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God’s Grace and Glory in Scary Situations

When you stop and think about it–when you really stop and look for it–the plans and purposes, the blessings and the mercies of God are all around you, at all times and in all places.

The past couple of weeks, no, let’s back up, the past several months, have been a string of inconvenient circumstances and then, more recently, an explosion of scary and unexpected news.

And in the midst of all of this, I am called to pray and give thanks (Philippians 4:6-7).

I’ve written about this before, this call to prayer, this word, PRAY, that God gave me to focus on this year. Never doubt the power of a God-given word.

I have found myself praying for so many unforeseen events and situations: a global pandemic, friends’ miscarriages, homeschooling my children, the death of friends’ parents, a struggling child, rioting in the nation’s streets, and most recently, a cancer diagnosis for a family member.

Wow, God was totally serious when He gave me this call to pray, wasn’t He?

In spite of all of these things to pray about, I have found myself lacking in the word department which is so unusual for me! These situations are so tough and so heavy; I don’t even know the words to pray.

How do you pray when faced with situations you’ve never even dreamed would happen?

I have experienced the meaning of this verse in Romans 8. “And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will” (v. 27). I’m so thankful that God never expects us to have the words. He has provided His Spirit to comfort us, bring us peace and speak for us when we can’t find the words.

I have realized my heart has been changed in this process of praying. I find myself praying these words: “God, what do you want to do in this situation? What do you want me to learn in the midst of this trial? What is your purpose here?”

I have found peace in knowing God holds everything together. He is not surprised by any of the events that have happened in recent days. He holds the future, just like He holds us right now in the present.

But we will waste our suffering and trials if we choose to pray them away.

If we recite Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them,” but then never seek His purposes, we miss part of God’s plan. All of our trials are meant to make us more like Jesus and to let God’s glory shine. If we’re not looking for God’s plan in the midst of suffering, are we missing out?

This is what I’ve come to believe. There is always a bigger, grander plan then what we can see. While a cancer diagnosis just looks scary and horrible, God sees that and more. Who will be touched by the grace and glory of God because of this situation?

If we look for it, we will see just that–the grace and glory revealed in the midst of a horrific cancer diagnosis. For starters, I was with my family member when they received this diagnosis. I was not 500 miles away at my home. I’m so thankful. I’m counting that up as a blessing!

Again, I have found a song that relates exactly to this thought. Have I mentioned I love worship music?? This song is “Graves into Gardens” by Elevation Worship. Here’s the part I’m loving right now:

You turn graves into garden
You turn bones into armies
You turn seas into highways
You’re the only one who can 

(I’m posting the whole song on my Music page. You can listen here.)

God is the only one who can take the ugly and horrible of this world and make it beautiful. He’s the only one that can make something amazing out of a disaster. He’s going to take this pandemic and do something big! He’s going to use a cancer diagnosis for His glory and our good.

These are my new prayers for 2020; let’s not just pray 2020 away! May they be yours too. And may you join me in looking for God at work, turning graves into gardens, turning ashes into beauty. He won’t disappoint us.


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Kristen Johnson

Kristen is an "accidental farmer's wife" and stay-at-home mom of 3. Accidental, because it was never in her plan to "just" be a mom. But it was God's. Former English teacher now turned MOPS Coordinator and Speaker, Kristen now writes at nap-time, blogging about her silly kids and her farming adventures, as a mom Called by God. She lives in Minnesota on a farm with her family, dog and 5 cats.