Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
We moved to Texas 2 years ago, from California, and one of the things I enjoy the absolute most is the extreme weather. It gets me up out of bed in the morning and compels me to stay up late at night in wait. The lightening is magnificent, sometimes trailing across the sky in a mad dash to the finish line across the other end. Other times it is if you are sitting inside an explosion and for a split second all around you is a brilliant shade of fire white your eyes have never seen before.
I do not however anticipate with such glee, the difficult storms of life that can overwhelm all of us at times. For the first 27 years of my life I powered through the storms of life, riding the coat tails of my leftover will from each previous storm I happened to survive. Willing my way through feeling worthless, being a child of divorce. Willing my way through the pain of rejection from a boyfriend I was desperately looking for affirmation from. Willing my way through fear of being abandoned, by pulling myself up by me bootstraps, paving my own way to true independence. Or so I thought. A lifetime of self dependence, for me, ended after decades of self reliance when I found myself no longer able to muster up the strength to continue through the storms. I was living in a shelter, I had lost custody of my daughter, and I was living a shameful life of drugs, partying and complete darkness.
I guess you could say the real me had gone missing for years. When a person is reported missing at sea, the Coast Guard responds by conducting a search and rescue mission. Depending on the odds of the persons survival after a certain period of time spent on the mission, they will either continue the mission or determine there is little to no chance of survival and call off the mission.
In my mind, when I was in that shelter, I had no chance of survival, no chance of ever recovering from where my choices had landed me. None. But by the grace of God, He refused to call off the rescue mission.
After giving my life back to Christ, surrendering to him being in control, almost everything in my life changed. Except for one thing. My circumstances. I still had to deal with consequences of all of my past choices, but facing them was no longer something I would have to face alone or figure out how to get through by myself.
I grew up thinking Christians thought they were so much better than everybody else. Like their lives were so awesome because they joined the cool club. I thought their motto was “Join our club and life will be great!” But I was so wrong. Life is not supposed to be great as a Christian, our faith is great because of what we believe God has done for us. He gave us a chance to live in a way where we experience Him, His love for us and that we would never be separated from Him, even though we could never do anything to deserve such kindness.
The one thing Christianity promises is that we will suffer. It also promises that we will never suffer alone, and that from our suffering will come good.
Does that mean we are excited to suffer? Does it mean we are happy when we are suffering? I don’t think so. But hopefully it means that when we are suffering, going through difficulties, we can find hope in the promise that it is not the end of our road, and that we can trust that God will carry us through.
Today’s prayer challenge:
Being a believer means that God equips us to face life’s difficulties, knowing that He is for us and we are not fighting alone. Sometimes we need to be reminded of this. I challenge you today, to take 5 minutes to give thanks to God that He is with you and write down any ways that you have tried to control outcomes of your circumstances without consulting Him, as if you were facing things alone. Ask for forgiveness in areas where you have taken the lead without prayer first.
Father God I am grateful that you promise I am never alone. I have been faced with difficulties that I feel I will never overcome. You know my will to fight, but God I have taken advantage of that, thinking I am in control. Please forgive me for taking the lead in areas of my life where you are trying to lead me. God show me where I can submit outcomes I have been trying to control, to your will. Thank you that do not remove storms but that you guide me through them that I would grow closer to you and experience the love you have for me.
In Christ’s name, Amen.