I think it can be so easy to find ourselves in situations where we feel totally powerless, at the mercy of some thing or some one else. Such times remind us that control of our lives and situations are illusions. It exposes our sense of vulnerability, our fragility.
It is at such times we discover the chinks in our armor, the gaps in our faith, and the level of our relationship with the only One we can rely on to sustain us.
One thing is certain. Such times will come to us many times in our lives. Very often they do not come when we feel strong, but at times when we already feel pressed on every side, weighed down, and weary.
Certainly the apostle Paul could relate to us in such times as he wrote in 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” NIV
His words remind us that as children of the Father, those things we suffer cannot destroy us despite our frailty because of His Spirit within us.
As His children, we have not been promised in this life that all will go well. We have not been promised we will not suffer hardship in health, relationship, or finances.
We HAVE been promised that He will be with us and never forsake us during such times.
Again, Paul speaks of this later in 2 Corinthians 12:9:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
How foolish we are when we are tempted to believe we can stand without Him!
A few months ago our youngest granddaughter, 13, learned she would need serious spinal surgery. Upon hearing of this, her response was one of trust that the Lord would be with her, faith that He would undertake for her in all she would need. I wrote of this in June (The Faith of a Child).
Over the past month I have had a front row seat to see her walk through this time. I have watched her parents as they grappled with a sense of powerlessness as she experienced intense pain. On one day the pain became so acute that they heard her cry out to the Lord pleading with Him for relief, for rescue. She asked that if He could not take away the pain that He take her home to be with Him.
But then she also began to pray loudly through the whole counsel of scripture from Genesis to Revelation. She reminded Him of His faithfulness and promises from generation to generation. She lived out the faith she had only spoken of prior to surgery.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Heb. 11:1 NIV
The pain did not subside immediately, but He walked with her, with her parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins and 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 was fulfilled.
Day by day we have watched as her body has been healing. We have rejoiced to see the changes even though the process will not be complete for some time yet.
She did not have the ability to get through the pain, but she made a choice to call on the One in whom she had placed her trust and in doing so, confirmed who she was and whose she was.
None of us can say with certainty what choice we will make when our own strength is gone, our bank account is empty, or our relationships dissolve, but each of us will have a choice of how to respond to what has come to us. That choice will show who we truly are as well as whose we are.
That choice will also reveal the foundation we have laid when things were going well.