God knows. Trust.

I’ve lost count of how many surgeries and operations I’ve had since our accident. A significant amount of those surgeries have been on my busted up brain.  

Before a few of those surgeries I could see the fear and apprehension in my wife’s beautiful eyes and wanted more than anything to ease her mind with profound words of comfort. But it seemed like the only thing filling my mouth was my own foot.

It sure didn’t help that my weakling voice was too quiet to hear over the hum of hospital machines. So when the time came for me to be wheeled back into surgery, I found myself simply mouthing three words to Emily:  

“God knows. Trust.”  

I just wanted to say the right thing to my wife when she was scared. I didn’t realize at the time how true it was. But folks, maybe it’s time we all start thinking about the truths that seem too elementary or childish to bother with. Especially in such an unprecedented time as this global pandemic. By the way, I highly, highly recommend this free ebook by John Piper about how Christ makes sense of the coronavirus.  

I don’t have much to say on that front, but I did want to share with you a few things I’ve learned about God in my own suffering the past seven years as a quadriplegic. 

God created the universe (Genesis 1:1, John 1:3). From the most colossal stars, planets and galaxies to the most infinitesimal specks of matter to the full spectrum of human emotions, He made it all (Colossians 1:16). He owns it all (Psalm 24:1). He’s intimately involved in every detail (Colossians 1:17).  

Not only is He involved and intellectually aware of everything, He also understands our side of the story. He deeply understands and can relate to the human experience because He experienced it Himself. I wrote about that this past Christmas.  

He knows (Psalm 139:1-6). He understands (Hebrews 2:17-18). He cares (1 Peter 5:7).But He’s not just an empathetic friend standing in the corner mhmm-ing with sympathy for all your woes. The Jesus depicted in movies and online TV series is a far cry from the One in control of the universe and every event within.  

If God knows everything, is in control of everything, and understands me enough to care about my fears, doubts and misgivings, what is there left for me to do? 

Try harder?


Trust Him with my future, my wellbeing, my weakness, my failures.

In the context of an impending surgery, Emily and I could trust that the One who gave me physical life, who gave me new spiritual life, who spared both of our lives in the accident, was able to bring me safely through another surgery.

But we didn’t just assume that He would do what we wanted Him to do, because we knew He’s not our personal genie. We trusted that whatever He would do, whether we liked it or not, was for our good (Romans 8:28) and His own honor and glory (Philippians 1:20).

A surgery is pretty straightforward – you go in with something that needs fixed, they operate, and you either make it out fixed or you don’t. “God knows. Trust.” makes sense in a situation with a clear beginning, a rehearsed execution, and a foreseeable end. God knows how you feel about this surgery, your fears, doubts and apprehensions; He also knows exactly what is going to happen because He planned it all out – for your good and His glory – before time began.  

But it can seem a little stickier in ordinary life. When there’s no clear beginning, and no end in sight, but you find yourself stuck in what seems to be an eternal middle, what then? What good can come from job issues? From rebellious children? From an inability to have children?  From  the death of a loved one? From a car accident that redirects your life?  

Romans 8:28 is often thrown around in Christian circles as a sanctified way of saying “It’s all gonna work out in the end”. But Romans 8:28 is not the whole picture. Here’s Romans 8:28 AND 29, for those who don’t know what I’m talking about:

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son 

“God works everything together for good” is comforting, but it’s only a small taste of the feast God prepared for us in this passage. A feast of truth that makes sense of the suffering that otherwise feels nonsensical and pointless. God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God. 

So does this mean that God gives Christians everything they want? No, God loves us far too much to abandon us to the halfhearted desires we’re too easily satisfied with.

Verse 29 begins with the word “For”, which means it’s explaining the previous verse.  “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.

That’s the good God causes all things to work together for. Christian, God is using every situation in your life to make you more like Jesus.

Maybe you don’t like that idea. Maybe you just want your problems fixed right now. I feel you. The process of being made like Christ, of gaining a greater pleasure than I could ever manufacture for myself, takes a long time. Matter of fact, it might take a lifetime. And plenty of days have gone by when I would much rather be out of this wheelchair chasing cheap thrills than waiting for God to give me something better.

But there is something greater in store. My suffering is not meaningless. Your suffering is not meaningless. I can’t say it any better than Romans 8:18-25, just a few verses before the passage above, and 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. See for yourself:

“For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the coming glory that will be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly but because of God who subjected it—in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. Not only this, but we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance.”

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

God knows. He’s working in you to make you more like Himself and make you radiant for the day when He reveals His glory to the world. He’s the prize for which you and I are racing, fighting, enduring. But we’re not alone in our hardship. He’s with us. He blazed the trail, and He’s guiding each halting, timid, stumbling step we take on it.

God sees you. He knows you. He’s doing the best thing imaginable for you.

Trust Him.