I have been going through the intros and trying to get caught up with who's who and take in all the great advice, suggestions and words of encouragement. Might take me awhile, but time is something I've got plenty of. Beth, I'm sorry about your situation and I can certainly understand your concerns about how the future will unfold. The first 6 months of no income I was beside myself with worry. Of course I convinced myself and all those around me that I trusted Father, but inside I was sick with anxiety. Then one day I read this devotional and everything changed.
"The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, deserted island. He prayed fervently for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none came. Exhausted, he eventually built a small hut out of driftwood as a shelter and a place to store his few remaining possessions.
One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke billowing up to the sky. Everything was lost. Stunned with grief and anger, he cried, “God, how could You do this to me?” Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?” the weary man asked. “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.
God is always at work in our lives, even during our most stress-filled moments. When we entrust everything we are and everything we have to Him, when we depend upon His truth instead of our own understanding and choose to walk in obedience, He promises to “make our paths straight.” No matter how deep the valley, we can count on God for direction.
Valleys are best faced with a total abandonment to the Shepherd of the valley. How many times have we danced with joy on the mountaintop and then moaned and complained in the valley?
God is Lord of the mountain and the valley.
I suspect that the most powerful life is lived in the valley – not on the mountaintop. Every valley is surrounded by mountains. Every valley has a Shepherd, a Shepherd who will walk with us through the valley, and a Shepherd who will go before us, leading us out of the valley.
No matter where you are today, your Father is there. No matter how deep or long the valley, He is with you, waiting for you to surrender all."
After reading this I realized I felt the same as the lone survivor, abandoned by God and wondering why He would allow so much pain and grief and heartache in my life. Wasn't it enough that I live with chronic pain? And then the job loss. Wasn't that enough? And then abandoned by family and friends. Enough Lord! What does all this mean? And then He answered. He reminded me of all the times I claimed that everything I have is really His and all the times I sing out, "You give and take away, but my heart will choose to say Lord blessed be Your name and all the times I claimed that I'd give my life for Him. So if I was willing to die for Him why wasn't I willing to give up my stuff for Him, my home, my security, my health for Him? Wow! It's easy to say we'd allow a gunman to shoot us to stand up for our faith, but maybe because we know where we'll be within moments, but to give up our comforts and our things? No, no! Don't touch my stuff! It's ALL His anyway. If He chooses to remove it from my life He has a reason that will always work out for my good and that's what I put my faith in. He is with us waiting for us to surrender ALL.
I pray Beth that the God of all comfort holds you in His arms and brings you peace through this valley.