Listen to that again, "if we are accustomed to
living in the presence of God and if we believe that everything
comes to us, comes with His permission, then those two facts will
help to alleviate our suffering." This is another "key"
to the Christian life.
Most of us still rate the events of our lives as either
a "good" thing or a "bad" thing, but when
we’re finally able to merge all the events of our lives into the
category of a "God" thing, then we will be where
He wants us.
God wants us open and pliable to whatever He needs to do
in our lives in order to accomplish His will. He wants us not only
surrendering the moment to Him, but also surrendering our
reactions to that moment to Him. We all need to get to the place
where Job was when he said, "Though [You] slay me, yet will I
trust [You]." (Job 13:15)88
An Example: Diana
Whenever I think about ultimate trust in God, I
immediately think of a dear friend of mine named Diana Bantlow.
Diana was just two years old in the Lord when she was diagnosed
with leukemia and given only six months to live. She had a beloved
husband who adored her and two precious children, Hillary, three,
and Stephanie, one.
Diana, however, had tremendous faith in God. And, she
knew that because God loved her, He would not allow anything into
her life that wasn’t "Father-filtered" and that
wouldn’t eventually bring Him glory. So, throughout her ordeal,
no matter what the circumstances were and no matter how much pain
she was in, she continually chose to trust her God and to abandon
herself to His will.
Now you know that she must have experienced things like
fear, doubt and anger because she was human. But because she loved
God and trusted Him unequivocally, she kept making those
non-feeling choices—no matter how she felt or what she
thought—to do His will.
Even though Diana had enough faith to literally
"move mountains," and had been prayed for many times by
the elders of her church, God in His sovereignty, chose not to
heal her physically. He knew that the example of her faith and the
witness of His Life through her frail condition would affect more
lives than anything else. And, it’s true. As I have shared
Diana’s story at different seminars over the last 20 or so
years, many people have come up to me and told me how they had
known Diana and how her life had touched them.
In particular, two nurses from California came up after
one seminar and shared how they had both attended Diana in the
hospital the last few weeks of her life. They told me that they
both had come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior as a
result of seeing His Life through Diana, even though she
They said, as they would go into her room to administer
her pain medication, Diana would softly whisper, "No, thank
you, my Father is taking care of me." Then she would go on
and say, "And may He bless you abundantly in all you do
today." Both these nurses shared how uncharacteristic this is
of terminally ill patients. Either the patient is totally
"out of it" (almost semi-conscious) and unaware of what
is going on around him, or he is emotionally and mentally
distraught as the reality of death approaches. They both said this
was not at all the case with Diana. They saw in Diana a Love, a
peace and a joy that "passed all human understanding."
And they yearned to have what she had. Both eventually accepted
Christ as a result of Diana’s witness.
As it came closer to Christmas, Diana told everyone that
God was going to allow her to go "home" for the
holidays. Now she thought God meant her physical, earthly home,
but on Christmas day 1974, God took His precious child
"home" to the one He had prepared for her from the
beginning of time (John 14:2).
We must all get to the place where we can accept even
the bad things (from our point of view) as being good, because
they are from God.89 As
George MacDonald tells us, "I fear you will never arrive at
an understanding of God so long as you cannot bring yourself to
see the good that often comes as a result of pain." God has a
plan for our lives and sometimes that plan includes suffering.
In 1 Peter 4:19 it says, "Wherefore, let them that
suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their
souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator."
God is the One who warms us in the sun and it is God who
sends the rain. It is God who feeds us and it is He who also
withholds our food. He sends the winter and He also allows the hot
summer days. God, by His Love, does all of the above. "I form
the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I,
the Lord, do all these things" (Isaiah 45:7).90
Our responsibility is simply to yield ourselves to the
inner workings of God’s Spirit and know that everything He does
in our lives comes from his Love.91 We
are being asked to trust Someone who has the power to keep us from
all danger, threat and violence. The question is, "Will we
trust Him unconditionally to do so?"92