One thing that the many years of pain and heartache did for me, was to allow myself to fall to a place…where with time, I would rise up once more…but this time, with God by my side. As each loving desire became a thing of the past; God was now replacing those moments, with a plan…a plan He had just for me.
In Psalm 40:1-3, we read… “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.”
One thing I can say about my life; is that it was a long wait, before I actually knew what God was up to…and some of the reason for that; was because God was ready to reveal His plan to me; but yet, I hadn’t quite caught up to where He wanted me to be. No matter how difficult the days were…and no matter how low I felt; God was in the background…working to take me out of the pit of despair; that each circumstance had placed me in.
You know…even though our circumstances may take us to a place of despair…one that seems almost impossible to be freed from; there is a God that will not only free us from these moments; but will also place us on a new path…one that can put a new song in our hearts…and this is what I have truly experienced…so never give up on God!
A favorite hymn of mine goes like this… “No one understands like Jesus; He's a Friend beyond compare. Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for You there. No understands like Jesus; every woe He sees and feels. Tenderly He whispers comfort, and the broken heart He heals. No one understands like Jesus, when the days are dark and grim; no one is so near, so dear as Jesus; cast your every care on Him.”
When I was facing some of the deepest and darkest moments of despair, I think I was more focused on why God was allowing these moments to enter my life, rather than how God could comfort and sustain me through these difficult times…that is until one day, while being laid up from a knee surgery. As I laid back to rest…it was as though God was reminding me that He was already in my heart and ready to listen to every heart broken thought that filled my mind that day.
As I began to focus deeply on where God was taking my thoughts; it was as though I could picture Him sitting deep within my heart…waiting for me, to come and pay Him a visit. From there, I began to see myself stepping deep within the heart, to where He was…and from there, I pulled up a chair within the heart and poured my whole self out to Him…and one thing I learned through this experience; was that He wasn’t there for any other reason; but to listen to my heart.
No matter what you’re facing right now…go deep within the heart, to where God resides and pour out yourself before Him…for He is there to love you…care for you and most of all…listen to your heart!
Today, as I’m sitting here…thinking back on my life, I remember a time, when I finally got approved for a knee replacement. Before finally reaching this point, I had gone through numerous knee dislocations and surgeries…trying to correct a problem from birth; that the doctors didn’t fully understand.
After finally going through the surgery and feeling like something good was finally happening in my life; the doctors found out that I had infection in the new joint, which would mean that I would have to go through a long bout of antibiotic treatments…and 2 other knee surgeries…one to remove the old joint; so they could insert an antibiotic box within the area of the knee…and then 6 weeks later; they would have to go back in and do another knee replacement.
I’ll tell you…after going through so many years of these knee problems, I had about had enough…so the thought of all this just seemed so overwhelming to me at the time.
After being admitted for the first surgery, I found myself sitting in an isolation unit; with every thought flooding my mind…until the tears finally broke loose and began to stream down my cheeks. As I sat there on my bed; crying and feeling hopeless and alone…a nurse happened to be walking by and came back to check in on me, as she saw me crying. I began to pour my every thought out to her and after a while, she reached over…held me in her arms and gave me a big hug.
Later…as I thought on this moment; it was as though God had used this nurse, as a means of loving me and letting me know that everything was going to be alright. Through this experience, along with other painful moments in my life, I began to take hold of a Bible verse in John 14:18, which reads… “No, I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm—I will come to you.”
Through this experience, I came to see that no matter what God may allow within our lives; He will never abandon us or leave us alone; but He will come to us and that’s just what He did for me!
One thing I truly had a difficult time with, while walking through pain and deep heartache, was the thought of why God would allow me to suffer in the first place. I just couldn’t understand, when His word said to rejoice thru these times of affliction…and even more, why would He expect me to share in His sufferings, when He had already paid the price, for everything in my life?
As God continued to walk me through multiple surgeries…pain and a deep heartache that seemed almost hopeless and impossible to get over; He began to show me…step by step; that the reason for rejoicing; was actually hope…because the hand of a powerful God was upon me…to help and sustain me, at a time, when I just couldn’t bear these moments…that were actually brought about by evil. In other words…I had the hope that a powerful God was suspending me above a pit of destruction; that Satan had purposed for me…and this powerful God would keep me lifted up close to Him, until His purpose for allowing the problem had been served.
In Philippians 1:29, we read…“For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.” The next thing I came to see in my life…was not to focus tightly on the worldly aspect of my problems…but rather focus on what God was longing to show me through the problem. Once I began to see how I could connect deeply with God, through these difficult times, by experiencing His presence and learning to trust Him; that is when my problems began to seem less complicated.
One thing I have truly come to see through it all; is that just as Jesus suffered, to show a great love for His children; we too will suffer, to show a great and enduring love for Him. Just remember one thing…it’s not only about the suffering; but rather, it’s about coming to see, if we can endure these difficult times, out of a great love and devotion for Christ.
You know…it’s so easy to say “I love You Jesus;” but can those deep words of love be seen even more, through the difficult times? When we can go through anything in life, to love and trust Christ; then we will see that we not only share in the sufferings of Christ; but most of all, we will see how sharing in the suffering of Christ can allow us to have a close and personal relationship with Him…praise God!!
Throughout the past 50 years of my life, I have gone through 21 knee surgeries…trying to correct a problem from birth, in both knees. The surgeries have finally stopped, as there is nothing more they can do; but the scars remain, as both knees appear to be road maps that really lead nowhere.
For the longest time…and even to this day; there can be moments, when I find it difficult to live with all those scars and I even find myself wearing clothes that will cover them up…especially since I have no knee in the right leg.
At a time, when I was struggling the most with these scars; God once more stepped in and helped me to see these scars in a different light. In other words, He wanted me to see these scars as a reminder, as to how much had been accomplished in my life, through those very trying times. Now I see the scars, as though God left His handprint behind…and what a special thought that is…just knowing that God’s hand was upon me!
In Luke 24:39, we read… “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” Even to this day…the scars on the hands and feet of Jesus, remind us of all He has done for us and how freely He has given His life for us. No matter what these tired out bodies of ours go through with God, we will always have little reminders, as to where God had at one time placed His loving hand upon us.
When I was a young girl, I remember lying out in the backyard…starring up at the sky…and even at the young age of 4 or 5…I was thinking that this world would never come to an end. Of course, I wasn’t a Christian then; but still…somehow I see those moments, as though there was some kind of a connection with God.
As I look back to a time, when I feared a grandfather, who would sexually abuse me, at the age of 5; I see another time, when I felt that God had sent a sign to me that He was there, in the midst of it all. As I lay out in the backyard alone, I remember seeing what I thought were pieces of straw coming from high up in the sky. To some…they would think that I had gone crazy; but as each piece of straw showered down upon me…like rain coming straight down from the sky, I began to wonder what was truly taking place in my life…even at that young of an age.
I truly believe that God can communicate with us, in whatever way He chooses and even more, I believe that God can allow His presence to be felt…in a way that can let us know that we are never alone, in this lonely world.
In John 14:15-17, we read… “If you love me, obey me; and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, for it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you do, for he lives with you now and someday shall be in you.”
I guess the question that I would like to ask today is this…are we looking for God, in the midst of a trying circumstance? Do we truly believe that He is there for us, whenever we need His love and comforting spirit? I have personally come to see; that when everyone has walked away and all there seems to be; is a problem that just won’t go away…that God will step into these moments and make Himself known, in a way that can truly bring comfort and peace into our lives…that is, if we are looking for Him.
One thing that God has taught me for sure; is to deal with the past and then let it go because when we don’t let go; then we remain stuck in the muck and mire of our past problems, which only opens us…and our weaknesses, up to other works of evil.
In Philippians 3:13-14, we read… “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
I remember a time in my life, when I was struggling with the memory of a past sexual abuse. It seemed that no matter what I did…the awful memory of that past event remained right in front of me…always taunting me, while attempting to trap me in the midst of its despair.
After sharing my feelings with God one day; He taught me one thing that has truly helped me over the years and that is to think of our minds as a file box. You know…sometimes, we just need to either clean out this file box or rearrange it…and that is just what I did, with God’s help.
After resolving some issues of the past, I took those memories and placed them further back, into what I call the “dead files”…the place where they no longer mean anything to me; then I began to fill the front part with new memories…which over time, has allowed me to experience more happiness and peace, rather than anxiety and depression.
No matter what we face in life, I have come to see that it’s not God’s desire for us to remain there; but instead, we should allow Him to use the past, as stepping stones…to move us forward in life…and this is my prayer for all of us today!
One thing I have come to see, through a lifetime of surgeries…pain…and deep heartache; is that God never wastes what He allows. Even as a young girl…facing knee surgery after knee surgery…God was at work.
As I think back on my life…I remember a time, when I was sent to another orthopedic surgeon, in Lansing, Michigan. Being so young, I never realized I was entering a university hospital…that is until I was wheeled into the operating room.
As the nurses pushed me into the operating room, I began to see cameras and microphones hanging down around me and there were huge windows with curtains, which I was told, would be opened, after being put to sleep.
Even before going through all of this, I was introduced to another new roommate…and as we got to know each other…before going to surgery; she questioned me, as to how I was able to go through so much, at such a young age. As I began to tell her about Jesus; she said, I want to know Jesus too; so after my pastor arrived…he led her to the Lord, while they wheeled me down to the operating room, where my knees were about to become famous, before a classroom of medical students.
You know…sometimes we just don’t always understand the reasoning behind our circumstance…that is, until we begin to see a powerful God at work within our lives!
I remember a time in my life, when my focus became tightly fixed on everything I was facing at the time, rather than what God was doing through those moments. It seemed like one thing after another came my way, until I could barely take it anymore. If I would have only seen those moments, as God’s will for my life, rather than viewing them, as though God was targeting me, with problems that just didn’t seem fair at the time; then I would’ve been able to walk through those difficult times much easier, without needless suffering.
During those difficult moments that came my way; I found myself facing one knee surgery after another. I was so tired of waiting for a cure that never came; that I found myself falling away from God, rather than drawing nigh to Him. As the anger built up and the hurt became out of control; I began to shout out to God and say… “What’s next?” It wasn’t much longer after that, when God did answer my question…and I found out what was next, which was one more surgery.
You know…it’s so easy to become overwhelmed with life’s problems…to the place, where we let them deeply affect our lives; but one thing bad about that; is that we end up falling into a trap set up by Satan, which only allows our circumstance to grow into something that ends up completely out of control.
A Bible verse that helped me through these long and discouraging moments; is found in Philippians 1:6, which reads… “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
I came to see that no matter what God was allowing into my life at the time…He would complete the work that He had first begun and that nothing would be left unfinished in my life, which allowed hope to spring forth within me once more.
You know…we must remember that what God allows within our lives…no matter how bad; is only to help us to become stronger and better for Him, rather than attempting to bring us lower in life and once we can take hold of all these things; then hope will be there for us…a hope that we can take hold of, until God has finished the work that He once began within our lives.
It’s amazing how our circumstances can work overtime to discourage us. One thing I remember in my life, when it came to my knee problems, were the many discouraging doctor visits I had. Since my knee situation was a rare problem from birth; it was as though the doctors were piecing everything together…trying to find a way to cure a problem that definitely was attempting to take over my life.
I don’t know how many times I went to the doctor and came out, in the same way that I once entered…and I don’t know how many times the tears of disappointment had fallen, which only began to lead me down a path of no hope.
Through time, I came to see that I was allowing these moments to disappoint me because I was looking for something better, than what God was offering me at the time. In other words…God had a plan…a plan that would use these knee problems, for His honor and glory, while I was looking for a cure and a way to get back into life. As you can see…my thoughts and desires began to clash with God’s, which only brought about deep hurt and disappointment.
Later, God led me to a Bible verse in Proverbs 16:1, which reads…“We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God’s hands.” Once I began to walk in God’s direction, rather than my own…disappointment was replaced with peace and a true purpose, for what God had allowed within my life…Praise Him!!