Encouragement

Hard pressed on all sides

As I alluded in a previous post, the past couple of months have been rough in our house.   Between our daughter being sick off and on, our son struggling to sleep well on his own and daily pushing us to our limits, it feels as if we have been hard pressed on all sides.  It seems as if yet again we are on the battle lines, fighting for our souls against a very real and tangible enemy looking to steal, kill, and destroy us as well as distract us from our heavenly father.

I find myself weary and worn and sometimes ready to throw in the towel.  Ready to give up this fight and give in and say, “I’m done – you win,”

Luckily God protects my heart through friends, family, song, a verse and I don’t stay in the defeated stance for long.  It seems as if God is stirring up this pot I call my heart.  He’s been stirring it for a while now, though I’m not quite sure to what end but it seems as if he’s preparing me and my family for something.  A while back I posted that it seemed as if God was planning something new for me in light of my renewed physical health.

At the time I wrote that, I think I felt that the something new was referring to ministry of some sort.  So I guess you’d understand my surprise and frustration with what my current reality has been.  All of my energy and time has been spent on the battle raging in my home.  Some days I get minutes of time to myself in a 14 hour day.  I cynically say, really God?  This is the something new?  Where’s my break?  Don’t I deserve a break after all I (we) have been through? Will this ever let up?  What am I doing wrong that is bringing all of this upon me? I’d love to know…

And yet through a good friend I am reminded of the below passage:

2 Corinthians 4:7

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show
that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
We are hard pressed on all sides, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.”
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body,
For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake,
so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.
Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

My friend reminded me that Paul uses strong language saying that suffering is inevitable.  1 Peter says that we shouldn’t be surprised at our trials – we should actually expect them.

1 Peter 4:12-13

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ,
so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

And yet, so many times we stand amazed at why we are continuing to struggle.  We often think that our struggle should come to an end and we should at least get an acceptable break between the difficult times.  But where in the Bible does it say that?  It seems as if the Bible says the exact opposite.  We should expect difficulty here on this Earth and actually rejoice in the midst of it.

I spent some time re-reading some of my old posts that I wrote in the midst of extreme pain and my heart was reminded and encouraged of God’s sovereignty and relentless love that He showed me in such a personal way during that time.  I was reminded of how loved I felt during one of the most difficult times in my life.

Even though I haven’t liked what’s been happening recently, in my heart I have had peace knowing that my God is a loving and personal God that won’t lead me somewhere and leave me all alone to struggle.  If he leads me somewhere hard, His love and grace will be stronger.  I’ve been challenged to continue to carve out time every day to give thanks for the blessings that occur every day.

I’ve realized lately that if we wait to give thanks until we experience what we feel are “good” times, we can miss the little blessings that God wants us to see in the midst of our trials.  This life will be hard but luckily we have a loving and caring Shepherd that has walked ahead of us and prepared the way as well as he promises to walk through it with us.

He is with you everyday regardless of what you are going through, the question is “do you see Him?”

I pray that we can “see” God everyday and as this life pushes on us, I pray that we can lean into our Heavenly father and allow Him to push back for us.

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