Sharon's Corner is a periodically updated blog exploring some of today's most pressing issues. Topics range from marriage, finances, relationships, and any other issues in your life.
One More Crisis
Friday, September 30, 2011

What a night!
I was sitting at my computer, desperately trying to complete several writing projects whose deadlines were fast approaching! I got a phone call from a close friend asking prayer for her family which was in the midst of dealing with a serious dilemma. I hung up from talking with her and a few minutes later the phone rang again. It was one of our children calling with very sad news and asking for prayer. Minutes after ending that conversation, I received another call from a family member sharing some difficult challenges that have arisen for their family.

Then my husband returned from teaching a seminar. He plunked down in the chair beside me and I began to pour out the “woes” of the evening to him. Suddenly he was hit with excruciating pain… he knew immediately it was kidney stone pain. We ended up making a rush trip to the ER, returning only early the next morning.

I admit I began to wonder what in the world had hit us! Not only had all of this transpired in one evening… but in just the last two weeks there had been several other unexpected difficulties… a job lay-off, several illnesses and alarming counseling cases at our workplace.

Right smack in the middle of these pressures, we hosted our annual luncheon for widows here at ALM. Each year around 200 ladies attend this event. It was a great day, with so many of the guests expressing sincere appreciation for planning a day aimed simply at blessing women who have gone through the pain of losing a beloved spouse.

In sharing with the group that day I told the story of two children who were playing on a hillside when they noticed that sunset was fast approaching. One of the children said wonderingly, “See how far the sun has gone! A little while ago it was right over that tree, and now it is low down in the sky.” Then his brother answered, “But it isn’t the sun that moves, it’s the earth. You know, Father told us.” The first child shook his head and insisted, “The sun did move… I saw it! And the earth did not move… because I was standing on it all the time. I believe what I see,” he said triumphantly. But the second child answered so wisely, “And I believe Father!”

In the crises of life which inevitably come to every one of us, we can feel like God has moved… like He’s disappeared from sight. In reality we’re the ones that get spun around and turned upside down by the passing of time and events. But our Heavenly Father remains firmly in His place. It is easy to believe in God’s care and provision when it seems like the sun is shining brightly on our lives, but when circumstances seem dark and foreboding it takes faith to know that He is still there and can be trusted.

I’ve found that my faith grows best in the hard times. I often say to myself when faced with a trial… “Either God is big enough to see me through this, or He isn’t. I choose to believe that He will see me through!”

Not all of the crises of the past weeks have been resolved yet. My husband is feeling better and I’ve completed my work deadlines. But several of the other situations still hover like black clouds over us. Nevertheless, my heart is at peace, because I know my Lord sees through those clouds and is watching over me as He always does! As Scripture says, He will never leave me or forsake me!” I’m not alone in the hardships of life and that makes all the difference in the world!

But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” (Isaiah 43:1-3)

“Thank You Lord for being with me through the tough times, through the tangled messes I get myself into, through the catastrophes and quandaries that threaten to overwhelm me! Thank You for giving me hope and power and peace and courage and wisdom and strength, no matter what life throws at me. Thank You for getting me through the trials of this past week! And… since I suspect there will undoubtedly be one more crisis down the road (or two or three or more!)… Thank You for getting me through that one too!”

The Point of Desperation
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yesterday my daughter told me about a friend of hers who, together with her husband, has been facing a huge problem. Michelle (not her real name) said that she had found prayer very difficult, often wondering whether it would in fact do any good. Still, in talking with others she would always claim to believe in prayer and would be grateful when people would tell her they were praying for her situation.

Recently a question began running through her mind, “If I say I believe in prayer, shouldn’t I be demonstrating that belief in some way?” Then she was honest enough to admit that her actions indicated she really didn’t place a high value on prayer at all. As a result of that objective look at herself, she has committed to getting up early every morning to pray for an hour about the challenge she and her husband are facing.

Michelle is grappling with something Jesus put into words in Luke 6: 46-49: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

It’s a question I ask myself regularly… “If I really believed what God says about this or that, how would I act?” Some examples:
Scripture says, Don’t be anxious about anything, so why am I worrying?
The Bible says, Fear not, for I am with you, so why am I up tight and afraid?
God’s Word says, Honor others above yourself, so why do I demand my own way?

Long ago a professor challenged me. He said, “Sharon, you will get things fixed in your life when you get desperate enough. But quite frankly, I don’t think you’re desperate enough yet.” He was right… when I finally got desperate for God, I began to take Him at His word and act accordingly. Then change happened.

So, I think I’m desperate again. I say Jesus is my Lord, so I realize I need to reinstate some activities that corroborate that claim. Therefore, as of today I have five verses written on a paper which is in my pocket. I am reading them over and over, working on memorizing them and determined (maybe desperate?) that regular Bible memorization is moving from my back burner to my front. After all, I say it’s important don’t I?

It’s a good feeling… this desperation. It gives me renewed hope, renewed expectation, renewed joy. I recognize that there are lots of things I should get desperate about… but admittedly I’m not quite there yet. I think getting me there is one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs. And He’s excellent at pointing out the next project precisely when I need it!

In the meantime, I’ll be repeating and repeating and repeating. Thanks a lot, Michelle!