Last night, after going to bed, I can say that it was one of the worst nights ever…as I tossed from side to side in pain. You know…it’s amazing what goes through our minds at this time…thoughts that keep reminding us that we have a lot to do the following day…and oh…how we really need our rest.
By time I had reached morning…the pain was still with me and I was feeling very tired and drained, from a night that I hadn’t experienced before. As I sat on the edge of the bed, I was debating, as to whether I should get up and do my ministry work or whether I should just go back to bed. For some reason…a feeling came over me, to get up and get going; so I did.
Even though I felt as if I was dragging through my morning, I began to feel a strength gradually kicking in; that actually caused me to do more than what I had first planned to do. As I kept saying…“Oh Lord”…God must have interpreted those words, as a desperate cry for help because from those moments on; His strength stepped in and overrode my weakness.
In Isaiah 26:3-4, we read… “He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! 4 Trust in the Lord God always, for in the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength.” I came to see that the more I turned to God…the more He came in my direction and strengthened me, with no ordinary strength…but an everlasting strength…one that helped me to accomplish every little thing that I put my hands to do…Praise God!
Today, as we begin our time together, I hope you will join me, as I celebrate 59 years of life…54 years of overcoming pain and deep heartache and 16 years of ministry work!
Actually, when I look back on my life, I see a life that became a journey…a long journey that would actually begin at birth…as I was born with two bad knees that would eventually be used in my life, to not only turn my own life around; but to also allow me to learn much and be able to encourage others, through these moments of despair.
No one can ever feel or understand my life and where God has brought me from, to where I am today, except for me and God. I have come to love God so very much and it’s all because of this long journey that we’ve been on together, for so many years.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, we read… “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
These Bible verses have now become my life verses. For at a time, when God longed to bring me down to His level…He allowed a thorn of affliction to enter my life. Even though there were many times that I begged God to remove the thorn…He simply said… “Diane, my grace is sufficient for you; for it’s through these weaknesses; that I will make you stronger”…and through these times, I have come to see how a loving God could completely turn a life around for Him… a life that now longs to give back to Him, for all He’s done for me.
No matter what you walk through in life…and no matter how long and difficult the journey may seem; may I encourage you to keep pressing on…for God has a purpose for this journey and you will never know what that purpose is, until you have walked all the way with Him.
As I look back on my life and remember the very difficult times that I have faced; I can say that it was worth it all, for God has given me a brand new life…a life that now lives for Him, rather than for me.
How many times do we attempt to seek refuge in a problem, rather than God? Why is it that we would rather seek refuge in a weak and broken down circumstance, rather than under the wings of a God that is mighty in power and strength? In Psalm 9:9, we read… “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
When I think back to the many times, when I would attempt to find refuge in my problems; it was as though I was at a place that was broken down…a place that wasn’t able to keep me away from the elements of the storm. This place that I was attempting to seek refuge in, was similar to an old cabin in the woods that was missing part of the roof, while no door was there to keep me safe from the evil that was attempting to take me down. In my mind’s eye, I could see the darkness that seemed gray and dingy, as I peered through the cracks of the walls. Finally I came to a place, where I realized that I had taken shelter in my circumstances, rather than with God.
Our problems can lead us to a fork in the road; where we need to decide, as to what direction we will take, during these difficult times. If we are too buried in the thoughts of our problems; then we just might end up finding ourselves seeking refuge in them. I have come to see that seeking refuge in God means that I can experience a peace and tranquility, even in the midst of what may seem to be a chaotic situation. Today, can we truly say that we have found a place of refuge, where we can look out the windows of the shelter that God has provided for us and experience His beautiful presence, even as we look at our storm on the horizon? When we can turn to God…read His word and share our every thought with Him; then we will be seeking refuge, in a God that will become the stronghold and shelter we need, until the storm passes by.
No painful moment is easy for us to go through. We sit with tears that reveal a heart that has been torn in two or a body that is racked with pain. When will these tears ever stop and when will this night of pain and heartache be turned into a morning of joy? In Psalm 126:5-6, we read…“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. (6) Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
For the longest time, I have seen my heart as a garden, where either new growth can spring up or where the weeds of circumstance can be left unattended…to the place where they clutter the heart and leave no room for new growth to begin. One day, we can look deep within the heart and see a beautiful garden that has brought us much happiness but then there can be moments, when we see that we have left the garden of our hearts unattended and as an overwhelming amount of circumstance stands before us, we find ourselves crying out to God, in the midst of a garden that has been overrun by the weeds of circumstance. As we cry out to God for help; He begins to walk through the garden of our heart with us and as He does, He reaches down, to pluck up the weeds of circumstance that have overtaken the garden that once produced beauty and good fruit. From there, God begins to plant new seed, which allows us to die to ourselves, so God’s seed can spring up in our place. As we go through this process, we experience moments of tears and a heart that wonders if God has left us alone; but as the tears fall, they begin to water the seed that God has planted deep within the heart and from there, a harvest of God’s goodness begins to spring up within us…bringing new growth and joy within the heart once more.
How long has it been, since we entered the garden of our hearts? Have we worked side by side with God, to pluck up the weeds of circumstance, so everything in our lives can continue to grow and flourish for Him? If not…then this isn’t the time to become overwhelmed by what we are seeing before us but rather, this is the time to cry out to God and allow Him to reach down and pluck up the moments that have overtaken the garden of our hearts; so He can replant new seed…seed that will grow through the tears that have watered the heart from within.