Again, Lord?

A few weeks ago my health took a momentary downward turn—fatigue and pain reared their ugly heads again. Even though I know the disease will wax and wane, I was most surprised by the fear that accompanied it.

Didn’t I already deal with this, God? Haven’t I already faced my fears of living with a chronic illness?

I guess not, because panic and doubt wormed their way into my thoughts. What Ifs popped up repeatedly as I considered the possibility of the disease returning full force.

But, almost as suddenly as those anxious thoughts appeared, I remembered the work of Christ:
Through this illness, the very thing I fear, God has done an amazing work in my life. He stripped me of the things that distracted me from Christ—now trash in a landfill.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him. Philippians 2:7-9

 

Why am I afraid of this pruning process?

Ultimately it only serves to enhance my dependence on Jesus Christ. I must admit I struggle to join the Apostle Paul in prayer:

I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 2:10-11

Does anyone want to share in Christ’s sufferings?

Of course not, because that involves pain. But, it’s that very discomfort that reveals our desperate state. Without Christ, our troubles broadcast our need for a Savior. With Christ, our struggles confirm we can’t go at it alone.

I need Him. You need Him, too.

I guess there’s still a lot of rubbish that needs to be thrown out.

A DEEP VACUUM

Those were the lonely days, the days when friends were scarce and I was unable to leave my home. Isolation built a wall around me. I didn’t think I could take one more blow.

But, it came anyway.

An acquaintance from church called to see how I was doing. I was honest—after all, she asked—and told her the truth: I needed help. My house is a wreck. The toilets haven’t been cleaned in ages. My carpets needed vacuumed. Laundry was piled up.

After a long pause she said, “I was thinking about meals. No one wants to clean somebody else’s toilets, much less their own.”

I fought hard not to become embittered by her remark, which revealed her true character. to this day, it brings tears to my eyes as I recall the sting of her words.

I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the friends that abandoned him during his imprisonment,

“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them.” 2 Timothy 4:16

Paul was on trial for his very life, yet his friends failed him.

HAVE YOUR FRIENDS FAILED YOU, TOO?

Yet, the very next verse declares Paul’s victory:

“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength…” 2 Timothy 4:17-18

Even in our darkest hours, the children of God are not alone. The Lord stands by our sides and gives us strength. When all others have failed, we have certain confidence that the Lord is with us.

Just this morning I read the powerful words of Jeremiah 20:11,

“But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior. . .”

If everyone else has deserted you, remember you are guarded by the Lord, the mighty warrior, who promises never to leave you nor abandon you.

TAKE COURAGE IN THE LORD!

Carrie Cooper @ comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com

Into His Presence

Who is the “you” that no one else sees? Who is the “you” that hides hurts deep inside?
There are just times in life where it feels like the winds of life are beating down on us and we are standing up by ourselves facing that wind on our own. It’s not that others don’t care or aren’t trying to understand what we are going through – it’s just that God has asked us to go through this particular challenge in life, with Him alone. These are the times where He draws us into His presence to teach us something, or show us something very personal. It feels like we will break at times – but we won’t. We will only bend. 🙂

I used to dread these times in my life. I would feel sorry for myself and wonder why only “I” could really feel or understand a certain situation or circumstance. Now I am learning to embrace them. It’s not that they are comfortable or that I have grown some newfound courage to endure hard times – it’s simply that I am gaining an inner understanding about what these challenges in my life are about.

They are about God drawing me closer to Him.

My mom and I were talking about how situations in life grow character in your heart. I used to tell her that I didn’t want more character – because it usually hurt to get it! 🙂 But as we were talking, remembering and smiling about this; I shared with her that although it hurts to get stretched by God at times, I have never once regretted a painful, hurtful, or challenging time in life that was designated by God. Not once. Because He has used each one in my heart and life to have a ministry and to help others. He has used each one to grow insight into my heart, to mature me as a believer, and to draw me closer to Him. And oh how I love to be closer to Him!

Wherever we are in life; if we are feeling all alone or that maybe God is “sifting” us and weeding things out of our lives — please consider the fact that He may just be calling you by name and asking you to personally come into His presence for a little while so that He may share some truths with you and you alone. It can be a very special and precious time that is shared by only you and the Lord, if you choose to look at it that way.

Right now, God may be trying to draw you into His presence. You may be going through things that no one else can go through with you. Let Him speak to you – let Him be with you. Draw the strength and courage you need from being in His presence.

~ Dionna Sanchez
Visit Dionna’s main blog at http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com