Sometimes when life is hard we tend to push our faith away; thinking that God doesn’t love us or care for us or He wouldn’t allow bad things to happen to us. My husband and I are in a difficult financial position right now. We still have debt from our farm that we took out of production in December 2008. Energy costs are what killed our farm and they are still putting a big burden on us. We have been able to keep afloat by cutting expenses everywhere that we can and going back to work, continuing my online shops and renting our tenant house, BUT the rental house is currently empty and savings are rapidly disappearing. We know it was the right decision to take our farm out of production because it was no longer profitable. We know that somehow we will make it through this difficulty and come out on the other side with God’s help, but each day is a new day in which our faith is tested.
I cannot say that I have not pushed God away at times during this difficulty, but I can say that I no longer do. He is very much a part of every minute of every day for me. Without Him in my life, I could not cope with the strain of our finances. Each day seems to bring some new challenge and it is really tough to put one foot in front of the other and march on, when many days I want to curl up into the fetal position and hide from the world. God is the one who keeps me from doing that and my faith assures me that God is who will carry me through this and to the other side of it. The key is that I must surrender all to Him so that He can work in my life and I’m not really all that good at letting go of the controls. I give it all to God and keep taking it back. Some days I wonder if complete and utter financial ruin is what He wants for us. Perhaps that would once and for all make us rely on Him alone. Other days, He assures me that financial ruin is not at all what He wants for us and that in the end we will come out the other side whole and better for the difficulties. That is a hard vision to hold on to but I do hold onto it, because each brick wall that jumps up in front of us is torn down as He finds a way for us.
I know there are many in the world whose difficulties are so much worse than ours and each time I forget that and start to complain, God shows me the riches that I still have and those whose paths are much harder than mine: those who have lost loved ones in what seems to us to be “before their time,” those who are suffering from illnesses, those whose paths are more financially difficult than ours, those who are being persecuted for their faith and their beliefs and those whose faith remains steadfast through all of those difficulties. My name is not Job and I fear that I will never be able to show his patience, but with Christ, I can do all things and in that I rest my burdens. In the suffering of others, I see that my suffering is not so great. In the suffering that He offered up for me out of love, I understand that He loves me eternally and that even though I have failed Him many times, I have nothing to fear because He will never fail me and will walk with me through it all, if I will allow Him to do so.
I don’t really like sharing our difficulties with the world but I feel certain it is what He wants me to do today. How can the testimony of how He will ultimately walk us through the valley, be truly beneficial to others, if we only share the mountaintop? No, I want to set the stage here and now for our deliverance from this financial misery, so that there will be no doubt that to God goes the glory for our deliverance from that misery. We have already changed so much. We have learned to live without many things that we once thought were essential to our happiness. We now find that we didn’t need those things at all. They were nice to have but certainly not essential! Our values have and continue to change. We find great joy in the good things in our lives. Our focus is on Him and not on the world and for that I am so thankful. I am sure there will be more tough days, but I am also sure that in Him, we will get through it and be better for it. I look forward to the day when we are out of this valley and are standing on the mountaintop and I will give Him all the praise!
If you are walking through a valley of your own, let me encourage you to let Him walk with you and let Him show you the way to get through it, one day and one mercy at a time. You have no need to be alone, for He is with you and He will always be with you. Let Him ease the burdens of your pain, your loneliness, your financial woes, your loss, your heartbreak, your illnesses. Let Him surround you with His love and His mercy and His comfort and let Him walk with you through the valley to that place on the mountaintop that He has prepared for you.
The words that the Lord gave to Jeremiah still apply to each of us today. The Lord’s plan is to prosper us and not to harm us. The difficulties that we face in this life are to draw us closer to Him and more steadfast in our faith and relationship with Him. I pray that any of you who are in despair will hold onto these words and know that God meant them for all of us: