It would appear, that as of late, I have been going through a trial of sorts, to which I have little understanding. A series of sometimes associated and sometimes non-associated happenings that culminate in an overall situation where I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of their totality and my own limitations.
I understand that others are asked to endure trials that make mine look like child’s play. And it’s not that I haven’t endured difficult trials before. Maybe it’s because of my age factor and my decreasing physical and mental capabilities, short answer is I just don’t know why. What I do know is that God is stretching my faith and trust in Him and this is not always easy.
No, I haven’t lost my faith and trust in our Lord. Even in the midst of this trial, He continues to give me what I need, just at the right time. I’ll give you one example. We just moved at the end of August. My wife was involved in a car accident when she was very young and as of late, one of the discs in her spine has deteriorated to the extent that walking or standing for any significant amount of time causes her considerable pain. Any time we have moved in the past, we always shared the workload as a team but not this time. She just can’t do it. Not a problem, I can do it alone. But then, a couple of weeks before we are scheduled to move I develop a foot spur on the bottom of my right foot, which causes me considerable pain and limits my ability to stand for any considerable amount of time. Coupled with the foot spur comes sciatic nerve pain in my left leg and just to make it interesting, for some unknown reason my gums become inflamed and produce almost toothache like pain during the day and at night.
What happened next was that the Lord and I had some pretty serious discussions. I laid it on the line, without His intervention I was not going to be able to do the work that needed to be done with the move. No immediate response was forthcoming. I muddled through with packing over 50+ boxes in prep for the move with no relief from the ailments. Then, two days before the move, the foot spur pain totally disappears and the inflamed gums return to normal (no discomfort). Leg pain from the sciatic nerve is still there but it becomes manageable. On the moving day and the day after, I am on my feet for a good 10 hours each day and somehow, all the requirements are completed, which includes unpacking at the new apartment. We had hired movers to move us but there is always the last minute cleaning materials, household plants and items that they won’t move that need to be addressed. All of it got done. I hired a cleaning company to meet the old apartment departure cleanup requirements.
Had the foot spur, the painful gum inflammation and very painful sciatic nerve pain not disappeared or diminished, I simply would not have been able to do the work that needed to be done. I am still amazed that it all got done. The foot spur and sore gums remain totally gone but the sciatic nerve pain in my leg is still problematic but I’m managing. My wife will be 74 in November and I am 74 now.
Bear in mind this is one issue. There are other issues of a more personal nature that cause considerable stress but I’m not going to bore you with those. These are issues of the heart where physical and emotional limitations are stretched or severely tested. Even here, God has provided, giving peace and accommodation, where there was real potential for chaos.
We (my wife and I) still have unanswered prayers, issues which remain unresolved that tear at our hearts, primarily focusing on our children and their needs. We’re not alone there, many fellow Christians are in the same boat. What also amazes me is the love that my wife and I have for one another and that it is maintained and strengthened by God blessing our marriage. I am so thankful for His grace.
So why do I feel overwhelmed at times you ask? That’s a good question! God seems to be taking us right to the end of our endurance at times, where we’re walking that fine line in total faith, not having a clue how the issues that tear our hearts apart, are going to turn out. The window of opportunity for my wife’s and my involvement is relatively short and I get anxious. Unsaved loved ones cause us most grief.
God’s Word tells us that it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6) without faith. God’s Word in Ephesians 2:8-9 also makes it clear that faith is a gift from God, not because we deserve it, have earned it, or are worthy to have it. It is not from ourselves; it is from God. It is not obtained by our power or our free will. Faith is simply given to us by God, along with His grace and mercy, according to His holy plan and purpose, and because of that, He gets all the glory.
I have that faith, that hope. But sometimes I want to see those longings of my heart for my unsaved loved ones, manifested before my eyes, now. And when I voice that need that I have in my prayers, I keep getting the same answer that He showed me during my recent move. This is my own paraphrase, “If I meet your current needs now, you can trust me with your other needs.”
God keeps s t r e t c h i n g my faith, I’ll be candid with you, I’m not always keen about this. I really wouldn’t mind if He focused more on my visual timeline versus His own, but He keeps reinforcing this trust in Him, time and time again. So many stories I could tell.
Why faith? “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).
Our faith can falter at times, but because it is the gift of God, given to His children, He provides times of trial and testing in order to prove that our faith is real and to sharpen and strengthen it. This is why James tells us to consider it “pure joy” when we fall into trials, because the testing of our faith produces perseverance and matures us, providing the evidence that our faith is real (James 1:2-4). I’m pretty sure my response to my latest trial wouldn’t be included under the “pure joy” category. But as God always does, when you really need Him, when your back is to the wall, He comes through.
Update on the sciatic nerve pain in my left leg, totally gone the following month! However, I should mention that I infrequently hear my wife mention that I am a pain. I think my hearing might be going. That can’t possibly be right!
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!