Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Mid-Week Message - Faithfulness in Difficult Times

"For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us!"  Romans 8:18 (AMP)

My mother's father was a carpenter.  So was her step-father.  They could create some of the most beautiful pieces of furniture and cabinetry that could be imagined.  They both excelled at their craft.  And both were missing part of one finger.  My father's father was a jack-of-all-trades.  He took work when and where he could.  I don't know as much about him as I would like to.  He passed away before I was born.  All of them had something in common and that is that they all realized that life wasn't easy.  It took hard work to earn a dollar and if the economy took a downturn, and it did in a massive way, then those dollars dried up.  

Both of my parents' families struggled in life.  It was a hard road for them.  I have told the story before of how my father moved out on his own when he was nine years old.  As I was growing up I would watch him over-buy canned food.  He wasn't a hoarder, he just liked to have extra.  When I asked him why, his reply was, "I've been hungry before and I'm never going to be again."  That was very revealing about his childhood.  Because of what my parents went through, they were determined that, at the very least, their children would never know hunger.  And we didn't.  We may have gone without some other items, but food was never one of them.  

Life is difficult in one way or another for almost everyone.  I can't speak from the vantage point of the very rich because I have never had a lot of money to spare.  I'm sure they have their own hardships though. My family seemed only to have enough money to make it through what was directly in front of us.  If something big came up, Daddy would go to the credit union and borrow what was needed and paid it back as quickly as he could.  My husband has told me similar stories about his father.  They did what they had to do to take care of what had been entrusted to them but never really experienced any ease in life.  When my father retired, he was looking forward to relaxing some but life had other plans.  My mother's health began to fail and he had to take care of her.  Had he been able to choose, he would have preferred the work he did before retirement.  As toilsome as it was, it was simpler than being a caregiver.  

What is your family's story?  Depending on how old you are, it will differ, but the basic elements will probably still be there.  Hard work to earn a living.  Dealing with financial issues, emergencies, catastrophes of one kind or another, lack of work, illnesses.  These are just a few of the issues we encounter.  Somewhere in the family tree are those who have experienced the turmoil of living.  Find them.  Study them.  What helped them through?  

The Apostle Paul was used by God to write some of the most beautiful and profound scriptures in the Bible.  He was a man of deep faith and completely dedicated to following and serving the Lord.  He was a tent maker by trade so he knew what it meant to work for wages to support himself.  When we read about his life we learn how rough it was for him as a servant of the Almighty.  He was shipwrecked, beaten, imprisoned, whipped, hungry, thirsty, robbed. All during his travels for the Gospel.  How did he make it through?  He trusted his Father.  And he knew that Heaven was coming at which time the struggles would no longer exist and he could bask in the glory of the great I Am.  

The troubles we have today are temporary.  Though they feel as though they will last forever, everything has an ending.  A job will be found.  Bills will be paid.  Illnesses will either be healed on earth or healed in Heaven.  Nothing lasts forever here on earth. We can make it through whatever we face, just as those who came before us did, by focusing on the promise that God will always take care of His own.  He will provide for our needs as He said He will do.  Our job is to walk close to Him and not give up.  He will give us the strength for the next steps, as He did for Paul, if we will ask Him to do so.  

I am so glad that I know how my predecessors lived and the trials they experienced.  It is a reminder that the Lord has always walked with my family and an assurance that He will do the same with me no matter how hard or tiring my days get.  I would love to hear the story of your family and how they made it through all they experienced.  History is a gift.  This week I pray that you will keep your hand firmly in His and that you will ask Him for strength whenever you need it.  God bless you.

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