How much is God worth?

There’s a closeness with the Lord that comes through trials that doesn’t come any other way.
James MacDonald, When Life is Hard

There is no avoiding difficult circumstances in this life, unfortunately. I think that’s why I’ve always held fast to the book of Job and the first chapter of James throughout my entire (admittedly easy) life. (It was also God’s grace to lead me there constantly, knowing that it would prepare me best for my wife dying so young.) You can talk yourself in circles over why this thing happened or that event took place, but that very possibly won’t get you very far. It’s likely you’ll never know. All you can do is decide how you respond to it.

It’s not true that God won’t give us more than we can handle. I certainly felt like my experience was more than I could handle, but God more than made up the difference in what I was lacking. Through it all, He kept coming closer and closer, and continues to come closer. Despite my constant failures before Him, He forgives me, picks me up and moves me along.

And it has been through all of this that I have only grown closer to God. It seems harsh to say, but the relationship that I now have with God was worth Stephanie dying. He continues to show me how He is worth so much more than her life. And I will share that with anyone who will listen. If the quote above is true, as I believe it is, then it’s easy to see why we can have joy in trials the way James tells us to do.

Trials take all shapes and sizes, from big and ugly to small and annoying. You stub your toe. A dinner date is cancelled. Your job is taken away. That favorite t-shirt ends up with the red clothes in the laundry and is never the same. A loved one dies. (Almost on the same level as the t-shirt, right?) But every time, we can use it as an opportunity to spend more time with God to deal as appropriately as possible with this particular situation.

It’s easy to think our current crisis is pretty significant. I have certainly thought the death of my wife was a big deal, but it doesn’t take long to see it can always be worse. Job is a great example, losing all his children and property in a day, only to be stricken with boils soon after and then mocked by his wife and friends. More contemporary, Robert Rogers describes his loss of his wife and four children in a flash flood from which he miraculously survived. And yet, in his book Into the Deep, he says the same thing: that his relationship with God and God’s work through him was absolutely worth his family’s lives.

And sadly, how often do I push God aside so I can watch another TV show? How often do I say that I’ll just pray a little later when I have more time? How often do I let day-to-day life get in the way of God? When life as I knew it ended, I selfishly made all the time in the world for God to hear my voice. And yet I forget about Him so easily when things are going fine. It’s always the right time to turn that attitude around.

What is God worth to you? And how do your actions prove it?

8 thoughts on “How much is God worth?”

  1. Brad,

    Once again I am moved to tears (and faith), as is often the case after reading one of your entries. I too went through a devastating, out of the ordinary experience. In one minute (one phone call) my whole life (as I knew it) changed, and it REALLY put me on my face before God. And you’re right Brad. Even though it was an experience that brought much suffering, not just for me but for my children as well, it is the reason I came to know (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that MY REDEEMER LIVES! Wonderful, amazing, and rich communion with Him came out of that awful experience as I came to realize that He really DOES stick closer than a brother. And even though I am still living with the fallout from the devastation, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

    This bittersweet journey continues as I pray daily for Him to heal and purify my heart…and ya know what? When I pray for Him to purify my heart I honestly do so with caution. Sounds weird, but the truth is when I pray that prayer, I know I will soon be on my way into the refiners fire. This is not at all a pleasant experience going in. But oh how we shine for Jesus, (coming out) if we cooperate with the Master Refiner!

    Thanks for sharing Brad. Your experience and insight have a way of causing the reader to really reflect and ponder and look to Jesus. Have you given any thought to making a book out of all these entries? I would buy it for sure and I’m positive many others would as well!

    Abundant Blessings,

    Annie

  2. Brad,
    Once again I am moved to tears (and faith), as is often the case after reading one of your entries. I too went through a devastating, out of the ordinary experience. In one minute (one phone call) my whole life (as I knew it) changed, and it REALLY put me on my face before God. And you’re right Brad. Even though it was an experience that brought much suffering, not just for me but for my children as well, it is the reason I came to know (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that MY REDEEMER LIVES! Wonderful, amazing, and rich communion with Him came out of that awful experience as I came to realize that He really DOES stick closer than a brother. And even though I am still living with the fallout from the devastation, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

    This bittersweet journey continues as I pray daily for Him to heal and purify my heart…and ya know what? When I pray for Him to purify my heart I honestly do so with caution. Sounds weird, but the truth is when I pray that prayer, I know I will soon be on my way into the refiners fire. This is not at all a pleasant experience going in. But oh how we shine for Jesus, (coming out) if we cooperate with the Master Refiner!

    Thanks for sharing Brad. Your experience and insight have a way of causing the reader to really reflect and ponder and look to Jesus. Have you given any thought to making a book out of all these entries? I would buy it for sure and I’m positive many others would as well!

    Abundant Blessings,

    Annie

  3. Ditto to Annie…

    Why are you so smart?!

    It makes me wonder if there is any person who would welcome what you went through for the benefit of getting closer to the Lord. Maybe ‘welcome’ is the incorrect word. “Accept”… Definately, because what choice is there? Am I OK saying, “Father, take what You have given to me that I may know you better, deeper.”. Does that only come on your side of the event, after the fact? I can’t say or pray that.

    The whole time I was reading your entry, I thought the same thing…ever consider writing a book?

    Thanks for your thoughts…gives people like me lots to mull.

  4. Seriously, Brad, have you ever considered pursuing inspirational writing? You really have a gift for sharing your faith in this way, and you have obviously touched many lives. God bless you and your precious family.

  5. Ever since the events surrounding the death of your wife over a year ago, I was persuaded from a Christian family member to read this inspirational blog. Being an unbeliever, they felt as though I could become influenced from the story I suppose– and they were right. For a year now, I have, for time to time, stopped to read the details of your recovery out of sheer curiosity as to how one copes with such a tragedy. Up until now I have remained a silent spectator, but your words today stirred something rather severe deep within myself.

    How anyone could think that the death of a loved one was “worth it” in order to get closer to God is beyond me. The word you used–“harsh”–is a gross understatement. It’s appalling. After reading your blog for so long, I wonder how it could even be possible for you to become “closer to God” when your entire life and every thought seems to revolve around your faith.

    If God needs to kill people on earth so that an already devout person like you could feel impressed to establish an even MORE indoctrinated relationship with him, then I want no part in it. Perhaps God could utilize a less violent and catastrophic approach other than killing housewives and wiping out families with floods if he intends to reach anyone? Maybe you could bring that up the next time you two chat.

    As I recall in an earlier entry you mentioned something along the lines of: “If just one person can come to know God through this, it was worth it.” Well, that one person WON’T be me–and I intend to tell as many as I can how unbelievably backwards and pitiful you people are.

    How’s that for a little “harsh”?

    1. With all due respect, I agree with every word of Long-Time Reader’s comment completely. I know how devout Stephanie was, but I feel that you are disrespecting her and your life together with your words.

    2. I agree completely. Though I think “Long-Term Reader” may have been a bit “harsh” in their delivery, I appreciate their ability to vocalize how disrespectful some of these entries are. You have lost a lot of credibility to me. You’ve spanned from being 100% devoted to Stephanie, to jumping in a new relationship alarmingly quickly (and claiming God gave his blessing), to almost thanking her for dying so you could strengthen your relationship with God. I’m glad someone had the nerve to say something, because I sure didn’t up until now. I think you need to take a step back and reevaluate yourself. There’s a line you’ve clearly crossed here, and I think you owe it to Stephanie to try and get a grip on reality again. I don’t mean taking God out of the equation. I mean not allowing yourself to be so completely blinded by faith that you dissolve your humanity in the process.

      Good luck, Brad.

  6. Brad, I’m wondering from your experience, if you could help me with someone else grieving. My grandmother lost her husband unexpectedly to brain cancer and her daughter to suicide within the same 4 years. I understand (certainly not from experience) what you’re saying about it was “worth it” for your relationship with God being strengthened. I was feeling as if these experiences in her life was going to be the ones to help her make that step closer to Christ, but it hasn’t been. She’s moved further. Where do I go from here as her support? She certainly does not see it the same as you.

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