The other day I posted this on Facebook and it struck a chord of agreement with many…
Man. This journey with God is something else.
If you are a new believer let me be honest with you. Accepting the gift of salvation doesn’t mean you’ll skip through life under sunny skies and rainbows. Some seasons just suck and you’ll wonder if God even knows you exist.
Other times you’ll think you just HAVE to be God’s favorite child because the blessings won’t stop flowing.
Friend, no matter what circumstance you face…don’t turn away from Him.
Live hard for Him.
He’s worth trusting, seeking and praising and you’ll never regret making Him your life.
Recently, I spoke at the Winsome Retreat in Pennsylvania and one thing I shared was that between the years 2008-2013 it was one thing after the other that went wrong in our lives. Things we had no control over. Hard stuff…loss of job and my husband being put on disability, 4 major surgeries on the husband’s back, the birth of 2 grandbabies within 14 months to our teenage daughter and our son being sentenced to prison. We looked like a mess and asking for prayer sometimes was difficult because we felt like burdens.
I recall a time as Gene and I were driving home from the surgeon’s office with the news of yet another surgery, a friend called to see what the doctor had to say. After telling her the news of another scheduled operation, she said, “You know, you guys have tried prayer and I get that is part of your faith, but I think it’s time you take things into your own hands.” As she was talking, gospel singer Marvin Sapp’s voice filled our car as he sang Praise You in Advance. I was able to share that we had done that before and it never worked out and how Gene and I had learned to praise God in advance despite our current circumstances. Her argument was that it wasn’t working out for us anyway.
She had a good point.
Life was hard and it put pressure on our marriage.
It was a strain financially and frustrating to see my hard-working man go from working 2 jobs to collecting disability checks.
Nobody came to us for parenting advice.
And yet…we learned to praise. No matter what was before us, we chose praise over panic. Things didn’t smooth out, but in the roughest of days, God did things that only He could do.
When we have asked God to heal Gene’s body, it has yet to happen. But in the midst of recovering from multiple surgeries, God gave him a text ministry. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday Gene began to text a verse out and still does to this day. What started out with just family and friends now reaches over 100 people and then some because many people tell him that they forward his messages. Grown men he used to play football with have come to know the Lord through this ministry. Two men have asked him for the same Bible he sends these messages out of and for both of them it was their first Bible.
Job loss…God provided in the craziest ways when Gene was let go and put on disability. Crazy ways only a King could come up with.
Our 2 oldest kids…they went through some tough things often by choice, but I wouldn’t trade who they are today for anything. They have both changed their lives so much and have always made us proud to be their parents. And they look out for their little sister like bodyguards look after the President.
Our marriage…it’s good and still has hard times, but God is our focus and I can’t imagine going through this crazy journey with anyone but my Geno.
Weeks before our son was released from prison, I called my husband and said, “Gene! I am so glad we went through this last year because we would’ve missed out on so much of God if we hadn’t.”
Accepting Christ as our Savior is not getting a membership to a life free of hardships. That’s not a promise ever found in the Bible. Instead, we are told there’s going to be some really hard times ahead, but the promise is we have a God that won’t leave us stranded in our mess.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Isaiah 43:2-3a NIV
The key word in that passage: WHEN
The promise: I will be with you
Sunny skies and rainbows may be far and few between sometimes, but if we keep pressing into God we will get through to the other side knowing that He means what He says. That He is not a God yanking your chain. He may not answer our prayers the way we want Him to, but if we stick with Him He will provide and grow you in areas you didn’t even know needed growth. Others will see Him in and through you and want Him for themselves because He’s a desire we all have.
The psalmist said it best in Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the Lord is good.