To say the past couple of days have been difficult would be a gross understatement. Between the shock of the shootings in CT and the intense difficulties that have arisen in the lives of my closest friends in this life; I can honestly say my heart has been extremely burdened. The only two ways I have managed to function is to pray and give.
When the pressures of this life become so strong they are ready to engulf and overwhelm us, that is when we must cast off the tendency to panic or collapse and instead rise up in prayer and do what appears the craziest thing to do which is to give. Prayer and giving allow us to endure affliction, patiently bear pressure and withstand the crushing oppression the enemy employs to steal, kill and destroy.
Unless we pray and give, pressure will cause us to retreat into a corner and curl up in a ball and give up. Since that is never God’s will, there must be something we can do to find relief and step out of the oppression into the joy of the Lord.
Job’s affliction was turned when he ceased dwelling on his plight and instead prayed for his friends (who were behaving like his enemies). As Job crawled out of his hole and gave his heart to God in service to others through prayer, he finally received the deliverance that had for so long escaped him.
Amazing and incredible things happen to us when we cease letting situations beat us down but rather use those situations as a means to become stronger and give more abundantly. Paul commended the church of Macedonia for their great giving during times of trials and afflictions. Please look at what Paul says about these believers in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5:
“Moreover, brethren, we want you to know of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia :
2 how in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality .
3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing to give of themselves ,
4 praying us with earnest entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of ministering to the saints .
5 And this they did, not as we had hoped, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and unto us by the will of God. ”
Despite deep poverty and great trials of affliction, these beautiful believers richly gave of themselves and their resources. These believers provide for us the greatest example of what God wants us to do during times of distress and need. Contrary to what the five senses (and most people) tell us, when the pressure is on, instead of curling up and giving up, GIVE through prayer and sharing of our lives, talents and means. Through this giving, we will find the escape God promises in every situation.
Just moments ago, I saw the two gifts that we had made up for the two other people in my husband's former department. They're not wonderful expensive gifts as we did not have the money for wonderful, expensive gifts. It is a very simple gift, just homemade cookie mixes in a jar but they were made up with lots of love to give to family and a few friends. To make them more "festive", I'd found some cute labels and found some material with snowman cowboys on them to decorate the lids.
Anyway, I stared at the jars for a moment because you see one of them is designated for the man who terminated my husband on Friday
I mentioned the jars to my husband. Yes, those were supposed to be for his two former co-workers. There was a pause and I knew he was struggling as I was at that moment. It is hard to give something very simple to someone who has hurt you and yet... isn't that exactly what God did for us?
That "little" battle has been won, B2Y. We CANNOT allow things like bitterness, anger and revenge to take root in our hearts. We must forgive and one of the ways we demonstrate forgiveness is to give. It is often easy to give to our friends or even strangers but we must also be willing to demonstrate a "(for)giving" heart to those who may have hurt us.
So we made a decision. On Tuesday, when we are scheduled to go back and finalize everything, my husband and I will come bearing gifts... not because we expect anything in return but simply because we refuse to live like the world which says "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". We want to live God's way and give with love.
Oh how it thrills my heart to hear of the decision made to give in the face of affliction. Truly our message is one of forgiveness and unconditional love not revenge and holding grudges. Anytime we are willing to forgive, turn the other cheek and continue giving even when hurt etc, we are indeed manifesting the fullness of the love of Christ. God certainly smiled when he heard of the choice you two made to not become hard and bitter but instead to manifest His love. Thanks so much for sharing and my prayers are will you two.
"When the pressures of this life become so strong they are ready to engulf and overwhelm us, that is when we must cast off the tendency to panic or collapse and instead rise up in prayer and do what appears the craziest thing to do which is to give. Prayer and giving allow us to endure affliction, patiently bear pressure and withstand the crushing oppression the enemy employs to steal, kill and destroy."
Thank you for reconfirming this for me. I have always believed "if you have a need meet someone else's need" but sometimes due to "the pressures of this life" I have temporarily forgotten the importance of that.