Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
The years we walked through the most difficult part of this trial I don't think I believed these words. I had hope of getting published and though most of my strength was spent in this trial I still continued to attend a conference here and there and write. Doing those things gave me a sense of balance to some extent. Hope that I wasn't letting go of my dream even though it was obvious that it was not my time to be published.
My family and I had walked through a spiritually devastating desert for eleven years. My oldest daughter had been diagnosed with a severe learning disability known as NLD (non-verbal learning disability similar to Asperger’s Syndrome). For more information you can go to http://www.nldline.com/ In addition to that she’d developed complicated depression and anxiety issues. She was eleven years old and in fifth grade. My youngest was eight at the time and so very scared about what was happening to her big sister.
This past September my oldest turned twenty-two and though the problems persist they are not nearly as severe and she was able to get her high school diploma which is a huge accomplishment. She's even thinking about the possibility of college. We learned to trust God no matter what. Without Christ in our lives, our church, and many friends, I can’t see anyway we would have made it this far. But I’m a big believer in the power of prayer and in the power of hope. I even have a carved sculpture in my office that simply says, HOPE. But I didn't always feel that way. Jesus slowly worked in me until I could let go of fear. It took a really long time.
My youngest is now nineteen and a missionary with Youth With A Mission. She did her training in YWAM Texas and chose this route rather than college for now. She's been to Guatemala, Sri Lanka, various places in the states and will be headed to two other countries next year. God is good even when our situations are not so hot.
Several years ago, Robin Lee Hatcher, recommended I buy a copy of a daily devotional originally published in1925. That devotional is titled, Streams in the Desert, written by L.B. Cowman, and updated in modern language by James Reimann. Streams in the Desert is relief for the parched soul.
One of the devotions in this book begins with Psalm 46:1- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. The first sentence: “Why didn’t God help me sooner?”
And then later the text continues:
"I once heard the following statement from a simple old man, and I have never forgotten it: "When God tests you, it is a good time to test Him by putting His promises to the test and then claiming from Him exactly what your trials have made necessary."
The text continues again: "There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is simply to try to get rid of the trial, and then to be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever before experienced, and to accept it with delight as an opportunity of receiving a greater measure of God's divine grace.
"In this way, even the Adversary becomes a help to us, and all the things that seem to be against us turn out to assist us along our way. Surely this is what is meant by the words "in all these thing we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Rom. 8:37). A.B. Simpson Page 342.
Let me say it can be very hard to learn lessons when our children are suffering. I don’t even want to think about learning a lesson in those circumstances. I just want results. Fast! But looking back over the past eleven years I have learned much. Okay, what you may say have you learned through this long, long, trial? Here’s my short list:
My long list begins something like this:
1) The need to let God work in a situation that I feel I need to control. That’s a tough one.
2) Wrestling God for a blessing and what that really means.
3) The need to REALLY take care of yourself even when things are awful because a long term illness of any kind will exhaust you as a caregiver and parent.
4) Hanging on to hope when you can’t find it.
5) Asking friends to stand in the gap and pray when you can’t pray one more word.
6) Finding peace in the Word, on a walk, in prayer, or in "being still."
Through all our trials as a family Christ has always been there for us even when we didn’t know it or feel his presence. Think about your trials and your “dry times.” What was it that you thirsted for? How did God provide?
Every morning on my way to work I pass a fountain that says: “Thirsty and ye gave me drink.” I roll my window down and listen to the calm of the water. It’s really nice when I get a red light and can enjoy it for a minute longer. As we dwell in this month of thanksgiving I ask that you would thank God for the many blessings that he bestows upon each of us each day even when we are unaware of them. I also ask that you pray for my family as we enter a new phase of our journey together. We treasure every prayer.
How has God shown you hope? What scripture strengthens your spirit? What song brings encouragement?
This weekend we went to a Casting Crowns concert: Come to the Well Tour. The words to this song that hit home.Lyrics to Set Me Free