It happens every year. I always think it won’t affect me. But it does. In some way. To some degree. What is it, you ask? Valentine’s Day. It was last week, and I felt though incredibly loved by my people – they sent flowers (#farmgirlflowers), we did a Facebook Live with my podcast crew over at @youreinvitedpodcast, my mom brought candy and flowers to work, and I had my annual Mexican dinner with a friend who I’ve had my whole life, yet still felt like something was missing. It was a full day. It was a fun day. And thankfully, it didn’t feel as hard as it has in past years.
It’s a holiday made up by card companies and fueled by candy companies. A podcaster I listen to put it this way, “If it takes Valentine’s day to show love to your people, you’re doing it wrong.” I think he’s got it right.
Jill Briscoe, at the IF:Gathering a few weeks ago, talked about Paul saying “yes” to a “no”. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul asks God three times (vs 8) to remove the thorn in his flesh. Rather than remove the thorn, God answers, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul goes on to say that he will “boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (12:9). Paul said yes to God’s no.
It might be a no to a spouse right now.
It might be a no to a biological child right now.
It might be a no to a promotion… or to a healing… or to the removal of a thorn.
But God’s grace is sufficient for me in singleness. It is sufficient for you in infertility. It is sufficient in famine and harvest and winter and spring. It is sufficient when life barrels toward a cliff and when we reach mountain highs. His grace is sufficient when life is all right. His grace is sufficient when life feels deficient.
God answers prayer in one of three ways. He either answers them as, “Yes”, “No”, or “Not yet”. While I believe that to be absolutely true, Lysa Terkeurst expounds upon the idea in her book It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. She states, “God loves me too much to answer my prayers at any other time than the right time and in any other way than the right way.” The emphasis is on “God loves me too much”. He loves us too much. He sees what we don’t see. He’s orchestrating for our good.
This is not meant to feel trite or to gloss over the deep pain that comes with life not looking how we anticipated it would look. It is to remind our souls to remember and to cause our minds to fall into line with the Gospel: that under the blood of the Cross, His grace is sufficient – regardless of circumstances, regardless of personal life goals, regardless of seasons, regardless of what is going on around us. His grace is sufficient for me.
I’ll say yes to God’s no. And I’ll trust that His plans are better than my plans; that he will do exceedingly, abundantly more than I can ask or imagine. His grace will continue to be sufficient for me… and for you… all day, every day.