Yesterday I sat with more than 1,000 women listening to a man tell his story. I know this story to be true for my husband and I know this man personally.
He has followed Christ for many years. Riding on the wave of a booming real estate market, when the bubble burst, so did his life... as he knew it. He had to file for bankruptcy and within days his wife informed him that she'd had an affair, was now pregnant by that man and was filing for divorce. I remember the day my husband and some other men from the church went to his house to help him move out his things. What a sad day it was. He had lost his family, his fortune and his home. Seems like sort of a modern-day Job doesn't it and yet who could have imagined what would rise up from out of those ashes?
From these ashes, a ministry emerged. A ministry of hope for those encountering life-shattering events such as divorce, bankruptcy and foreclosure. Hope for those who have no hope. The other night my friend and I talked about another life-shattering event which can also lead to divorce, bankruptcy and foreclosure... illnesses like cancer or AIDS and crippling injuries. He agreed and now I am listed as a resource person for those who need to know that even in the face of illness and injury, God longs to embrace them and He is with them in the storm.
Only Our God can take the ashes of our lives and transform them into something beautiful for His honor and glory. Only God can do this and the world is crying out to know this.
So many times as Christians we try to preach a Gospel which rejects any sort of pain or suffering. My friends, nine days ago I held the hand of a woman whom I had just met who was in hospice. At that moment, she wasn't interested in someone preaching to her about healing. She had prayed for healing and knew God would heal her whether it was in this world or the next so that was not the issue. Do you know what she did need? She needed to be reminded that even though her body was consumed by a fearsome disease, it was well with her soul. God was walking with her... even in the Valley of The Shadow of Death.
When she heard I'd come, even though she was weak and tired, she called out, "Is that the cancer survivor? I want to see her!". These two cancer survivors joined hands and together talked about the love, mercy, grace and faithfulness of God. Together we remembered that the God who was with us during chemo, the God who was with us during rads, the God who heard us when we would cry out in agony and despair in the darkness of the night and the God who looked at our bald heads and disfigured faces and declared us to be "beautiful princesses" who were precious in His sight. We did not speak of these things because someone else had told us about them. We spoke with authority on these things because we have experienced them.
God does not require all of us to go through everything, however, you need to remember that when He does allow you to experience hardships in this world, it is just not to build your faith in Him. It is also to increase the faith of others. It is to be a witness, a living testimony that God is BIGGER than anything we can ever encounter and that when we cry out to Him, when we follow Him, He will never leave us or forsake us... even in the desert or even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
This is Our God! He takes the ashes in our lives and transforms them into a beautiful testimony. Did my friend want to go through all of those things? No. He didn't want to do that anymore than I wanted to deal with serious health issues. However both he and I had to experience them. You also have unpleasant things which you will have to deal with in this life as well. We are not exempt from this, even though we are Christians. The question is, will you allow these things to destroy you or will you allow them to draw you closer to God and use them to help others to draw closer to God as well? The choice is up to you.
thank you for this reminder be blessed
K, i can not think of a better resource person. Whilst ive done life with you, you have seen my countless struggles that i have faced by choices i have made and by my health issues be it the body ones or the head ones, and time and time again, you have ALWAYS been that shoulder for me to cry one and you have reminded me that my daddy STILL wants to hold me no matter how horrible and disillusioned i feel.
OR-SUM blog ;)