Photo credit: JohnEriksonmd.com
I want this to be a blog of encouragement in a time of intense struggle.
I talk to a lot of people in my life from week to week and I can tell you from personal experience, from my life, from the people I talk to that this is a time that we would call “intense.”
Those of you going through an “intense” time, it is not just you. I think if we can take our eyes off of ourselves and look around we would see that everyone is having a struggle of some kind. Not just a struggle but an intense struggle, there seems to be a pressure, a weight to life. I am not sure we even know how to describe or put it into words, but it is there.
I think back to the prophetic messages that were spoken over N. America earlier this year that God would continue His shaking. I feel we are in the shaking, that the shaking has increased. While you may not feel you are being shaken, if you have some intense struggles, some big pressures over you, you are being shaken.
My encouragement is this: God is testing us.
Now that may sound horrible but He is testing us and I want my encouragement to be and perhaps it is more cheerleader type of hype; “do not be found wanting,” do not be one of those people who jumps out of the frying pan.
God has not changed, He still is in charge over everything. Some of us, many of us, feel like we have gone down for the first time with the shaking and uncertainty in our lives and we are hoping against hope that we will not loose our grasp on Him.
My friends, you are not holding onto Him. He is holding on to you.
Some of you may say, “I have already been down the second time.” Hang on!
Hang on in your gutt to your faith with everything you know God to be. Do not start condemning Him, do not start thinking that He hates you, because that is untruth, the truth is that He does love you. He tells us so and He has proven it over and over.
The proof of His love is the shaking. A little extreme, I know. He wants you to come out of the fire, pure. Pure gold, shining, glimmering, for the whole world to see. I want to be pure gold, not gold with impurities, flakes of crud floating around in me. Gold has to be heated to be refined, carbon has to be pressed, crushed beyond measure to make a diamond.
Think about the pressure of the earth, 2 big plates of earth coming together and the intense rubbing and pushing down, and squishing and squeezing to form a diamond. We may feel that we do not have one drop of strength left to handle it. That is okay, because you do not need to have any drops left, God does. God has to do the holding on and you need to ask for the gift of faith. Not the kind of faith that you have to “drum up”, but the gift of faith as listed in 1 Corinthians 12:9, ask for it so that you can believe that your God is able to get you through this intense struggle.
Will there be casualties? Will there be pain? Yes. Shaking and earthquakes have casualties.
I met a lady at the Prayer Room this week, she gave me permission to share this.
She had something happen to her hand called Dupuytren’s disease or contracture.
There were 3 big rope looking longish bumps also called nodules at the base of her fingers running down into the palm of her hand, they stood out noticeably. The contracture causes the fascia in the hand to slowly tighten and pull her fingers into a curl position where she cannot open her hand. She went to the doctor and the doctor gave her the great news that there is not much they can do for this and it will get worse with time, loosing the use of her hand.
It was so painful, anyone touching her hand or prodding on it was excruciating. She had 2 fingers, the right and middle that were curling in and there was nothing she could do about it and use of her hand became limited.
She cried out to God in prayer as it was her right hand and she is right-handed and lives on her own. God gave her a message that said that while touching it straight on was painful, she might touch it by coming in at an angle, move from the palm up toward the fingers almost underneath the bumps.
She tried rubbing her palms together expecting the worst and found that it did not hurt as much. She started practicing rubbing her hands together for a period of time every day. By doing this, she has her fingers fully extended and useable. Praise God.
To touch the area straight on was too painful, but to come in at an angle, she was able to hang on and work with it.
While she was talking to me God gently spoke and said, “tell her the bumps remain to show her how far I have brought her. All scars remain as a reminder for people to physically see how far I have brought them.”
I thought what a beautiful picture: as we struggle and fight with things in life, whether physical or emotional. We come to our problems straight on, we must fix them! We look at, fixate on, worry over, and attack our problem straight on and it becomes too painful to bear. We start to contract, get pulled out of shape with the anxiety. Feeling like we cannot handle it anymore, we imagine going under while we are hanging fiercely onto Gods hand. If we will surrender to God, He slides in and begins to move, sliding things around in our world until we stop and look back to see how far we have come. Reality is that God is hanging onto us and His hand is sure and strong, He is not letting go.
When He pulls us up, we may have marks, scars from our ordeal, those are reminders of God’s love, His care, He was there with us and He pulled us through. We have a reminder that He never left us alone. We can be assured that after each trail, we have started shining brighter, clearer with a beauty that comes from living through pressure, like gold or a diamond sparkling for the world to see.
God’s promise has always been not to take us out of the fire, but that He will walk with us in it and like the guys who were thrown into the firey furnace in the Bible, they came out unsinged and not even smelling of smoke. The whole ordeal changed not just the lives of the guys thrown in the fire, but the lives of their families, of the King and the people who had been watching to see them burned up. Their declaration can be ours: “O King we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from your Majesty’s hand.” Daniel 3:17-27
He has got you, He is holding on, rest in that today.