Posted by: Heather | August 22, 2010

Glory from our Trouble

2 Corinthians 4:17-18  (NIV)  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.   18  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

This seems to be another of those times that comes every so often.  I don’t know…either I haven’t been as focused as usual, the activities have been too abundant, or there’s too much pressing on my mind.  The inspiration to write has escaped me for a great many days, which is something I’m still not quite used to.   Writing has become like breathing in a lot of ways, as it’s almost automatic, so I don’t know what to do when I just can’t find the words to put down.  So, today I just wanted to share something that’s on my heart, and hopefully it will be an encouragement to someone.

It’s a very pressing time.  I do pray for people, and gladly accept requests to pray when others have needs.  However, for the past couple of weeks, there has been a greater pull to prayer.  The prayer requests I’ve received lately hit much closer to home than usual.  Although as Christians, we have compassion for others in need, it’s just different when you know those involved, because it’s easier to feel the pain they’re experiencing on a more personal level.  There are several of my personal friends and acquaintances that are going through trials of a very serious nature, and they have been weighing very heavily on my heart.

The past 2 weeks have brought bad news in almost every direction.  Tragedy struck the community I grew up in last week when one of my high school classmates lost his 13 year old daughter to an aneurysm.  A close personal friend is going through some health issues that are of unknown origin.  The husband of another dear friend was in a bicycling accident involving a car, and has been told by the doctors he has suffered a spinal cord injury.  The husband of yet another friend underwent serious, complicated heart surgery and has had some complications which landed him back in the hospital for a second surgery, where he has been ‘under’ for a week awaiting a third surgery to clear more infection.

The weekend brought even more opportunities for prayer.  A young couple I have known for many years was vacationing at the beach with their children when their oldest child (5 years old) began having seizures.  He had to be airlifted to the nearest university hospital where they are now waiting for him to wake up.  Then, when I returned from church this evening, I had a message that the mother of another friend passed away suddenly this afternoon, after having a diagnosis of acute leukemia just 2 weeks ago.

The situations I’ve listed are the most serious ones.  I know many more that are going through trials with sick family members or their own personal turmoil.  Often during these troubles, we feel like we’re going to break beneath the weight of the burden.  But this passage in II Corinthians promises us that all of these trials (the KJV calls them ‘light afflictions’) are working something far greater in us than we can see on the surface.   If we allow Him, God will use our trials to work the fruit of the spirit in our lives…those unseen characteristics that stick with us for eternity.  And God Himself, who we can’t see, will become a very real strength and refuge during our time of need.

In many cases, when we’re going through these situations, we can’t imagine any justification for them.  As a mother that has buried a child herself, whenever I hear cases of a child dying or becoming seriously ill, it almost consumes me, because I remember the pain of those days nearly 11 years ago.  And still, in my mind, I wish I had never had to go through that.  But I did.  And, because God brought me through it, I’m able to do more than sympathize with mothers that have lost children, or mothers whose children are ill.   I am able to bring them some encouragement and comfort, and let them know that no matter what they’re going through, God has not left them.  Even though I don’t enjoy the fact that I faced that trial, almost 11 years later, I can have a compassion for people going through this particular situation that others may not have.

My heart is very heavy for my friends that are suffering serious things today.  However, I know One that will never leave or forsake any of them.  As I pray for comfort for those that have suffered loss, I also pray for positive outcomes for those that are fighting the battles that have been handed to them.   Even while I petition God for all of these situations, I remember and celebrate an answer to prayer in another trial.   Two years ago, a dear friend of mine delivered twins, months earlier than they should have been born.  The situation was so serious that the doctors gave them 3-5 days to live, and truly believed they would not make it that long.  In fact, the situation was grave.  The little girl didn’t have any of the major vessels needed to support the blood flow to her heart.  People banded together to pray.  By God’s grace and His constant nurture, those twins are alive and well today!  And do you know what?  The doctor’s last report on that sweet little girl is that she still didn’t have the vessels needed to support her heart.  They don’t know how, and they don’t know why, but her heart is still beating, she’s still alive, and is beating the odds!   Every day that goes by, God gets glory, because according to the natural eye, there’s no way she could live.  But, she does live, and is a walking testimony to the power of God!

None of us have a guarantee.  We don’t know when and if tragedy will strike, or when a moment in time might change our lives forever.   But, when we face these obstacles, we can be sure that God’s Word is true.  These afflictions, although burdensome and often so painful, end up making us who we are…vessels of God that carry His glory because we have allowed Him to help us through our trouble.    The unseen work of the heart is being done through these troubles and trials.  Whatever you face today, hang on to God, and allow Him to work a greater glory in you.

Update:  The day after this blog post was published, the young child that was airlifted to the hospital during his family’s vacation woke up, and began making a great improvement.  He returned home 2 days later.  Praise the Lord for His goodness!

Also, my friend that has the baby born with a heart condition gave a praise report a few days after the original post.   When her daughter was born, they turned her case over to Hospice, believing she would not live even until the next day.  One year later, she was discharged from Hospice, and enrolled in Hospice home health care for monitoring.  This week, she was also discharged from that program, and told she no longer needed them!  Praise be to God!

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Responses

  1. Back in the “old days” the teachers of young preachers exorted that they should never resort to “reflective preaching.” I disagree! We overcome the enemy by the Blood of The Lamb and the Word of our Testimony! This is a very timely and powerful post. I have been preaching for almost 42 years and I have never seen a time when God’s people are under such constant duress. It’s like “Chinese water torture” drip, drip, drip. If you are made aware that you’re not alone, it makes a world of difference.


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