On My Shelf: When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story

*****

Wow, this book started me on a journey. A journey of facing the lies I didn’t even know I was believing.

Each chapter of this book ends by listing a myth we tend to believe and the truth that counters that myth. Whether you’re struggling with the heartbreak of divorce or the questions that come with an untimely death in your family or simply going through a low in your spiritual life, you will relate to Laura Story’s story. *Punny, I know.

Laura Story shares in a way that draws everyone in. She is honest and open with her struggles and she isn’t afraid to shed light on her doubt. She’s not afraid to share it with the reader and she’s not afraid to share it with God … Actually, she is afraid, but she shares anyway.

And thank God she did. Because I learned so much.

One of my favorite chapters in this book addressed the question of ‘Why?’ When we encounter struggles and trials in our lives, we often ask God why.

“Why did You let this happen to me?”

“Why did he leave me?”

“Why did you take her so soon?”

“Why are my dreams being crushed?”

“Why is my heart being broken again?”

Story leads her readers through an exercise of writing down their ‘why’s.’ I surprised myself with how many I actually came up with for myself. Listing out all the questions I had was a very revealing experience, and quite vulnerable.

But Story doesn’t leave us there. And I’m glad she didn’t. That would have made for quite a depressing chapter. Instead, she challenges her readers to change their ‘why’s’ to ‘how’s.’

“How can You use this challenge to glorify Yourself?”

“How can I lean on You more now that he has left me?”

“How can her story bring hope to others suffering in a similar way?”

“How can God resurrect my dreams that once died or replace them with even better ones?”

“How can I rely on You more fully as the Lover and Healer of my broken heart?”

By changing perspectives, we are no longer in a passive state of wondering but an active state of working alongside God to bring good and growth out of our circumstances. This lesson stuck with me. It reminds me not to throw a pity party when things don’t go my way, but to remember that although God doesn’t cause suffering, He allows it and uses it for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28-29).

We may never know why God allows certain things to happen to us and those we love, but we can have complete faith in the fact that He loves us and longs to use our circumstances to bring about good and glorify Himself.

That brings me to another lesson in this book that slapped me in the face:

God’s main goal is not my happiness.

This is completely contrary to what we typically hear. Our natural inclination is to believe that God’s main desire is for us to be happy and healthy. Because that’s when we can do the most for Him, right?

Nope.

God’s main goal is actually His glory.

Sometimes when things are going just swimmingly in our lives, we are so grateful to God, but more often then not we forget our need for Him. We let our relationship with Him suffer while we go about our daily lives.

Sometimes God uses tragedies to draw us closer to Him. This is not to say that He sits up in Heaven waiting for us to wander far enough to warrant a punishment. But He uses the tragedies that are a result of the curse of sin to show us our need for Him and His provision.

Story outlines this by contrasting the myth with the truth:

Myth: God’s primary desire is to fix broken things.

Truth: God’s primary desire is to fix my broken relationship with Him.

So maybe you’re mourning a broken relationship. Maybe you’re going through a health crisis. Maybe you’re in a hopelessly desperate situation and you just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and you’re wondering where God is and why He hasn’t shown up. Believe and know that God knows your pain. He loves you and has compassion on you, but His main goal is to draw you and others closer to Him through this process. And I know it’s easier to say this when you’re not going through a tragedy and not feeling such a deep brokenness, but isn’t a close relationship with God the best thing we can have?

That being said, we can cling to God during our time of need and know that He will carry us through. When our dreams are crushed, we don’t have to endlessly strive to keep them alive. Story advises us to release our dreams to God, allowing Him to either resurrect these dreams or replace them with even greater dreams that will glorify Him beyond our wildest expectations. Our dreams may be dead and our faith may be failing, but Story states, “The strength of my faith is based on the strength of my God.” Sometimes we doubt. And that’s okay. We can bring those doubts to God. God is still faithful when we are weak.

And even when we are in the middle of the storm, when we are at our weakest, we can grow. According to Story, “My situation may not get better, but I can get better.”

Your mom may never heal from that illness. Your relationship may never be mended. But you can mend. You can grow closer to God. You can allow Him to use your situation to bring glory to Himself and bring you a different kind of healing, a healing that you never knew you needed.

It may surprise you that the trials you are going through give you a new perspective, giving you a deeper appreciation for life and the God that loves you so dearly. We may never come to the point where we’re able to thank God for our suffering, but maybe we can start by thanking Him for His love and His faithfulness and for the good that He can accomplish in and through our trials.

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