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Freefalling—Again! Learning from Our Trials

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“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33)*

I was telling someone at church this week that you are either in a trial, coming out of a trial, or heading into one. How many times have you heard that?! But unfortunately, it’s true. No one is exempt, believer or non-believer alike as we read of Christ’s warning in John 16:33.

Last week I got a whopper out of the blue! It took my breath away. But at least this time I had a chance to catch my breath in between trials. Thank God for periods of reprieve! (I know some of you out there haven’t had a breather in quite some time, but hang in there. Hold onto Jesus! He’s holding on to you too.)

We all know trials are supposed to teach us something. However, many times we’re just glad the hardship is over and move on.

We forget what we learned—assuming that we did. 

Have you learned anything from your trials? It’s not automatic, you know.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Heb 12:11, emphasis added)**

Have you been trained by your hardships? What lessons have you learned? What truths about God or His ways seem more clear to you? And are you applying them?

With this new challenge of mine, I feel like I am freefalling again; feet planted in midair—totally helpless and desperate to regain control. I wrote a blog less than 2 years ago on that very topic. In that article, I posed this mind-blowing question:

Is it possible to be desperate without consuming fear?

That’s what the Lord was trying to teach me back then: that it is indeed possible—with Him.

In that blog, I used the example of skydivers who voluntarily step out of a plane 12,000+ feet above ground, and even pay to do it! They think it’s worth the thrill, even at great risk.

My God has “pushed” me out of the plane again. He has forced me to take a leap of faith. Will I panic and scream this time? Or rest in my Rescuer’s sovereignty and relax enough to enjoy the exhilarating experience?

That’s my choice. That’s your choice when you find yourself in those extreme “what am I supposed to do now?” moments.

So did I learn anything from my prior experience? Yes! Praise the Lord! Perfectly? NO!!! But…

  • My times of panicking are less frequent; I’m not flailing as much.
  • I am enjoying the freefall more.
  • I am more excited to see what God’s going to do this time!
  • I am invigorated and energized just thinking about how I can give my Savior glory in this crazy situation!
  • My desperation has been replaced more often with a deep sense of confidence that my faithful God will catch me!

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. (Ps 36:5)**

 

*New Living Translation(NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

**THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

My Egg Story: A Story of God’s Faithfulness

It was the day before my birthday, 2006. My husband, Ed, came home unexpectedly mid-morning. “Oh, hi, Honey!” I said, “What are you doing home?”

He then then gently, but firmly, took me by the shoulders, looked me in the eye, and said these unbelievable words, “I got laid off.”

“What!” I exclaimed. “After 29 years of loyal service? This can’t be happening!!!”

Now we had just booked a two-and-a-half-week vacation in Hawaii to celebrate twenty-five wonderful years of marriage. All airline tickets and accommodations had been made and paid. Gratefully, his company gave him an eight-month severance package with full pay and benefits. So Ed said, “We’re still going to Hawaii. (It was awesome!)

Fast forward 10 months. Ed still hadn’t found a job. We were living off our savings. Since we have always lived well below our means, we didn’t have to significantly sacrifice—but money has always been a source of worry for me.

One day I needed eggs for dinner. Well, the store price was almost one and a half times more than I normally spent. But I needed these eggs! They weren’t a luxury, but a necessity. I put them in my cart. As I continued to shop for a few more things, I began to become very anxious about our money situation. “How will ever make it?” Then the Lord reminded me of Philippians 4:6-7.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I repeated these precious words back to God, and His peace came. But a moment later, the fear returned. So I continued to speak those words of truth to my heart and to God. “Lord, You said I didn’t have to be anxious about anything—even money. Therefore, I am going to trust You. Only help me!”

I am not exaggerating when I tell you I had to repeat this—with force—at least 10 times in a fifteen-minute span!

At checkout I had a question about the price of some grapes. It turned out that someone had forgotten to remove the sign from last week’s sale. They insisted I not even pay for the grapes. (I didn’t argue too much, mind you!)

As I was leaving and checking the receipt, I noticed that the free grapes were almost the exact same price as the eggs! My heart swelled with a sense of God’s pleasure in me for trusting Him! I heard God’s still small voice speak, “See, I told you that you could trust Me!”

God is faithful! His Word is true.

Believe it. Apply it (emphatically and repeatedly if needed) and watch Him show up in the midst of your anxiety with His peace.

 

Would you please share in the comment section or facebook one of your “Egg” stories of God’s faithfulness so we could all be encouraged?

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide

4 Great Reminders to Comfort Our Souls in Times of Turmoil

Is your life in a state of turmoil? Has a major trial turned your life upside down? Right now mine is. I long for the peace and joy I had. What happened? I let Satan steal it! (Jn 10:10a)

Whenever we feel like this, the BEST thing we can do is to dig into God’s Word. So I’ve been re-reading Isaiah, a book of great comfort to me. God spoke to me through these verses:

8 “Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. 
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.
10 …I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.”  
(Is 46:8-13)

Here is what I sensed He was telling me:

We are to Remember

This is not the first time my life has been in such commotion. God was faithful to carry and sustain me then. So in this current craziness I am to remember that my unchanging God will do it again.

We are to Know

That He is God and in control—not me.

The phrase “I will do all that I please” (v 10) would be frightening if God wasn’t also holy, righteous, just, merciful, all-wise, good and loving. These troublesome circumstances through which you and I are going are part of God’s plan; His good perfect and pleasing plan (Rom 12:2; Jer 29:11).

God uses whatever and whoever He sees fit to accomplish His purposes (v 11). We may not like the “whatever” or “whoever” now, but we will in the end (although we may have to wait till we’re in heaven). God sees the big picture. We only see a teeny tiny piece that often doesn’t make sense.

We are to Believe

We need to not only know, but believe that what the Bible says about the character of God. God is who He says He is.

We are to Trust

Next we must step out in faith. Then our peace and joy will be restored.

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Ps 46:10)

*****

Let us listen to God. Let us not be stubborn-hearted (v 12). He is bringing His righteousness near and His salvation will not be delayed. (v 13)

God’s righteousness is near—here in Christ. You and I don’t have to rebel or be stubborn-hearted.

We can respond to this situation (no matter what it is) in a godly way.

Would you join me in this prayer?

Please help me, dear Jesus, my Righteousness and Rescuer. Save me from myself—my sinful self, so that Your splendor will be revealed in me and in these troublesome times.

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

 

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