There is a line in a Casting Crowns song that says "Praise the God who gives and takes away."
Often times I hear that and automatically think of the good things that God gives and of the hard stuff he takes away.
But, He gives us the hard stuff too. The things that cause us to grow in faith, to cry out to Him - even when we are not sure where He is, or if He is worth calling on, to reach out and be vulnerable with the people around us. The very things that strike fear in your heart.
It's easy to remember that God is sovereign when what He gives is good, and what He takes is hard.
But do I (do you) trust Him, call Him faithful, loving and sovereign even when what is given from His hand is hard? When it makes you feel hemmed in and closed off from those around you? When it appears that there is no end in sight? When it makes you question the very faith that gives you the strength to walk through it?
Because in order for me to "Praise the God who gives and takes away" I need to be willing to praise Him when He gives what I am not expecting, when I don't think it is in my best interest (because honestly? what do I know??).
To praise Him when He doesn't take what I want Him to take, and instead leaves it in place.
What He gives is not always easy, but He IS in the midst of it. Working through it so that He may be glorified and I may become more like Christ.
Praying that God may be seen in my life, that others will know that He is good.
Quote from a sermon about a month ago: (yes, it stuck!)
"Faithful is not just something God does. It is WHO He is."
Even in the hard places, when it feels like He is absent, God IS faithful.