“No testing has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tested beyond what you can bear. But when you are tested, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it”. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Do I believe this? My spiritual side says, “Of course I do!” God’s people bear ALL KINDS of horrible hardships and do not lose the faith! We see this played out every single day. We see the old woman hunched over with excruciating arthritis…visiting and laughing with people who cannot leave their nursing home rooms. We see the child, bald head and thin,an obvious sign of the cancer treatment they must undergo in hopes of living another year playing and smiling… and comforting others. We see the parents of the pencil thin teenager, or the addicted child or the run-away or the rebel whose life and self-perception are so distorted that they are dying…. but the parents continue to pray and hope and believe that their child will return to them. Sometimes people are healed. Sometimes God works in ways that we can’t understand.
And then there are things that our sheltered minds refuse to imagine…children who are forced to be sex slaves or into pornography…starvation; unjust imprisonment; refugees; victims of natural disasters that wipe out entire neighborhoods or villages or Islands; people who cut themselves to feel; people who destroy their bodies and lives and home environment by using or making Meth. There are children with burns on their bodies and feet from walking in their own homes or sitting on their own furniture or laying in their own beds because of the toxic chemicals their own parents use to create a substance that can make a twenty year old look sixty. That is PAIN. That is horror.
How do some people get through their day? With chronic and debilitating physical pain; with emotional scars, with unjust brutality? It seems like the weight of the world could crush some of us with all that we have to bear. And sometimes SOME of these people give up. They just don’t think that they can do it anymore.. they quit trying. They live their hours trying to escape their pain. Their lives are spent aimlessly, moving along with the current…bobbing up and down…lost in the torrents.These poor souls are mostly drowning slowly. They are taking in enough air to survive one more second. That’s it.
I am not a numbers kind of girl, but I would say that ALL of us…or at least 97.3% of us feel like giving up sometimes. Do you ever feel like you want to climb back in bed and put the covers over your head and not be woken or disturbed until “it is all over”? Or do you ever want to run away? Just leave all of the responsibilities and problems behind and GO!!!!?? Or do you ever want to drink a bottle of wine? or take a sleeping pill? or watch a movie marathon? or just go out and stay out and do whatever makes you not think about all of the things that are burdens…shop and spend money you don’t have? Go to a loud concert? Go get wasted at a bar with strangers?
Never, you say? You never want to escape your current situation in any way? You are happy and content every second? Well— According to a 2013 NBC News report, “More than 8 million Americans seriously consider suicide each year, according to a new government study. About 32,000 suicides occur in the United States each year, but a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that many more give the idea serious thought.The new SAMHSA report is based on a survey of 46,190 people aged 18 and older. In the past, the question about suicide had only been asked of people who reported major depression but in 2008 it was added to all questionnaires.
- People 18 to 25 years old were far more likely to have seriously considered suicide in the previous year (6.7 percent) than those 26 to 49 (3.9 percent).”
That is beyond disturbing to me. That means that people cannot endure it! What is the difference between people who keep going and people who give up? Why can some old people with chronic pain, or many children with life-threatening illnesses, or surviving victims…. continue to smile? While others hate people… and hate their lives?
Definition of HOPE
Definition of FAITH
Read those again. Over and over and over and over.
A precious friend gave me a quote this week that I stuck to my bathroom mirror that says,”Dear God, This very day I pray You command the Holy Spirit to do with me what I can’t do by myself.” That is comforting. When we ask, we can know that God will do that for us…because He wants for us to make it through the day doing things His way and leaning on His strength and wisdom and power. We can endure anything when we know what the ultimate outcome will be if we stay near to God.
“Endure” is the FINAL CHAPTER of the Dave Early’s 14 Secrets to Better Relationships I am going to give you some of his quotes from the book to think on the Friday before Easter. The day that Jesus endured death so that we would not have to die. Through Jesus we can understand what our life is supposed to look like and be about…Loving God and Loving each other. That’s all.
“Patience and forbearance are to be motivated by and done in a spirit of love- that is, “the unconditional, active effort to do what is best for others. ” You won’t suffer long with people if you don’t love them.”
“When loved one’s break our hearts, God can give us grace to suffer through it as long as it takes.”
One thing that I just learned is that when someone hurts us, we want them to pay…we want something hurtful to happen to them too. But God doesn’t want us to hurt…or to hurt each other…or to wish bad things on others. If we wish bad things on others, then the bad things come back to us. “Do unto others” gets done back to us. So instead of cursing your enemy…bless your enemy. It isn’t hard to do, because when we do it we are working with God’s Will instead of against it! Not only does our negative attitude turn hopeful and faithful… we know and trust that our pain will be taken away from us. AND God WILL bless that other person. Possibly, the person will change to be God-filled and full of light and love. That is, after all, what we all want for everyone. Because that is, after all, what we are called to do…LOVE ONE ANOTHER. And if the change occurs, it will make this world different…it will drive out hate and evil and replace it with love and good.
One last thing before I finish sharing Dave Early’s book with you, “I want to encourage you to be different. Refuse to give up hope. My friend Daniel Henderson writes, ‘As long as God’s character of long-suffering does not change (and it never will), and as long as his Spirit lives in our hearts (and we are ‘sealed’ in this assurance), we can believe that God is able to impart all we need for the positive progress of a relationship. He is able to change hearts and lives. We should always let Him start with our own – then trust Him to do the same for others.’ Even when we don’t give up, we often give in to negative emotions. Our thoughts become irrational and our words unloving. We react in ways that we later regret. When the other person is being a pain or causing you pain, don’t trust your emotions. It has been noted that ’emotions have no brains.’ Don’t allow yourself to rush beyond the controlling power of the Holy Spirit.”
Remember the following “THIS IS THE DAY THAT I HAVE MADE. Rejoice and be glad in it. Begin the day with open hands of faith, ready to receive all that I am pouring into this brief portion of your life. Be careful not to complain about anything, even the weather, since I am the Author of your circumstances.The best way to handle unwanted situations is to thank Me for them.This act of faith frees you from resentment and frees Me to work My ways into the situation, so that good emerges from it.To find joy in this day, you must live within its boundaries…I understand human frailty and I know that you can bear the weight of only one day at a time.Do not worry about tomorrow or get stuck in the past. There is abundant Life in My Presence today.”
WE CAN bear anything or anyone or any circumstance if we understand that “this too shall pass” and that we are not ever alone. Dave Early says, “A convenient life is seldom a life of deep character. It is in the fire that we are refined and made strong…God uses them (difficult people, problems, circumstances etc. ) to make us more like Jesus.”
Everything is a test. An opportunity to learn. We may not score 100 every day, or even PASS every test!…but we are wiser and will be more ready and prepared for the next test. Don’t give up. The reward will be well worth all of the effort.You may feel like the Little Engine that said, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” But if we trust God’s promises we can change our mantra to always be, “I know I can. I know I can. I know I can.”Greater is He who lives in me, than he who lives in the world.
Nothing can stop us from living if we have faith and hope and love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
HAPPY GOOD FRIDAY. WE ALREADY KNOW THAT THIS STORY HAS A HAPPY ENDING. For us all.