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I was at a café this morning doing my devotions when a middle aged couple came and wanted to sit at a table with some sun. I gave up my table and sat on the table next door. The wife was obviously in some distress and looked quite unwell – she looked like she needed the sun more than I did.
After they’d finished their coffee and the husband helped her to the car, he came back to get his gear from the table. He thanked me for moving and started sharing with me how unwell his wife had been after becoming emotionally and physically exhausted in caring for some relatives.
I was surprised at how deep we got into the conversation in 15 minutes but I was able to share from some of my experiences last year. I was able to encourage him that there was hope and there was light at the end of the tunnel, even if the journey took a bit of time. He lives nearby so I gave him my number and let him know he could call me anytime if he needed anything – even if he just wanted to catch up for a coffee and chat.
It made me realize that God trusts us with suffering.
He allows us to go through suffering and expects us to steward it well for the blessing of others and advancement of the kingdom. That seems a funny way to put it, but God wouldn’t let you go through suffering if He didn’t know you could make it through to the other side
I know what you’re thinking – “God, please, don’t trust me so much.” I know that feeling from painful experience. But God is clear in 1 Cor 10:13b that:
“All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”
God entrusts us with that trial so we can live out 2 Cor 1:4
“He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
I was reading an interview with Brian Houston this week. He talks about his openness in his new book, “Live. Love. Lead”. In the interview, he says,
“ … in our Hillsong world when outwardly we were exploding (with growth) inwardly I was imploding. So decline? I go into quite a bit of detail about that 12 year decline. I ended up with panic attacks and being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress.
Yeah – I have had plenty of the valleys and the reason for adding all that to the book is that I want to bless other people. It is amazing how you meet God in the valley.”
There’s a man who’s stewarding his pain to bless others.
Let me encourage you church. Whatever you’re going through, God wants to take it and turn it for your blessing and the blessing of others. Even if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, God will bring you through and bring meaning to the pain.
We just need to keep a right heart and sweet spirit through that time. Hang on to the fact that you can trust God regardless of how dire the circumstance looks.
We love you church. See you on Sunday.
Alex & Sarah