We shuffled down the stairs, still wiping the sleep from our eyes, only to fall into the warmth of the couch, snuggled under fleece blankets and tucking our toes in tight.
Darkness still lingered in an early morning sky, and even with the heat switched on, the cold surrounded and invaded and pushed us back to the warmth of pillows and bodies and snuggling as a family.
It didn’t take long to realize that something wasn’t quite right. Vents opened for heat released only cool air, and the house remained brisk. Any trace of concern was brushed away with assumptions: a year old furnace that couldn’t break or a pilot light that surely had gone out. Certainly it was nothing worse than that.
But after an hour of troubleshooting and reading the instruction manual again and again, I held the phone close to my ear, fingers numb and worry creasing my forehead.
“… out of warranty …”
“… $85 just to take a look …”
Suddenly, an inconvenience to some, was a kick down a mountain of hope for me, and I landed in the deep, miry well of discouragement.
“Lord! We have worked so hard, fought so faithfully, trusted You so intently – and now – this?
How will we ever make it?
I just. don’t. understand.”
After walking through extended unemployment, the loss of all of our savings, sacrificing and giving and selling most of what we could,
after two years of near financial ruin, nearly losing our home, menial jobs, and great uncertainty,
one thing became apparent: God is faithful.
Against all odds, in spite of dire circumstances:
He provided. He sustained. He heard.
But in that moment, worried over eighty-five dollars,
I took my eyes off of my faithful God and fixed my gaze on the circumstance in front of me.
But once again, He proved that
He provides. He sustains. He hears!
No sooner had my heart burst with fear, and discouragement escaped my lips, did He answer.
“I got it!” my dad’s voice exclaimed from the crawlspace. “I don’t know what I did differently, but it’s on!”
With a little jiggle here, a hard knock there, and many prayers the whole way through, I knew Who got our furnace working again.
Friend, sometimes in the struggles of life, we forget Who holds all of the pieces together –
We forget Who holds us.
And maybe, for you, today is one of those days when it seems easier to forget than it is to remember, so may I remind you?
From one struggler to another, may I just whisper His word to your anxious heart?
“Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.“
“Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?“
“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Luke 12: 22-31 MSG)
O Friend, might we walk through these struggles together, reminding one another to steep ourselves in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions!
“Your Father knows that you need [these things]. Seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid…your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom!” (Luke 12:30-32 NIV)
Let’s recount His faithfulness today, for He. is. faithful!
“I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help come from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth!”
(Psalm 121:1-2 NIV84)