On this Sweet Saturday, I want to encourage you if you’re going through a tough time. It is so easy to be thankful when things are going well and understandably much harder to think thankful thoughts when everything seems to be falling apart.
I know what I’m talking about here.
Earlier this week I was stuck in a very long CFIDS flare that involved daily unrelenting migraines. How and where could I find any … any … reason to be thankful? And how is that even possible?
I recently read a devotional that confirms what I have long suspected. We were encouraged to store up the memories of precious times when we felt God blessing us with something special, and slide those memories out during the tough times.
In other words, remember the good during the not-so-good.
In Old Testament times, God encouraged His people to pile up some stones in the places of special blessing as a remembrance for them to recall during difficult times. I use what I call “memory markers”—special times in my life when God has shown His faithfulness to me. I cling to these memory markers during the frustrating days of chronic illness when it often seems I will never climb out of the pit.
What this has done has been remarkable in my life. Where before I would mentally cry “I don’t understand,” now, even though I still don’t understand (because I’m not God), I find myself telling God, “I don’t get it, but I trust that You know what You’re doing and that’s good enough for me.”
You see, God has shown me over and over again that I can count on Him. And each of those times, I have made a new memory marker to be able to recall the event and the outcome when I need encouragement. A few examples from my own life:
- Some years ago, I very reluctantly agreed to be a counselor at a camp for abused and abandoned children. Oh, I certainly felt God’s leading but I also felt totally unqualified for the task. God, however, had other ideas and provided the exact amount of strength and spiritual uplifting I needed to complete the week at camp—so much so that I went back the next year!
- The small, family-owned business I worked for downsized and I was the only one let go. As my sole source of support, that should have really worried me but I trusted God to provide me with just the right job for me in a short time… and He did, in less than one week!
- For years I struggled with a particular spiritual problem that finally left me once I completely—and I mean completely— gave it to the Lord to take care of. [This is an example of my “palms down” visual method of handing problems to the Lord… more about this in a future blog post.]
- Rick and I trusted God to show us the right time to sell our home in California and make the move to Arizona. We were delighted but not surprised when He provided just the right buyer for our California home while at the same time providing us the exact home we need here in Arizona.
Here is the crucial part of trusting God: each time I choose to trust God during a particularly puzzling and/or frustrating situation, He demonstrates His faithfulness to me. Sometimes that means He answers a particular prayer in a particular way; other times He simply wants me to trust Him while He works behind the scenes, even if it doesn’t feel like He is hearing me.
During one of those examples I listed above, God gave me Isaiah 26:3 to remember:
“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
I’m very happy to report that this particular memory marker soothes and comforts me while it also reinforces my trust and faith in my Lord, Jesus Christ.