I think I have told you all before, but I get daily emails from Proverbs 31 Ministries, and the following is the one I got Friday. It definitely came at the right time, as I am going through a lot right now. I will talk more about that later, but your prayers are definitely appreciated.
"Dear...sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow." James 1:2-3 (NLT)
Before moving to the warm South, complete with mild winters and smooth roads, my family lived in Wisconsin. The greatest contrast I noticed? Southern roads free from potholes.
Or so I thought.
Then one day as I sailed along a local street, my car sank into a deep hole. Water and mud splashed over the windshield and bounced off my side view mirror. The abrupt pitfall surely damaged my car. At the very least it was dirty and dented.
"Where did that come from?" I wondered. "A pothole on the streets of my fine city?"
Driving on, I considered the pothole. Every road we travel is susceptible to pothole blight. I remember my front walkway caving in and crumbling after a heavy rain washed out the ground underneath it. I've even found myself walking around muddy holes on forest paths.
Yes, every road we travel is susceptible to the pothole blight, including the road of life. God's Word guarantees it: "You will face all kinds of trouble ...Your faith will be put to the test" (James 1:2b-3a, NIRV).
At one time or another, the highway on which we travel will fall out from under us. Or, if we are not personally affected by troubles, we know someone who is. Potholes are inevitable, it seems, if we're going anywhere. Consequently, we can spend much time dealing with the destruction, or rescuing others from their deep pits. Writing these words distresses me and if I were to camp on this thought, I could find myself sorely depressed.
So I drive on, focusing on God's Word. Like the dependable tow truck that fixes damaged tires or the repair shop that aligns them, God's Word assures me that falling into an abyss is not the end of the ride. Life does go on ... with a high calling and meaningful purpose.
Consider these words:
"The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort...comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort others ..." (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)
"...we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair..." (2 Corinthians 4:7-8, NLT)
"...under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (James 1:2-4, MSG)
And finally Isaiah 53:3a, 4a explains that the troubles our Lord Jesus suffered made us whole. He was "a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief...it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down..." (NLT)
Precious friend, are you stuck in one of life's potholes? Don't despair. You're not alone. Jesus knows. You may feel damaged, broken, or rejected but there is a high calling, a greater purpose for your troubling experiences. One day you will comfort others in their afflictions. Your light will shine on another's dark and difficult path. And when you step into eternity you will receive the crown of life.
Father, God, I have fallen into a deep hole. I am damaged, broken, and feel rejected. Please use my circumstances to strengthen me and cause me to shine so others may see Your glory. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen."