The setting is rural Norway in the early 1920s. A young boy is outside chopping wood with his older brother. It happens in a flash. In one wrong move, the young boy loses his finger in an accident that irrevocably changes his life. To add insult to injury, the unskilled country doctor incorrectly sews the finger back on backward! The boy is sent home and nearly dies from sepsis in a pre-antibiotic era. He evades death, but without the infected finger. Nothing about this tragic accident seems right, fair, or deserved by a little boy with his whole life ahead of him. But then we forget that God breathes his breath into all things.
Fast forward to 1940 when the Nazis invade Norway. The military recruits all the young, able Norwegian men. Within two weeks, Germany overtakes Norway and all of the soldiers are killed. The man who lost a finger in his childhood escapes military duty and eventually immigrates to the United States. He lives one month shy of 100 years old.
As I type this now, I sit beside this man’s grandson, my husband. He has an amazing heart for medical missions, just like his father before him. My grandfather-in-law had no idea that this trial of suffering would transform into a beautiful life-ring thrown to him in the middle of life’s storm. I often find myself thinking back to that story. If not for that fateful accident of a 1920s Norwegian farm boy, my husband and my two children would not exist. God was writing their stories before they were comprehended. Amazing, isn’t it?
I love stories such as these because when I search for God’s purpose in our brokenness, He reminds me that:
Redemption is God’s nature. God created us knowing full well that we would turn away from Him. He knew from the start that we would need a savior that transcends all time, space, and sin to bring us back to Himself. Psalm 139:7-8 says, “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.” Find peace in knowing there is nowhere we can go to escape from God’s love and forgiveness. In the lowest low or the highest high, God wants to use humans in his mighty and mysterious redemption plan.
God is bigger. In the midst of suffering, God sometimes allows us to take a peek at the bigger picture. He will glorify himself in every crack, every mistake, every misstep. Paul writes in Romans 8:28, “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” The Wonderful Counselor is bigger than our emotional or physical hurt. The Lord of Lords is bigger than our distrust and broken relationships. Our Beautiful Savior is bigger than our guilt and shame. The King of Kings is bigger than our minds and our intellects trying to understand why. If he can use a cross for his glory, then he is bigger than our brokenness.
God is in it. Not only does he ordain everything, but the Bible tells us that literally everything is made through him. Colossians 1:16 says, “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” When we can grasp that God’s fingerprints are in everything, the creator of the world reassures us He is in control. Sometimes we feel like we are losing the battle, but we must not lose heart. The victorious One who has already won the war, who has conquered sin and death, is living in us and through us.
I hope you are encouraged today to feel the depth of God’s work in your life. You have an immense value and purpose beyond what our finite minds can comprehend. I’d love to hear your stories of God giving you a peek into His bigger picture.
Blessings to you, friend.