When Stretched Beyond What You Could Bear Seemed to End a Long Time Ago…

Stretching

Do you ever feel it?

The answer seems SO LONG in coming…

God seems silent…you need so desperately to hear a word, to feel his nearness…

Because you are barely holding on, just living day to day- the hardness of life and not having any answers chafes.

We put up a FOR SALE sign in front of our house yesterday.  We don’t know where we are moving.  My husband still doesn’t have a job.

This past week was bad for me.  I didn’t sleep much, my mind was filled with stormy thoughts. I cried a lot, trembled a lot- questioned God A LOT.

I felt abandoned and cast out- afraid.  What is going to happen to our family?  We don’t have any money!  How can we be obedient to God and yet things be this bad?

Our circumstances cause me to tremble.  This is so beyond uncomfortable.

And yet despite all of this, in spite of all of this- I knew I had to get up this morning and seek out my Savior.

No one understands my heart like he does.  He knows what my trembling spirit needs to hear.  His words penetrate my fears and doubts and strengthen me.

He cuts right through all the outer layers straight to the center of all that troubles me and addresses me at my greatest point of need.

This morning, I read about the disciples in Matthew 16.  They were preoccupied with eating (v. 1-12).  That happens to me these days, I can become so fixated on our financial difficulties that it paralyzes me.  I forget-just like the disciples did-lessons that Jesus just taught me.

Matthew 6- do not worry about what you will eat or drink, what you will wear.  Do I doubt God’s love for me?  I know He is aware of all our needs, but when called to walk out my faith- to live day to day not knowing how God will provide- that has stretched me.

I don’t get to see the plan, the long-term, how this is all going to end.  It still remains a mystery.

And like the disciples, I can get so fixated on where the next meal is coming from that I lose sight of my spiritual health.

What I need most right now is time in God’s Word.  Time in prayer.  Time to be silent.  Time to pour out my worries to Him.  Time to linger on who He is- and how He has provided in the past.

Disciplining myself to these things right now is SO HARD!  Our troubles are staring me in the face.  I can’t run from them.  I can’t deny how very real and raw they are.  How present and immediate.

Yet, in spite of it, I can say- at times when I am afraid I will put my trust in thee.

I can speak Isaiah 41:10 to myself-

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold onto you with my righteous right hand.”

Our enemy is always looking to trip us up, play to our fears, keep us distracted by minutia over here so that we miss out on the blessings God longs for us to see right in front of us.

He can’t encourage us if we don’t seek Him.  He can’t give strength to our spirit if we don’t talk with Him, if we don’t listen to the words He longs to lovingly speak.

When Jesus said to the disciples, “beware the yeast of the Pharisees,” I began to think about all those false beliefs I have held about what the life of a Christian looks like.

I didn’t realize it would be this hard.  That God would lead us into storms, or that trials would possibly lead us into a desperate financial situation.  Sometimes I still doubt whether we have been obedient…did I miss a sign along the way?  Did we take a wrong turn?  How could this happen?

And God gently and firmly keeps stretching me in faith- taking me just a little further…and then further in…and then a little further.

To close, I am going to share a quote from Susannah Spurgeon, written after the death of her husband.  This is from a series of writings called “A Basket of Summer Fruit,” available at Grace Gems.

 My heart, until you have learned the lesson of perfect trust- doubts and misgivings are sure to arise, and cloud your fairest prospects. The darkness looks impenetrable when you try to peer into it- the rough places seem impassable when your weary feet stumble over the big stones in the pathway- the mountains of difficulty appear inaccessible when the mists of unbelief veil their true proportions. Truly, the Lord is a God who hides Himself; and, oftentimes, His purposes are carried out on our behalf under the cover of the thick clouds, in which He enwraps Himself.

 

O precious Savior and Lord, unchanging God and lover of our souls, even when we can’t see- we know you are faithful.  You are always working for our good, desiring that we may know you more intimately and treasure the eternal riches that you pour upon our lives above the temporal ones that entice.  Sometimes you strip away these things to loosen their hold on us, so that we may see the blessed security in holding You alone.  Our dependence on these other things is false- open our eyes to see how truly sufficient you are for all our needs.  Being in the storm is hard.  Grow our faith Lord, in whatever storm we are facing, may our eyes return to you and draw strength from the Rock that cannot be shaken.  May your Word be an anchor that holds us steady when it feels like the whole world has pitched sideways.  Our hope and trust is in You.  You can be depended on.  In all things, through all our days, you are God.  Strengthen our grip.  In Jesus Name and through His power at work in us, Amen.

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2 Responses to When Stretched Beyond What You Could Bear Seemed to End a Long Time Ago…

  1. Ouida Tomlinson says:

    I send prayers and blessings to you and your family with the prayer that husband will find a job soon. I am in a similar situation, since my husband passed away, but am retired. I’m trying to sell my house also because I don’t have the money now to make payments and other associated costs. Meanwhile, I am going to send your post to a community of Poor Clare Franciscans in Wales to ask them to pray for you and your husband and the financial situation. http://www.poorclarestmd.org/

    • Rachel says:

      Thank you Ouida. Your prayers are a blessing. So thankful for the peace that the Lord brings in the midst of storms. God bless you- praying that your house sells too! :)

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