Every Christian can point to times in their lives where they see mountain tops and valleys with some smooth mundane roads in between. This particular post is about being in a valley and yet God providing a glimmer of hope that helped me press on....
We had just moved onto the southside of Indianapolis, our boys were now almost 2 and almost 4, and found a nice apartment that actually had what we thought was a good amount of space. It had a good layout and was going to work. I was working full time and hubby was focusing on his school full time and taking care of the munchkins. This is following his end to the youth ministry I spoke of in the last blog, so we were moving to the south side to be in the neighborhood of our new local church - the church Superman grew up attending. Things did not end well at that ministry and we were emotionally drained of ministry. Our pastor recommended we take a time of rest and healing before we began jumping into new ministries again and we whole heartedly agreed - we needed a time to be refreshed.
Our first night in this new apartment was middle of October. We had an awesome moving crew and got everything set up for our first night. We were just barely falling asleep when we heard the sound of water running. It was too loud to brush off and our investigation was short lived. You see, just outside of our bedroom door in the hallway there was a shower - not the appropriate kind, but a shower of water spraying down from the ceiling onto the floor in the hallway. We actually had the humor about us to laugh at the madness of having something like that happen the first night in a new apartment! Maintenance came and I forget all the details but the furnace was a water based furnace and the pipe above the hallway had broken - hence the shower. They left fans and said they'd be back. Now realize this means our source of heat is not working, but it's October so not too big of an issue.
This was fixed within a few days and we worked to get settled in. Unfortunately, a couple weeks later, the heat broke again. I don't recall the problem but the result was a sticky mess. A part had to be ordered we were told. We reasoned that it was November and cold outside, and therefore inside. We had two little guys and needed heat. They reluctantly provided one space heater.
This of course was not acceptable to us for many safety reasons and yet they refused to do anything else for us. We took up camp on my husband's aunt's couches and living room floor for the next 3 weeks - over Thanksgiving. Meanwhile growing frustrated we contacted the health department and a lawyer. The apartment complex had been adamant that we would not be released from our contract.
It's amazing what results a professionally stern letter on attorney letter head bring about. We received notice that we were being let out of our lease but we had to be out by December 1st.
We received this notice on November 28th.
November 29th, I began the process of my 2nd miscarriage.
Did I mention hubby and I were both in college that semester too?
I was overwhelmed. Exhausted. Depleted. And frustrated through all of it. Why in the world was all of this happening?
At work on my desk I had a desk calendar with a Scripture reference for each day. I don't recall which day this occurred, but one morning I sat down at my desk and began all of my log ins, and tore off the previous date to reveal the correct one and on that date the verse given was this, "
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed." 2 Corinthians 4:8
I remember a wash of relief passing over me and feeling tension just melt away. 1 and 2 Corinthians are of course written by the Apostle Paul and if you aren't familiar, Paul's story will always bring our own stress or persecutions into perspective. Paul had just about everything possible done to him because of his cause for Christ's name to be shared. Paul was in the middle of encouraging the church in Corinth to press on and remember their cause and he wrote starting in verse 7:
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you."
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed?! Christ will not allow us to be crushed!
I personally despise the saying, "Christ won't give you more than you can handle."
I don't believe it. It's not true. You can't find any evidence for that message in the Bible.
But! Do you know what message IS there?? That Christ WILL MOST CERTAINLY give you more than you can handle because it is then when we learn to lean on Him. The footsteps poem? That person had more than they could bear - they couldn't go on - so Christ carried them. It was too much for them.
Check this out - this later in the book of 2 Corinthians. Chapter 12 starting at verse 7. Paul is sharing with the Corinthians that God had given him the ability to do awesome things for the purpose of His glory...
"So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this,that it should leave me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boat all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Paul had given his life to God in every way - he was solely dependent upon God for everything including his next meals and lodging as he traveled. He was beaten, stoned, put in prison, house arrest, shipwrecked, while serving God. In our culture today, we're thinking - wow - pretty awesome testimony - God must be so pleased with him! Yeah I bet so! So God rewards him with... a thorn? A messenger of Satan to harass me? To keep him humble? Gee thanks Lord. This is encouraging as someone pursuing ministry. This is how I'm repaid? Ok so get over yourself now and read that 2nd part. Paul PLEADED that God remove the trial, the thorn, but instead God replied that His grace was sufficient for Paul because His power is made perfect in our weakness. Therefore, Paul says to bring on the awful things because when he is weak in his flesh, he is strong in Christ.
YES! We can deduce from these passages that God WILL GIVE US more than we can handle because it is then that HE receives the most glory.
My other blogs shared some rough times for me in my journey with God and this was another one where I just truly wondered WHY.
Because when we have nothing left of ourselves, it is when we lean on God. It is when the fire gets the hottest is when the most refining is done.
Ever heard of the Christian walk as being refined like gold? Malachi chapter 3 uses that term. Ever looked into what that means? Gold has to be put in the hottest point of the fire for all of the impurities to burn off - only the pure gold will survive and remain. Do you know how the refiner can tell when it's done? When he can see his reflection in the pure gold that has remained.
God will put us in the hottest part of the fire, to endure trials we could have never imagined we could survive if put to the test, because it is there that He is refining us - He is teaching us to trust Him and His will. He is our Creator - He knows what is best for us and He knows what will bring Him the most glory. His power is made perfect in our weakness.
2 Cor 4:8, "For we are hard pressed on every side..........
but not crushed."
Trust that in the trials of your life that Christ will not allow you to be crushed.
For His Glory