like him, he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” In other words, “a man who will be faithful to me no matter what.” What strikes me here is the incredible confidence God had in Job.

I wonder if He has that same confidence in me? I’ve had to ask myself that penetrating question many times over the last several years in the face of daily grief and pain. It has been a challenge, but those hard places in life and ministry give us the opportunity to respond to the very worst thing we could imagine happening to us in a God-honoring way, starting with the refusal to be offended.

Job 1:22 says, “In all this (pain, loss, and heartache) Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” In other words, he wasn’t offended by God. It has to be a daily decision because our fragile emotions will tempt us to abandon what our faith knows to be true. 

If we are to be like Job, we have to trust in God’s character and all we know to be true about Him in the dark. We trust that His character is good and that He is in control, knowing that whatever He allows in our lives will be for our good – not that whatever He allows is good. Our circumstances can never be an accurate reflection of God’s goodness.

I have so desperately wanted my daughter physically healed, but that has not happened completely. So, living unoffended means I will trust God even though the healing and miracle don’t come, when my earnest prayers continue to go unanswered, and when everything around me at times is filled with nothing but discouragement. I will not accuse God of wrongdoing. We are able to live unoffended by God and the things He allows in our lives only when we have a deep understanding of His character. And whatever our faith says God is, He will be.

Ultimately it is faith that enables us to live the unoffended life. And though He slay me, that’s the only life I want to live.


*First printed in Just Between Us Magazine, Spring, 2009 (justbetweenus.org)

More posts from Shelly

When a Kiss Can’t Make It Better

    Walking Through Your Child’s Chronic Illness with Hope   “Mom, my back hurts,” my 11-year-old Anna complained. “Did anything happen to cause the pain?” I asked. “No,” she said. Time went on and things seemed to be fine again, so I didn’t think twice about it. But then “my back...

With a chronic illness, you can't wait to enjoy life.

Grace for Caregivers

Ken Tada knows what it means to be a caregiver. For the last 34 years he has been taking care of his quadriplegic wife, Joni Eaerckson Tada, who has not only been bound to a wheelchair for the last 50 years, but who has suffered from terrible chronic pain in the only part of her body that has...

Everybody has to deal with suffering
Shelly Esser

Shelly Esser

Editor of Just Between Us magazine

Shelly Esser has been the editor of Just Between Us for over 29 years. Additionally, she was actively involved in women’s ministries for 20 years, is an author, and has served on the Board of the Pastoral Leadership Institute. She and her husband have four daughters and a son-in-law, and live in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

 

 

NEXT STEPS

The Blessing

The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance

Gary Smalley and John Trent

Children of every age long for the gift of “the blessing” — the unconditional love and approval that come from a healthy relationship with their parents. This life-changing gift is essential for instilling a deep sense of self-worth and unshakable emotional well-being. Offering solid, practical advice and a fresh perspective on making this gift a bigger part of our families.

LEARN MORE.

The Broken Way

The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life

Ann Voskamp

What if you really want to live abundantly before it’s too late? What do you do if you really want to know abundant wholeness? This is the one begging question that’s behind every single aspect of our lives—and one that The Broken Way rises up to explore in the most unexpected ways.

LEARN MORE.

Undone

Undone: A Story of Making Peace With an Unexpected Life

Michele Cushatt

Follow a quest to make peace with a complicated life. It is an honest confession of a diagnosis of cancer and the joys and disappointments of motherhood and marriage, ripe with regret over what is and, yet, still hopeful for what could be. Follow a roller coaster two-year journey through the unexpectedness of life with enough humor to ease the rawness of the story.

LEARN MORE.

Parenting and Chronic Illness

Parenting

​Raising a child with chronic illness – a blessing in disguise. Parenting a child with chronic illness requires more strength, resolve, perseverance and courage than we likely ever dreamed possible, yet it also blesses us with the gifts of compassion, perspective, presence, and profound love as we are daily drawn closer to Christ.

LEARN MORE.

33 Biblical “One Anothers”

33 Biblical Love One Anothers

Notecards

The art of letter writing can be a vital, life-giving ministry of hope to those who are hurting, grieving, recovering, homebound, lonely, ill, depressed, or isolated. While life-giving to the receiver, letter writing is also life-nourishing to the writer.

Looking for thoughtful and encouraging ways to put #PenToPaper in action? Or perhaps a gift to inspire others to begin writing notes? Choose from these beautiful notecard collections.Choose from these beautiful notecard collections.

Every purchase made at the Chronic Joy Store helps to support our mission and ministry to sow the life-giving seeds of hope, purpose, worth, and joyone precious life at a time.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share with your friends!