The impossible setting:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick but hope without faith pulls the plug and watches the heart die. Lord…that our desire would be to make every act an act of worship, give us a broken heart, but give us one that refuses to be impressed by impossible circumstances.
The fall season has now arrived as an empty handed messenger. The income we’d hoped to see remains the income we hope to see eventually. Until then, we’ve stopped paying our mortgage in order to cover essentials. Better to face foreclosure in the next few months than to face the next few weeks without food and utilities. On the hands of another messenger, a five fingered version of our own Goliath, came a six figure lawsuit that was filed against me and set in motion last month. It’s a long story about rights, the rights of a bank to pay an attorney to convince a judge that a man with nothing can pay back everything from that nothing.
This wilderness continues to break my heart by barely failing to kill it. So dimly lit were the days of the last few weeks that hope deferred became hope unplugged. Yet those same days were joyfully dark enough to expose the timid faith resting on my lampstand – faith like a bulb so loose in its socket that it flickers with every distant roar from a toothless lion. Saintly upon the floor or sinfully beneath it, my days were spent with hands cupped, a faithless smile, and a memory that lasts like penny gum – asking if He’s still generous – generous enough to drop another coin in the gum machine. But instead of a coin He deposited a word in my heart.
“The sweet testimony of My extravagance is alive in you but it lives in your heart like an orphan.”
With an income that appears to be lost on the horizon, I cannot defend, I cannot replace and I cannot out swim a tidal wave born from the aftershock of my failure. All I have in this moment is that word to cover my needs. What does a generous God do with my sloppy faith?
Tour the prison:
I’ve never been bold like John the Baptist but I take great comfort in knowing that he was once afraid like me. Depression is a spirit that flings false testimony upon the mind like hot tar in the heat of discomfort. From Herod’s prison that spirit asked John if Jesus was really the one. And from the prison of my need it asks instead if that same one has left me for dead. The hand of depression holds circumstance like a chisel. Its skill is not in denying the truth but in chipping away at its context until the truth is no longer welcome. Like little bites of rotten food that eventually wrench the gut and gain our full attention, so the enemy uses false context to painfully remind us of our truthful circumstances.
If we listen, as I listened, then every missed mortgage payment, collection call and deputy at my door becomes a reminder of what God is NOT doing. The circumstances are accurate but no longer reside in the context of truth (what God IS doing). As a result, my outward faith toward God shifts inward toward me and eventually in the opposite direction toward the enemy (“Oh no…God isn’t meeting my needs, what shall I do? Who will help?”) The enemy builds prisons from the bricks of agreement. If he can gain our attention, he’ll start asking questions that are tough to ignore. For example, here’s one that I’ve heard recently:
“You’ll remain faithful even if God doesn’t rescue your family. But if He doesn’t…will it not prove that faith actually makes little difference in your circumstance?”
Don’t answer! We’ve been had…
The temptation to answer that is strongly linked with our desire to defend God as if we were David and the enemy was Goliath. The grit of an honest answer is our way of facing that villain but it’s only a trap loaded with inspiring bait. This villain is not a giant, he’s a pickpocket who steals everything while looking us in the eye and gently listening to our passionate response. The enemy was never really Goliath or the Philistines but rather the unbelieving heart of Saul and his army who feared them. So let’s be very clear, in the context of depression as a tactic… engaging in conversation with the enemy IS agreeing with the enemy. Goliath represents the opportunity we have to trust God for the impossible – a battle designed to break our heart and build our faith. Whereas the real enemy “unbelief” is simply designed to kill the heart until it is dead.
It was my willingness to engage the enemy that made the difference, not how I answered his question. Once the door was opened for conversation his questions became my own, turning my heart inward and launching a retreat that rendered me kingdom-useless for weeks. (“What have I done? What will people say who’ve seen God move, but now question my sanity? If foreclosure occurs where will we spend Christmas? How will we homeschool our kids?” etc…) He used my integrity to draw me into a battery of questions that surely led to unbelief. I literally felt sick for weeks.
Remember this…God isn’t leading us into conversations with the enemy. Those questions are not puzzles for us to solve, they are faith-grenades that we must avoid. It’s not a question of rebuke or casting anything out, it’s a question of knowing that he’s been rebuked, cast out and put behind Jesus. God is saying consider the source not the content. The questions are irrelevant – keep moving forward because answering irrelevant questions will always and only blow us off course.
Eyes ahead please…
If we consider the declaration “get behind me Satan” to mean “you’ll never again receive my focus” we begin to understand why our only option according Proverbs 4:25 is to look directly ahead. But it’s not a point-n-shoot trajectory. Knowing where “ahead” begins comes only from knowing where you’ve been. This is why remembering what God has done (our testimony) provides direction for knowing where He wants to go (the spirit of prophecy). The testimony of Jesus (who lives in us) is the spirit of prophecy. Rev19:10 But we need an unwavering belief in that knowledge (our faith) to generate forward progress – the substance that propelled David toward Goliath while everyone around him fainted.
Without being commanded, David stepped willingly into what God presented, an impossible circumstance that by faith he stewarded to victory. He was able to do this by prophesying victory over Goliath based on testimony “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Sam 17:37 God is a good provider, so we wait diligently on our break-through. But while waiting we must steward what He’s already given us, the fertile environment for break-through to occur (the setting). We co-labor in the order of responsibility, our assignment is to fight the battle and God’s responsibility is to win the battle. We declare the victory by faith and He establishes our faith by the victory (for His glory). But it never happens if we forget the testimony that lives in our heart… because it lives there like an orphan.
Note from the King (as spoken to my heart):
You’ve been searching the skies for a cloudburst while standing in a pool of water – you don’t have to talk me into providing for you. Instead, embrace the depth of this struggle and steward it well. My water is gathered and stored here in your lowest place. Stop asking for rain and plant the seeds that I’ve already given you. And from the rich wet soil beneath your feet will spring trees of living sacrifices among the weeds. With a renewed mind I have given you this wilderness to civilize – With the light of men I have given you this darkness to illuminate – With my leaven I’ve given you this fire to make everything you touch rise with you. And having been crushed into salt, it’s with my hand that I will scatter you and make savory the culture that surrounds you.
A broken heart is good but it does not relieve us from the responsibility to live by faith. Only by a broken heart that’s full of faith are we able to face the impossible moment set before us, and steward it well. Thanks dear friends for your continued prayers. Blessings…
If you need encouragement or prayers please email: firstname.lastname@example.org Or connect with me on facebook, twitter and google+
You always seem to deliver that on-time word! May the Lord Our God continue to use and bless you….
Thank you Alex – really appreciate your encouragement!
Kevin….all I can say is WOW! I’m not saying that in a WOW! How awesome and I am so happy for you kind of WOW…but a wow of shock, surprise, and empathy. I know many Christians are having a hard time….and some are going through life shattering circumstances. I don’t really know how to respond to this post…I empathize with you as I go through my own…may I be blunt? Thanks….my own crap! I know how it feels to have a downcast soul. I pray that God would make right was has been wrong…and that His will and plan through all of this would work itself out to your good. Be blessed!
Thanks Cherie, i know you have been through some crazy difficult challenges recently. I’m encouraged by your faithful walk and always love that Cherie candor. Your prayers are deeply appreciated – you are a blessing to me.I will continue praying for you as well. Please stay in touch my friend.
Praying and battling it out next to you friends.
It was 13 years from the time Joseph was sold off until the time he was brought into Pharaoh’s house. 13 years forgotten, and yet he wasn’t. God never forgot him there in a foreign land, in prison, in need of rescue. Neither are you forgotten.
Sarah, all i can say is how grateful Holly and I are to know you – i know those prayers are sweet aroma to our Lord -thank you so very much friend. We have hung on the life of Joseph many days over the last three years – what a wonderful way to encourage us. You are a blessing! Thank you sister
I am someone who totally identifies with you given where my country (Malawi) is at, I guess, like many other countries.
But I am learning some stuff that the Lord is beginning to challenge in my thinking…and because I enjoy blogging, I am seriously thinking of using that as a way out. The resources are below
http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio (start with “You’ve Already Got It). You will be blessed. I know I am.
http://www.blogsuccess.com (they have a free membership)
Here is the thing that God gave me when facing financial and health trials,,,,B.A.T.T.L.E. Bring Attention To The Lord’s Excellence. It’s not always my default response but I know God understands when we get down, and feel hopeless, depressed, etc.. when the battle seems forever long but if we could bring attention to God and not our problems it would shut the enemy up or drive him crazy .That is the lesson God is teaching me and my family. Thank you for sharing your journey. Thank you for sharing your heart and sharing encouraging words that God is giving you. I believe as long and hard as the battle has been for you and your family, God has a bigger deliverance than you could imagine. Praying for God to break through your circumstances and rout the enemy and manifest the victory He already had planned out before this all began. I find great comfort in the fact that God knows every single detail of our lives before we do and HE plans deliverance before we knew we needed it.
May God bless you and your family with a special delight that would leave no other explanation than it was all God.
Patty that means so much to me and my family. It does literally feel like a battle with many different weapons – some that have caught us off guard initially. Our hope is that God would be seen in all of this to encourage others to stand and keep their eyes on Jesus. Your words of encouragement have brightened and lifted my day & your prayers are coveted. Thanks for taking time to share yourself with us. Bless you friend
I know a little of your recent background and situation, but I had no idea it had escalated to the point where despair and hopelessness became your unwelcome visitors. Yet you are so free to give of your heart and time to weary and failing pilgrims on their own respective roads of travel to the promised land while still deeply engaged yourself in the battle before the coming victory.
This scripture verse just came to mind: Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon (Psalm 31:24, The Message). I’m not sure if this will provide you any additional encouragement, but I offer it to you with the hope that it somehow will.
I pray that out of your seemingly impossible situation you will be a very real source of encouragement to others who are on similar paths. Your pain will not be wasted. God never wastes a hurt.
Thomas i really appreciate you taking time to share what God placed on your heart for us – It does help and really stirs my faith! That verse is one for the memory banks i believe. It is hard to spill these personal things into the world but our prayer along side yours is that God would indeed use these things to keep others who are afraid from fainting. You are a blessing to me brother – thanks so much!
Kevin, you and your family are in my prayers. I, as well, have spent the past year getting hit by trial after trial after trial. A downcast soul and depressed spirit are very familiar to me. I will continue to pray that God will pour out His blessings upon you and give you the faith to remain strong until He reveals those blessings. May He respond to your prayers quickly…
Thank you Lauren for sharing your precious heartfelt thoughts – it always resonates when you know your fellow pilgrim has been crushed and yet has remained faithful. I receive those prayers and every bit of your encouragement- what blessing you are.
Aaargh, Kevin… man I wish I could sit across a table from you and encourage you. The problems you’re wrestling with parallel my own from the spiritual sense so much, even though the literal, physical circumstances creating it are vastly different.
Because of that, there is nothing trite or easy to say to make anything better, even your attitude… this is one of those “Jesus or nothing” places in your life.
I’ve been in a couple of those in the last 5 years. I’m gonna say something that sounds craptastic at face value…
In every one of those situations, it seemed like God had failed me. No answered prayer, no voice from heaven. Petition, fasting, searching the word of God… all to no avail. You scream at a sky clouded by fear, anger and disbelief, and your voice is the only thing that seems to echo back to you, IF you can hear it over the screaming shouts and accusations of a demonic hoarde who wants nothing more than to rub your nose in your apparent failure and remind you that God can’t be trusted, prayers don’t have power, there aren’t miracles, there aren’t last-minute saves. God might be there, but He’s capricious and does what He wants when He wants, suck it up and quit crying.
But man, its so untrue. I can’t point to one definitive, tangible shred of evidence to back that up. But with every failure, every perceived loss, every opportunity for God to shine in my hurt, fear and confusion, and every instance where He didn’t… despondency grows parallel to doubt and hopelessness and yet in the midst of it, God does that unimaginable renewing of your spirit that makes no sense at all, that removes your ability to quit in fear and resignation and screams “God is FAITHFUL, don’t give up” into your heart and spirit.
I know you know all of this. My encouragement is less in a word from God or some piece of life changing wisdom. It’s more of a hug from someone who is there with you, shares the same feelings, and pushes past fear though occasionally my heart is breaking and my world is crashing around me. God sustains, even when I’m only the dried up, empty husk of anything alive.
But I know I’m going to hear a song from you about the faithfulness of God. He’s brought you too far, kept you too close to the flame for too long. The desert will end, the pain will have purpose, your faith will be stronger, your reach further, your ministry more compelling and your praise louder, greater, stronger and more significant. You’re winning your crown, my friend, that you’ll lay at the feet of Jesus in honor when He tells you “Well done”.
God’s faithfulness is there even when nothing seems to prove it. His protection is there when everything goes bust. When the desires of our heart tear our heart from our chest and die, broken and bleeding in front of us, when our deepest longings and hopes become irrevocably lost in the annals of time – God is still seated on His throne. He is still supreme. He is still good. He is STILL and YET working your salvation and HE WILL SAVE.
Man, I want to dance and shout this. I wish I could convey, in the middle of my own frequent brokenness and hopelessness, how much I believe this. You will see the God of Impossible Restoration (my favorite term for Him now) be exactly who He promises to be – a sustainer, a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
And you’re about to know the power of the God you serve. When you do, I want to hear about it. It’ll be a freaking awesome story.
Much love my brother.
Peter you are my brother – there is no doubt. Your words are filled with His spirit and I grab hold of every single one in agreement. In fact i will consider that a virtual hug and cup o spirit coffee! Man…I’m unable to express how much it meant that you took the time to lift me up like that. Wow… thank you sincerely brother. Funny…It’s when we might know a little more about God than we used to that we actually need more reminding that we’re still not Him – indeed! He is so good and I love the sound of those words a little bit more each time they are uttered. God bless you my dear friend. Look forward to seeing you as God provides opportunity!
Kevin, I am so sorry that you are facing this trial, but I know that you know that your Father is right there with you and he has not and will not abandon you. His blessing for you and yours is right around the corner so be expecting it at any moment! Thank you that regardless of your circumstance you are following in your Savior’s footsteps.
Thank you Diana, God is surely exposing our frailties to us at just the right time for His glory. Though it has been difficult, we are finding blessing even right now in people like you who take time to lift us up with encouragement. I sincerely appreciate you sister.
Any man having put their hand to the plow and looking back isn’t fit for the Kingdom of God. Luke 9:62 You are blazing a trail that’s swallowed up by the glory of God. You have set your face like flint and you are not looking back even though your surrounding darkness grows darker. You shine forth as brightly as gold. You are dancing in the fiery furnace and you when you emerge we will not even detect the slightest sent of cinder. In awe, we will stand back and watch the hand of God move mountains for you. And when God has delivered you from your present circumstances and you say to us, “my God is faithful.” the depth of “knowing” this truth; will bring us all to our knees.
We will worship together until……forever comes for us! Living sacrifices; We have become.
And I know the days are long and the days are evil but we will share the moments with you, our hearts and our doors are open. His glory will not be denied. Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord! He never slumbers or sleeps! WE will dance the dance of the redeemed. You will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Where two or more are gathered together in His name..there HE is! (counting heads we’re at 7 strong!) Let’s go to battle in Jesus name!
Kimi I’m absolutely floored at what God has done through you and in bringing the Henkel family to our side in this moment. Your fiery encouragement has filled our hearts with faith these last few weeks and it resonates like the shofar from the depth of your own heartbreak. God is working powerfully from that vantage point and we are blessed to be connected by His spirit. Deepest thank you for your compassion – much love from your family by spirit. Bless you sister
Kevin…sending you wings and lift. jink
Perfect! ready to fly at any moment 🙂 God’s rich blessings to you dear friend – thanks for always supporting the writing – it really matters!
I have no clever words of my own to reply to this beautiful gift of a message to us all. I do have these words from God’s heart recorded in 2 Corinthians…
“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.”
Thanks for pouring out life in the midst of your “dying”, Kevin. Truly.
Angie, reading that scripture is like sitting by the fire on a cold blustery day and just enjoying the comfort only God can give. I thank the Lord for your friendship. It would be nearly impossible to go through His refinement and training without it.
My brother from another mother all I have are my tears to put with yours and I am beginning to understand as you are that all we have is God .I do not understand I cannot explain but I have to keep knowing in my knower that you are not forgotten of GOd /
Thank you so much Heather – your words touch my heart very deeply and find me full of agreement. God is all we have and yet He is everything. He won’t forget either of us – thank you for that sweet reminder. Blessings to you my friend and sister!
I had no idea you were going through this, but I must say not only have you gleaned wisdom from Jesus, but in your hardship you reached out and gave that wisdom, that beautiful treasure, to us. I can tell you right there that I can feel God’s pleasure in His heart for you doing that, and He will not fail you. He just can’t help but show up in the midst of something that is so beautiful that it looks just like His Son…
Love ya, bro.
Thank you brother you have such joyful encouraging heart. I receive the words from it as from God’s heart. I do believe He is in this mess and will do a good work for all to see. Whatever that looks like will be to His glory. So appreciate your tender heart for others – thanks for blessing me with it and your friendship.
You’re intimacy with the Lord is a beautiful thing. My family lost practically everything back in ‘2008, both cars repoed the same week our house foreclosed, we had $700 to our name and we also were concerned about continuing to Home School our children. God provided us a mobile home to live in, and 6 weeks later a used car to drive. I won’t lie and say it was easy. It wasn’t. But God knew what He was doing! We have slowly begun to build our finances back up again. The mobile home we only had to live on for 9 months, though it seemed longer. God is good. God is Sovereign. Keep the Faith!! God Bless you and your family!
Thank you Caroline. Your story is very encouraging and reminds me to persevere – its always good to see His hand in action to know He does come through and it is tangible. It makes a difference – thank for sharing a part of your testimony with us. Like you… all we desire is to make Him famous through our testimony. Blessings to you my friend!
Thank you so much for articulating these strong, brilliant words. I’ve also been learning this lesson–not to reply back to certain questions–and it’s now obvious that despairing thoughts cannot be from an all loving God. Our walk in life isn’t easy but He wants us to continue, and we can by putting one foot in front of the other holding His hand.
Thanks Elaine for taking time out to reach out & share your heart. That’s it – the nutshell of it – move forward with eyes ahead blurring the periphery of enemy distractions. Something we are learning and relearning it seems :-). Your words are a sincere blessing to me – thank you so much!
Kevin, I actually had to read your post twice (and some areas three times) because my heart was aching at your beautiful words in spite of the agony you must feel. I keep thinking of Paul writing his letters to the Christians in the church of Ephisus (Book of Ephisians) and his intention to let them know that they were part of God’s “big picture.” It is one of my favorite books to refer to when I seem to loose direction on what I am doing in my life. Paul outlines so well God’s intention to sump in everything in Christ and his church. He points out that we all have a place in that grand scheme -if we are “in-Christ.” His plans for us don’t necessarily involve a big house, a life without the enemy knocking at our door, a life without difficulty. They will, however, provide a sense of permanent -even eternal- direction in life.
I think about what you are writing in your posts; how your life’s circumstances would put anyone in serious despair… I even had to stop to pray a few times to thank God for my life and the fruits of His sprit in it. He continues to reply that “it’s about stewarding, staying close to Him. And when circumstances seem dire and difficult or when the devil comes knocking at your door, how you respond? Who will your heart lean on?” And so I am encouraged for you. Because you are leaning on our Father to help you and he will shine that light on you and your family.
I also think of Peter, in jail… and in what a horrible and horrendous situation.. sent to jail for preaching about Jesus and sharing the good news. How an angel came to him the night before hew as sent to Herod and shone a light in the cell. The angel said to him “put on your clothes and sandals, wrap your cloak around you and follow me” (Acts 12:8). And Peter followed him out of the gates and was free. It is without a doubt that the Lord sent the angel to to rescue him and I have no doubts that the Lord will send one for you.
Be encouraged my friend. The apostoles wrote from jail themselves and shared the good news with others and God never left them.
May the Lord send the provisions you need for your family… I pray that you will be filled with the Holly Spirit and use that light for God’s purpose in your life.
Laura my heart is so very touched by the favor of friendship He has given me in you. You have such a gentle way of lifting up others that glorifies the God that inhabits you. Thank you sincerely dear friend. Regarding stewardship… My wife just got back from a mission trip to Honduras and was so moved by it that we are realizing that we must teach our children right now, without delay, that stewardship IS the work of the Lord. Stewarding our gifts and everything else including the trials – the ones we live out and ones we see right in front of us that others are living through as teaching moments and humility checks. I’m with you, Ephesians is a masterpiece at encouraging us to consider who we really are – definitely time to study it again. It means the world that you would take the time to encourage me in such a well thought out manner. I cannot thank you enough for it and your kind prayers. I am blessed to know you Laura.
Kevin, even through a reply your words are always kind and very touching. I am sure it’s difficult to imagine the impact your faith is having in many people’s lives. I recently read a statistic that 1 in 150 post readers will actually comment… and by looking at your comments…can you imagine how many seeds you are planting?? It’s incredible. God does work in mysterious ways and through many trials (while we often don’t’ know why) we become the example for others to see His work in action. I am the one that is blessed for the significance in your words during the past 20 posts have made a big impact in my heart.
Thank you Jesus for bringing together such an awesome family of blood bought siblings to lift each other by the power of your name. Thank you Laura I am so blessed to have you as my sister in Him.
You have a prophetic gift! I can only encourage you to listen and continue to be humble. His wisdom is a deep well! Thank you for your willingness to share your story of faith.
Thank you brother, it is always a joy to hear from you. Listening more than ever and realizing more than ever how little i know. Writing is a bit like swimming around the iceberg yearning to know how vast it is just below. Bless you my friend.
Kevin, I don’t know you, and I just happened to stumble across this blog on G+ this morning. Our family has been there, (is there) too – although we came from different circumstances. I find it encouraging to know that others are in this process of “refinement” with us, (I swear, this is what it feels like). -And I was blessed to have been given the opportunity a little over a year ago to make a short 6-minute film of my processing from this ongoing experience of being ’emptied’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiMeVcuH08w -Also, just a few days ago I wrote a small piece about impossible hope: http://amydmartin.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/lost/ I hope both offer encouragement, (and a strange sort of ‘solidarity’). Reading your blog offers me encouragement in knowing that we are not alone in the experience of being sifted and refined. There are some low lows, for sure – but the gratitude gained in this process is something that is so entirely filling. Hang in there, brother! You’re not alone.
Amy I cant wait to check out what you’ve done by His inspiration – thanks for sharing. There is a solidarity among those who are truly being refined – it touches an understanding that we share what it’s like to be the friend who always seems to be in need – never wanting to impose on others but always feeling that it just hovers in relationships like a cloud. That solidarity is real and we have come to cherish it with others who are being refined in heavy duty ways. You have blessed me today and i thank God for that. Please stay in touch – sincerely
No matter where we are in this life, there have been times when we all have been convinced that as we are walking along and we happen to look back in the sand, we only see one set of footprints. We may remember walking alongside someone but its been awhile and those footprints have been washed away from our memories and even literally by the sea. So we continue on walking and looking and thinking we are alone. Satan will without a doubt remind us that we are now alone, and even convince us that we never were walking with anyone, for they have left us, there is but one set of footprints now. Then as you so eloquently have reminded us all, we remember, our focus returns and we realize we have been seeing what the enemy wanted us to see, but not what truly is going on. We were tricked by the enemy, he had no power over us, but lying and trickery, and as we engaged his trickery, we got tricked and began to believe what he said.
Praise God for your message, we should not even engage in that conversation with the enemy. Satan has been defeated, his trickery exposed. We remember Christ, His victory, His Love, His message, His Passion. He is able to remind us that, in those times in our lives when it is the hardest, that those footprints, which we no longer focus on, accept to see that we are now walking along a beautiful beach, were only His as He carried us along. His Love continues to overwhelm me, as I know it does you brother. Our experience says that this was the case all along, that Jesus never left, and had we neever listened to the enemy, our hearts, our faith, our known love of our Father, would of told us that NO WAY WOULD CHRIST LEAVE US. I know you have not felt Christ has left you, however, your point is valid that for all of us if we waste our time and engage that enemy, he will change our focus as we engage him and can lead us to temporary depression or despair. Thank you Lord for your never ending love, and may we all never forget that you carry us all of our lives, for it is by your strength that we are able to be bold for you now and for all eternity. As much as I like the poem, I now think that we still put to much emphsis on our own strength to think that at anytime in our lives, that we are able to walk along by our own strength, and thus basically all of our lives Christ is carrying us, and if we only focus on what is ahead we will realize this, but if we loose focus, we will look back and only see that one set of footprints, and doubt, can and will raise if ugly head.
Thank you Sam for having such a desire to serve God as an encourager to me and many others – your wisdom comes from God. I suppose the slightly poetic verse that God impressed upon me was for any of us to know that darkness is actually a gift that provides a place of worship and praise unlike few others. It allows our offering of those things to be even sweeter to Him. But you are right we have to be careful not to take on the weight of that calling in our own strength. Blessings to you… one of my most beloved brothers.
My heart breaks for what you and your family are going through… still. Your words so well describe my battle these last four years. I could have written much of your post…metaphorically speaking. In fact, it was the subject of my prayer while driving home from work this afternoon. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
In John 6:29 Jesus said, “the work of God is this, to believe in the One He has sent.” I searched Crosswalk.com for the number of times the word “believe” is used in the Gospels — 80. I’m convinced that – of all the work Christ has given us to do here on this earth — the work of believing is the most basic and crucial, and also the most difficult. Over and over Jesus tells various people, “Do not fear, only believe.”
I am reminded — and have been reminded often these past few weeks – of Gabriel’s response to Daniel, when he told Daniel that the minute Daniel prayed, the answer had been given and help had been sent, but was delayed because of a spiritual battle of some sort. If it was true for Daniel, then it could be true for us as well. The answer is there, the blessing is there…. how and when it will arrive are the unknowns. “Do not fear only believe.”
If I could say anything to encourage you– and others like us who are going through similar circumstances — it would be this: think back — write them down on index cards if you have to — of all the ways He has met your needs in the past: physical, emotional, spiritual. It has helped me to mentally do this (and I REALLY should write them all down). You talked about Satan trying to get us focused off of God — and Sam talked about realizing that God’s really been there and carried us through all along– this is one way to “see” those footprints. I know it has helped me. I have a tendency to think that “OK, God’s been good and been wtih me this far… but is He going to help me this time? ” That’s another one of Satan’s lies… God has NO limits to His provision and HIs love for us!!!! Instead of that, when I make myself look back and see how God has worked in my life… my response tends more to be, “Because He’s been good and been with me this far, I have every reason to believe that He will help me this time as well!” Its hard… I know Satan used circumstances to try to get our eyes off God and what He is doing…. but it has helped me.
And Kevin, even though the last four years have been some of the most painful in my life, I have to say… even if I had magic fairy dust and could go back and change it all…. I don’t know that I would. I’ve grown through this struggle; I’m closer to God and I’ve learned to trust Him so much more than I did before. Sam and I were talking a while ago and he mentioned the song by “MercyMe” called “Bring The Rain” … which also happens to be one of my favorites. I love the verse where it says, …. “it never really ever crossed my mind to turn my back on you Oh Lord, my only shelter from these storms, but instead I’ve drawn closer through these times.” I’m closer to God now than I was four years ago… and I’m grateful.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine on you, and give you peace.” You are in my prayers… stay strong and keep your focus.
Jamie, It is such a wonderful treat to hear from you because of your open-hearted devotion to the truth & the truth giver. My struggle is the same – having seen Him move, yet now forgetting that testimony. I love the idea of writing it down on cards – that is good stuff sister and i’m going to take your advice today! Funny…the idea of going back and telling your self (several years ago) just make one decision differently and things would be different (is a tough one for me). But here we are and here we are with God having made us to rely on Him -YAY! Thanks my dear friend and sister in the lord for you wisdom, testimony and prayers. I grab hold of each one.
Hey, Kevin! I am so glad I was able to be of some encouragement to you. I believe that God never meant for us to go through our struggles alone. If we’re isolated during those dark times, when all we can see is despair around us, how can we hope to keep our perspective ?
On the flip side of that, if none of us had ever gone through difficult situations, how would we ever have the strength or perspective to encourage others?
Praying for you and your family! Hang in there! 🙂
For once, I have no encouragement to offer you if I am honest, because though I am experiencing different circumstances to yours, I am facing some of those similar tough questions posed by the enemy and unlike you, all my energy is consumed by the urgency of dealing with what I have on my plate right now. The battle seems to be going on forever and there is little respite. I know there is a Godly purpose to it all, and though my faith remains intact, my zeal is dying one little bit at a time as is my passion for the things of God. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
Please pray for me as I pray for you.
Thank you and God bless you.
Mercedes my heart breaks for you and you absolutely have my prayers. I want you to remember something today from the 23rd psalm – that God calls this valley the valley of the “Shadow” of death which means that its not actually a valley of death (we will not die). A shadow’s only job is to block light. Its good to keep walking especially when there is nothing left of our own strength. But even when we can’t walk, remember that every shadow is temporary just as our suffering. I encourage also you to soak in 2 Chronicles 20 and take in the call of Jehoshaphat’s prayer of desperation and God’s lovely answer. Main points 2 Chronicles (v.12 / v.15b / v.17 / v 20b) This always revives me and it will revive you as sure as his word is true. His strength is being perfected now in you – in your weakness. He will revive you! Stay in touch and let me know how your days are progressing – i am praying for you and with you, sister.
Thank you Kevin. You are such a kind soul, just the tone of your message has eased off the burden.
Thank you for your prayers and for your time. I will indeed read and meditate on the scripture you have kindly suggested and of course will keep in touch.
God bless you and your family as you strive to fix your eyes on Him and not your circumstances.
Thank you for writing. I agree with others on the responses here that you have a gift in your writing. God’s Spirit is evident. I am blessed to know you and call you my friend. I am praying for you and your family in this time and rejoice at how He’s using you.
Faith in our God and Savior leads us where we could not go on our own.
Thank you Bob. God has put you in my life and what a great gift you are. Much much brotherly love to you my friend and fellow pilgrim. Lets talk again soon – still praying. Thanks for you prayers my friend.
Kevin, reading your words is like taking a journey through the veil that separates us from heaven and catching the briefest glimpse of what faith is truly about. “…embrace the depth of this struggle and steward it well.” This line convicts and reminds me again that all that we walk through has a purpose. God’s plan is sovereign and ALWAYS good. God is GOOD! That truth is foundational to all we believe and do. I rest in the comfort of this truth daily, my friend, and it’s obvious that you do too.
Thank you Dineen. We are both so very blessed to have the testimony of His goodness as our closest friend, better than our Jonathan or Barnabus is the testimony of our Jesus. Bless you in your courageously faithful walk toward that joyful noise in heaven. Cant wait to hear about it on that day! Praying for it with you!
Kevin, I appreciate your openness and honesty. In the lowest single valley in my life to date, God brought hope to me through time spent with a person with a different set of challenges than me. In my case, it was a man named Tyler with serious cognitive and physical disabilities. When I was knocked down by life, and words all seemed meaningless, and my attention was focused entirely inward, God used Tyler to remind me that we aren’t made to suffer alone, and we can’t always get up on our own. His challenges dwarfed my own, which made it impossible for the joy and hope he had in Christ not to stick to me. I was looking for hope, meaning, and deliverance in complex, intangible places. God used Tyler to show me that it was hidden in plain view, all along. I’m praying for you. Maybe God has a person with a similar gift of healing in mind for you, if you’re open to it.
Thanks Nathan! just as your name sake did for David, your words convict me. It is the only reason we cant just “up and” go on home to heaven – there is work to be done and God is so good that the work itself blesses us more than the intended blessee 🙂 Great thoughts brother – thank you for sharing them.
Wow. I will be praying for you and your family. Sometimes the greatest victories follow the hardest defeats. May your paths be made straight… and soon!!! Proverbs 3:5-6
Suzanne, just wanted to let you know i’m very grateful for your encouragement and prayers – As of last week God has indeed provided for us once again because He is magnificent! Victory is great 🙂 Blessings to you my friend!
We are going through very difficult times too. Some of the issues are similar. Others are different. I could say more, but I’m speechless. Know that I’m praying.
Thank you Jennifer – I know you are very busy so it means a lot that you visited and have taken time to pray. I want you to know that as of last week God has intervened and provided for us beautifully – He is everything. Prayers answered – know that i am praying for you too friend. Also…Hope to have a new post shortly. Bless you friend 🙂
WOW, KEVIN….just WOW …you encourage even in the midst of all this brokenness. I am amazed by the faith that God is birthing, stretching in you. I know that I have shared with you my own struggle through the dark valley recently and as one who is finally seeing the light over the hill, I am so thankful for HIS voice in the midst of the struggle. Your words have touched a chord in me, I want to sing the song of your testimony to others.
“A broken heart is good but it does not relieve us from the responsibility to live by faith. Only by a broken heart that’s full of faith are we able to face the impossible moment set before us, and steward it well.” How precious are these words…soul-stirring
Julie, you are always so encouraging – thanks sister! It is a joy to hear from you – I want you to know that as of last week God has lifted us from the darkness and provided once again. He is truly amazing and deserves our every breath as praise. Many good things going on – thanks so much for taking time. You are a blessing!
Kevin- thank you for posting a Note from the King. I know it was a personal response from the Lord to you, but I receive that Word over myself today. I found myself after being suddenly widowed in aug 09 and left with 3 precious children to raise without their hero, a woman who “had it all together”, suddenly out in the midst of the most raging waters you could imagine. I have struggled (even though very deeply grounded in Christ) with how to “steward” this walk effectively. Those Words bring encouragement that fills my spirit with a greater sense of understanding how to walk this walk.
I just randomly came across your twitter site thru someone else…..,(divine appointment for my day). Thank you and I will believe God for you and your precious family that He is truly your provider…..may He raise up those around you who can be His literal hands and feet and voice extended to you. May they be obedient to His leading in regards to your family.
Julie, i cant imagine the painful moments that must come and go in your current walk – your words are both humbling and deeply encouraging to me. I praise God that He led you this direction – i needed that sister. Will be praying for you and absolutely those words are for all who ache in their faith – very much meant for you too sister. You are a blessing.
Hey Brother, just wanted to say thank you for your honesty in this post. A lot of good stuff to consider…I came across your info through Twitter and I’m going through many of the same things right now. However God is encouraging me step by step that He see’s me and is pleased with me even though my circumstances would say otherwise. Coming across your site has been another reminder that our Father is watching!
Hello there I’m so glad you found me on Twitter!
I don’t know if you’ve been onto my blog but in early Feb/10 I faced my alcoholism by turning back to God. It seems to me that I didn’t even realize I had been listening to the enemy, I didn’t recognize that I had turned my will away from God and onto myself and the enemy had taken advantage. I was quite successful by Worldly standards (reaping the spoils of the enemy) and yet internally I was dying.
That day I turned to God and gave Him my true self, humble and broken. Things changed immediately, I felt the blind faith of the Spirit fill me and my perspective changed. I had 20 days of this and then was involved in a car accident. I’ve been off work and unable to be the wife/mother I’d like to be since due to a brain injury and back/neck injuries.
In the last 18 months it’s been devistating at times and somehow my gaze hasn’t wavered from my Lord, I KNOW He has a plan for me. In each day I’ve found a way to touch someone else, to do what is uncomfortable for me, to live for the benefit of others not myself. In these days when I can’t do as I please and it would be so much easier to stew and worry I don’t.
The Spirit leads me to keep walking, not to worry about finances….to be grateful for each breath and the chance to teach my children and learn with my husband about all that God does amongst the activities of this World.
God doesn’t care how big my home is, what I wear, what I eat. If I have no home, no clothes, no food…..He will provide. Sounds like crass words from me as I sit in my home, fully clothed and not hungry but we believers know it’s a fact. How many times have we worried only to find that we need not have? Or that our worry didn’t actually change anything?
I’m certain I’m not saying anything new to you, that you already know from scripture….just wanted to let you know you’re not alone and by writing you’re sharing God’s Grace with others.
Wow, I know this was posted awhile ago, but I needed to read this today, especially the “Note from the King.” I pray things are lifting up for your family since this post. I am so sorry you have had to go through this horrible storm.
God is preparing you for something greater. Every time I have a long trial, I know there are blessings waiting for me at the end. The enemy tries his hardest to stop me from reaching the end. But God is so faithful to always bring me there, even if He has to carry me across the finish line. I pray you cross that finish line with joy and reach your blessings very soon.
Lots of prayers to you and your family:)
Phenomenal writing – a little verbose and heavy on illustration and metaphor for me but I guess that says more about my poor ability to read than anything else. Be blessed in your vulnerability – thousands need it.
Kevin, I was referred to your blog by Jessie Jeanine when she posted (with your permission) a lovely poem about how to receive raindrops. I was disappointed, however, not to see any posts in November or December from you. I invite you to read my post at http://granbee.wordpress.com dated December 5, 2011, entitled “Stop Looking at Yourself”. I also urge you to read Henry Nouwen’s book THE BELOVED. Kevin, YOU are dearly beloved, just as Job was, just as St. Paul in prison was, just as Peter was (in spite of his woossiness outside His Lord’s place of trial!) I am lifting you up in spirit RIGHT NOW to be showered with HIS raindrops of mercy and GRACE. For it is grace in which you are growing, Kevin, all the more to receive His love!
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Wow, this is just incredibly well written. I would be my privilege to share it with others.
Just stumbled upon this blog…timely.Learning and being blessed