Overwhelming Trouble


I have lived through periods of being overwhelmed. My details aren’t important. Insert your own circumstances into the story I am about to tell you.

One particularly difficult period went on for a few years. I would often talk to God about “this mess that is my life.” I could see no way forward. It was impossible to go back. The circumstances I found myself in were beyond my control and way beyond my ability. It wasn’t a matter of trying harder, it was a matter of being completely undone.

My life was like a train wreck. Twisted metal blocking any clear path.

Sitting crumpled on my living room floor I cried out to God. “This is too hard. I am too weak. I can’t go on.” It was as if He whispered…”Can you get through this hour? I will be with you this hour.” “Take my hand. Moment by moment we will get through this.”

I wanted no part of this train wreck. I wanted a smooth easy existence with blessings floating down to my outstretched hands. God wanted my outstretched hands to be reaching for Him not His blessings.

Severe trouble shifted my focus from things He provides to God Himself. When everything else lay in ruins, God was the only thing left. He was offering to take my hand as I stumbled through the train wreck. The train wreck took years to get through. I still encounter remnants of it. When I do I am reminded of how far God has brought me. From constant, hopeless despair to a moment by moment existence holding tightly to my Father’s hand.

What have I learned? My utter sinfulness. My need, not for new circumstances, but to be right with God. My hope could not be found within myself, but within God’s redemption.

Whatever your circumstances there is hope. Not in yourself, but in God.

We are eternal beings. We will live forever. This life isn’t all there is. You have a choice to make. Living moment by moment with God now and for eternity, or turning away from His outstretched hand to live a miserable existence in this life and the next.

“For God so loved the world, (that means you) that He gave His only Son, (Jesus died for your sins) That whoever (that includes you) believes in Him should not perish (separation from God for eternity) but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV – (notes by me.)

For further study:

Free at Last – (Wilderness Journey #6)


They were finally free. They were no longer slaves, but freedom is never free. It had come at a cost.

God had wrenched them out of Pharaoh’s grasp. The years of abuse and bondage by an evil power were finally over. Pharaoh had been warned, but he chose not to listen. He paid with the life of his son.

God had warned that the first born of every household would die. The death angel would not take into account their social status or birthright. Ruler or slave, death would come.
There was one thing that would save them. They were to take the blood of a lamb and apply it to the door of their homes. (Exodus 12:22-23) This was a sign for the death angel to pass over them. Those that believed what Moses told them applied the blood. At midnight all the firstborn from houses where the blood had not been applied were killed.

Blood is what saved the Israelites. The blood of a lamb applied to each of their doors .

It wasn’t the last time blood would be used to save a people. God was pointing forward to another lamb that would save , not just Israel, but would purchase the freedom of the whole world.

It wasn’t enough for Him to die. The blood needs to be applied. Not for the world as a whole, but one by one, each individual.

God’s son died on Passover. The day yearly set aside since the time of Moses to remember their deliverance from Egypt. That deliverance was a shadow of a greater deliverance. A deliverance from sin and bondage.

When the blood is applied a journey begins. The road will be difficult. It will involve learning to trust this God who gave His only Son to purchase our redemption…but He promises that someday we will reach the promised land and the journey will be worth it.

Listen – Believe – Apply – Live

It is that simple.

Truly, truly I say to you. he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgement, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:24 (NASB)

“Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” I Peter 1:18-19

For further study: Exodus 11&12; II Corinthians 4:25

Home at Last

We moved this past year. My husband retired and we decided to relocate. We moved to a new house with new neighbors, in a new town and found a new church.

It has been about a year and we still feel unsettled.  We feel a longing to be known.

To have someone look at us with eyes of recognition. To know our names and ask about our kids.

I long for community.

…To have people know my name and ever so much more,

…To know I enjoy music and art, taking walks, a good cup of tea and auctions.

…That I have a sense of humor, am a pretty good cook and can be a fiercely loyal friend if given the chance.

I want them to know my heart aches from old wounds and some not so old. Things you can’t blurt out when you are just getting to know someone. It takes time…lots of time.

So, as I struggle to fit into our new community, I look expectantly to someday heaven. It will be a place of perfect acceptance, a place without longing.

I’ve been told a place is being prepared. (John 14:1-3) A just right place, a perfect place, a belonging place that isn’t uncomfortable. A place without an awkward adjustment period.

I imagine being greeted with a bear hug by the God who was unapproachable and untouchable in the Old Testament accounts. (*see below) Now he has promised to wipe away my tears. (Revelation 21:4)

I will be immediately known and loved. Not because I am good, but because I belong to a great King who purchased my freedom at an awful price. (I Peter 1:18 & 19)

He saved me even knowing who I would be and what I would do. Loved me in spite of all of it. Why? For a purpose, to worship and serve Him.

He will integrate me seamlessly into the heavenly community; giving me a job that suits just me. One where I can contribute and feel helpful.

He will delight that I am there, at home with Him. At home with the one who has loved me since the foundation of the world. (Matthew 25:34)

And all of this will fade away. For I will be home at last.


 * God told Moses – “No man shall see me and live.” ( Exodus 33:20) ;                                Some men from Beth-shemesh looked into the ark and they were struck dead along with 50,070 others. (I Samuel 6:19);                                                                                                    Uzzah was killed for touching the ark (2 Samuel 6:6-7)

Because I’m Worth It

That phrase is 41 years old. It was part of an ad campaign for L’Oreal. I still remember the first time my family saw the commercial on our small black and white TV. My parents looked at each other and burst out laughing. I never imagined that the phrase would still be with us and become so much a part of our culture all these years later. it’s one thing for a secular company to use it as an ad campaign, but when Christians start using it as an excuse to indulge and pamper ourselves I just feel sad.

We have become a generation of “me first!” We are full of self-esteem, self-centeredness and self-indulgence. On more than one occasion I have heard individuals preach the gospel of “Loving Ourselves”. They use Ephesians 5:29 “after all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body.” They fail to see the verses directly preceding it which are an exhortation for husbands to love their wives (as their own body).

Scripture is plain that we already love ourselves. We don’t need encouragement to do it. It comes naturally. That’s why God’s word is full of verses that emphasize loving your neighbor as yourself. In other words, show the same love for others that you have for yourself. Scripture even goes farther.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love, give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10). Philippians 2:3-4 states “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” The passage goes on to give Christ as our example (Philippians 2:5-8) Rather than demanding His rightful place He became a servant and took our punishment on the cross.

Hebrews 11 is full of examples of people who followed hard after God. Some experienced wonderful miracles. Some endured relentless trouble and death.

Hebrews 12:1-3 gives us our marching orders. “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

My father belonged to a whole generation of men who went to war not for love of self, but for love of family and country…to stand with God against evil.

  • Are we so busy pampering ourselves that a righteous cause is no longer worthy of our time?
  • Are we so busy teaching our children to love themselves that they won’t know how to fight for something besides themselves when trouble comes?
  • Are we so blind to the redemption God brought to us at such horrific cost that instead of following His example we think our salvation was for our benefit alone?

We forget we were meant to be part of a larger story. A story that is more glorious than our small little life and our stunted perspective.

As you look back at your life what is most memorable? What are you most satisfied with? Is it how well you loved yourself? Or is it the times you were able, with God’s strength, to do the hard things, to love the hard people. To stay up all night with a sick child. To hold the hand of a parent who is dying. To sit with a friend in a courtroom as her son is being charged with a crime. To whisper I’m sorry to someone who has just lost a loved one. To give the money you were saving for a new dress to a family who is out of work. To put aside what seemed pleasant and good so that a greater purpose could be served.

Do you repeat the phrase “Because I’m Worth it” or do you unwaveringly proclaim “Because God is worthy I lay aside my wants and longings for his wants and longings.” His is a much grander story than you could ever imagine. Delight to be part of it.

(This is an edited version of a post from September 23, 2013 – Lytroo Retreat website )