Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why the hard stuff?

I recently spoke at a women's retreat at the Oregon coast. I stayed in a condo right on the beach. It was fabulous! An aqua blue sky contrasted the deep blue of the ocean, and foaming waves crashed against rocks tossing their spray into the air. When I stepped onto my deck I could feel a sharp breeze and smell the unique aroma that only comes from the sea. It was gorgeous and inspiring!

And yet, it wasn't enough.

I wanted more--to walk on the beach, to feel the frigid ocean water suck the sand from beneath my feet. I wished I could hunt for seashells and special rocks and sea creatures. Instead I remained in my room, resting, reading and praying. Occasionally I'd step onto my deck. I didn't mope, but I thought about it.

Years ago there was a truck . . . on a corner . . . and it hit my van and changed my life. Now, instead of being the first one on the beach I have to be careful. Too much doing brings on too much pain. Sometimes I throw a pity party but there are special moments when I get a God view of my life and I can praise him for the new me. But this weekend I wanted to be like everyone else.

I was speaking Saturday night and Sunday morning so I had to be careful not to overdo. I couldn't let the ladies down. Giving a speech from a bed isn't very effective.

Interestingly enough the topic for the retreat just happend to be Embracing Life's Disappointments. And it was exactly what I needed to be studying. In recent months life had thrown stones at me and my world seemed filled with disappointment--God had something to say to me.

As I prepared for the retreat He took me to stories of His people and revealed details of their lives that I'd never really seen before. In the midst of their disappointments God was always there. And it was clear the difficulties were God orchestrated. When Joseph was sold into slavery God had a plan. Moses missed out on the Promised Land, but God gave him so much more--Moses got to see God face-to-face. Paul suffered devastating consequences for his faithful service, yet while in prison he sang praises to his Lord.

If I were in control of the world around me, I probably wouldn't have allowed that truck to hit me. But I'm short-sighted. I can't see the big picure--not the way God does. He sees it all. And His Word says that nothing touches me without His permission. So, I've got to trust Him. He knows what He's doing. When that truck hit my van, God knew that "life as usual" wasn't the way for me.

Because of Him I can say, "Thank you for adversity."



Only in weakness can we learn to rely on Him. Only in our trials do we exercise faith. When we need more than we possess, God gives the power and courage to overcome.

Trust Him. He wants to bless your life.

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