Every year my wife and I are in a Campmeeting in West Memphis, AR. She teaches the ladies and girls 2-3 mornings of that meeting. This is ONE of the lessons she has for this year. I know it's long but think it can be a blessing.
We’re Going to Do the Best We Can with What We’ve Got
I sat across the table from my mother, many ….MANY… years ago, as a young bride, and poured out my complaints about how difficult it was to fix up and decorate the tiny apartment where I had recently moved. She sat there, with her blue eyes sparkling in amusement, and took in every word. Finally, she started smiling….and the smile turned into laughter. I was insulted. I don’t like being laughed at when I whine, I want sympathy. (My mother was never very good in the sympathy department.) When I got past the peak of my indignation, she began to explain to me the reason for her amusement. “I was remembering a funny experience from my own life,” she said. “I was a young military bride; it was right after the end of WWII. We reached our new duty station, and I was so excited to be starting my new life with my new husband! But we had a huge problem. Housing was very hard to find. All the men coming back from the war and families relocating made housing around the military bases scarce. Finally, we took the only thing that was available. A man had renovated a poultry house and made it into apartments. The ceiling was so low, that your dad had to stoop over to walk around the room. The floors were concrete and the walls were so thin you could just about sneeze through them. But you know what? It is amazing how cute you can make a chicken coop with a little love and ingenuity.”
Her lesson rang loud and clear. You take what you have, and you do the best you can with it. Whining doesn’t change what we have. The only thing it does is add a sour note of impossibility to our circumstances that doesn’t necessarily have to be there. That was the beginning lesson…a lesson I have had to learn over and over again throughout my Christian life. It is amazing how many ways God has taught me this same lesson. It has stood me through every trial and hardship in my life and I feel like the Lord would have me share what I have learned with you.
This devotional is probably going to be more personal than any I’ve ever given. I don’t usually like to talk about myself, and I really struggled with this lesson because it is so personal. I never want anyone to get the idea that I am talking about myself to lift myself up in any way. But I learned a valuable lesson from Sister Tanya Blankenship. If you don’t know who she is, she is the wife of Steven Blankenship, who is a minister to juvenile delinquents. He preaches in juvenile prisons across the country and operates the Marvelous Grace Girls Academy for troubled teenage girls in Pace, Florida. Sis Tanya was referring to Alisha, and not myself with what she said, but the Lord really spoke to my heart through it. I don’t remember the exact words she used, but it was something to this effect: “God allows us to go through some things in our life, and gives us the strength for the battle, and the grace to forgive, to grow and to be stronger. But those lessons are only of real benefit when we use them to help others who are needing growth, help and healing.” God allows us to go through some things, sometimes, so that others may learn.
2Co 1:3-4 - Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
I’m going to be sharing a lot of small stories from my life, not so that you might look at me – but at the God that I serve. Everything that the Lord has seen me through, He can also see you through, and much more. There is no way that I could cover it all. I probably could double the stories I will tell here, but I think these are the ones God would have me use.
The little lesson that my mother taught me finally became a theme in my life, and my children, and a lot of my students over the years, have heard it so many times that they could quote it to you in their sleep. I summed it up this way: “We are going to do the best we can, with what we’ve got.”
The dear lady from our church meant well. She really did. She insisted that she go with me to see the remains of my home. She told me that even though I told her I was fine, it would all hit me when I saw it, and I would need her emotional support. I thought maybe she might be right. I was a new bride. All my wedding gifts and the sweet, newly purchased things for our home were gone. We’d only been married 5 months when the explosion of a gas tanker next to our house took it all. I walked toward the burned-out rubble, and I honestly, for a moment, felt guilty that I was disappointing the dear, helpful lady, but I wasn’t devastated. I wasn’t particularly happy to see the blackened mess with the 3 huge holes burned all the way through the exterior wall – but God’s peace had flooded my heart, and I walked up to it without a tear, and began to search through the ashes for anything that might still be usable….
How do you react when God takes something away? Now some people might tell you, oh, honey, God never takes things away. Ohhhh…yes’m He does! Sometimes He takes things away because they are a hindrance in your life. Sometimes He takes them away because He intends to give you something better. Sometimes He takes them away because you need to grow in faith and grace. But He does, sometimes, take things away that we have pretty much set our hearts upon. What do you do? You do the best you can with what you’ve got. You take the situation in hand, for what it is with all the good and bad that it contains, and you deal with it. Do you get mad at God, because you had your little basket all fixed up the way you wanted it, and He messed it up?
1Co 6:19-20 - What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Rom 12:1-2 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
When the Lord Jesus Christ saved our unworthy souls, He purchased us unto Himself. Lock, stock and barrel. We belong to Him. He has the right to do with us as He pleases. Now, our modern, independent American mindset doesn’t like that idea very much. We might repeat it like a parrot in rhetoric, but when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, we don’t like the idea of turning our whole lives over to God. We seem to get the idea that He’s going to mistreat us. He won’t. He loves you more than you can possibly imagine, and He only plans for your good. You can trust Him. You can trust Him with your possessions, with your future, with your marriage, with your children, with your church, with your finances. You can trust Him. Never, ever will you be more fulfilled and content than when you turn yourself over, completely, to the Lord as a living sacrifice. Notice in the Scripture that this is something that we must do..it is not something that God will make us do. The sacrifice here is like all sacrifices - willingly offered. He said, “I beseech you” (I’m asking you, earnestly, almost begging you, because this is for your good – for the best that God has to offer you.) “present yourselves” (you give the sacrifice, willingly, without being compelled. It is a conscious choice that you make to give yourself over to God with all that you have and all that you are.)
2Sa_22:31 - As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
Psa_9:10 - And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
When you give yourself to God, the peace that floods your soul in times of troubles and heartaches is not describable to anyone. It is a special touch that comes from the Holy Spirit of God. I have tried, many times, to describe it this way: “There is a place in the lowest of valleys, where the hand of God is more real, and the touch of God more sweet than at any other time and place…but you must walk through the valley to feel that touch – it doesn’t come on the mountain top.” We can choose to walk through the valley, kicking and struggling the whole way – fighting against the path that God has chosen for our lives. Or we can bow our heads, reach for His hand and allow the comfort that He gives to flood our souls. The choice is ours, and it is a choice between struggle and surrender. You will still go through the heartaches and troubles. But it is your choice as to whether you go through them with the peace of God or without it.
As I headed down the road, in my old clunker car, it decided, once again, that it was tired and needed a rest. I managed to get it to the side of the road. I sighed as I looked at my children. All 5 of them. My oldest daughter – then about 9 years old – looked at me with a worried expression and said, “Mama, what are we going to do?” My response was immediately, “We’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got.” She looked confused for a moment and said, “Mama, what have we got?” I said, “Feet. Let’s walk.”
How do you treat life’s irritating moments? Do you blow up in anger at things that can’t be avoided? Or worse yet, do you take those things, those little irritations, out on your husband and children, or even your brothers and sisters in Christ? We have such a tendency to be creatures of the moment, don’t we? We make snap judgments. We let our tempers flare and our bad attitudes show. Even the smallest of life’s irritations have the possibility of teaching our children, and those around us the grace of God. Or the opposite, if we allow our flesh to control us.
Php 2:14-15 - Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
If I had fumed and fussed and cried and belly-ached at that car, it still wouldn’t have gone down the road. I would have still been in the same situation, except that now I would have displayed a lack of trust in the Lord and a poor testimony in front of my children. They, more than likely, would have started crying as well, and then I would have reaped the due reward of inflicting my bad attitude on them, as they returned in kind. If we would learn to take life’s small irritations as an opportunity to shine as lights in the world, how different would our attitude be toward those unexpected moments? Let’s strive to learn to laugh, and say, “Well, praise the Lord! What’s the best way to handle this one?”
Gal 5:16 - This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
It’s so easy, isn’t it, to let the flesh control our response to the situations that arise in our lives? If instead we will do the best we can with what we’ve got, it will mean using every situation as an opportunity to be a good testimony for the Lord. Sometimes that means controlling our anger when it wants to flare. Sometimes that means consciously putting down our fears. Sometimes it means shutting our mouths when we want so badly to put in our two cents worth. (Hang on to your two cents, sometimes we can’t afford what it purchases.)
How do we walk in the Spirit? #1 It is IMPOSSIBLE to walk in the Spirit if you do not have a regular time of personal devotion. Pray. Read and study your Bible. Meditate on and memorize the Word of God. There is no getting around the truth that if you do not walk close to God in your personal life, your public life will be a mess. #2 Pay attention in church. So many people sit in church and have no idea what the preaching was about, because their minds are a million miles away. Go to church with a bucket instead of a pitchfork. My pastor of many years used to say that some people come to church with a bucket and some come with a pitchfork. Those with a bucket are hungry for the word of God and want what God has for them in the service. Those with a pitchfork are grabbing the preaching and pitching it over their shoulder because they figure that it’s not for them, it’s for the guy sitting behind them. #3 Use every opportunity that you have in your life to be a witness for the Lord. Lost people are all around us. Our testimony – at all times – is vitally important. Saved people need to grow in grace and knowledge. When you have that knowledge, it is given to you to share, not to sit on. When we walk in the flesh, even in the minor situations of our life, we are not walking in the Spirit. And when we walk in the flesh, we have no idea how much damage we might do.
We walked into the little country church, happy for the opportunity to minister, and heard, to our delight, that they planned a dinner on the grounds for the anniversary Sunday where my husband had been invited to preach. We had been struggling financially for quite a while, and the prospect of a church dinner sounded wonderful after months of beans and cornbread. As the guest preacher’s family, we were ushered to the head of the line. My little daughter looked up at me with a happy smile as she surveyed the table in front of her, and said, “Look, Mama! Meat!!”
What do you do in life’s embarrassing moments? Do you lash out at the one who embarrassed you? Do you get angry and let your temper, and your tongue take over? Or do you do the best you can with what you’ve got?
Nothing riles up our tempers faster than being embarrassed, does it? That’s pride. Pride makes fools out of us very quickly. Not only that, God hates pride. It is never the best way to handle a situation to bow up in pride.
Pro_13:10 - Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
Let your pride flare, and you will almost always find yourself in an argument of some sort. And you will almost always be in the wrong.
Pro_29:23 - A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
Let your pride flare and you will almost always find yourself landing flat of your back, wondering how you got there.
Pro_16:5 - Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
An abomination! A promise of punishment! We should be frightened of pride! If you ever want to look like a complete fool, let your heart swell up with pride. What are we really? Nothing but what the Lord has done. If we have any abilities, if we have any worth – it is because of what the Lord has given and what He has blessed us to be able to do. Give all the glory and praise to God for who He is, and what He has done in your life. Then when those embarrassing moments catch us off guard, we won’t be so quick to respond in pride. When someone ridicules you, or accuses you falsely – that hurts, doesn’t it? When someone seriously tries to do you harm for their own gain, it’s sometimes devastating. When you try to minister to people and they turn on you, not at all understanding that you are striving for their good to the best of your ability – how do we respond? Pride has no place in those situations, but a lot of times, that is our reaction. I could give you story after story of those situations in my life….but, why be depressing?! What do we do when it happens? It will! People will be people, and as people we don’t always act right, do we? Yet, we expect other people to always treat US with love and kindness, because after all – we are…us! That’s pride. During a particularly trying situation in my life, where I felt like I was always coming out at the bottom, looking like a stray dog, God gave me this quote by C.H. Spurgeon. When I first saw it, it was like a pressure valve suddenly released, I laughed and laughed. Then I wrote it in the front of my Bible. I refer to it often.
“If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be.” That kind of kicks pride in the head, doesn’t it? Doing the best you can with what you have means leaving pride behind and approaching each embarrassing or demeaning situation with the idea that God always treats us better than we deserve.
Psa 118:6 - The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
I stood at the side of the little steel crib, looking at my beautiful blonde-haired baby boy, only 5 months old, gasping for every breath under the oxygen tent, the heart monitor going crazy every time they tried to give him medication for his breathing. The love, and peace of God flooded every part of my being. I felt so blessed. I had so much more than the poor little mom on the other side of the room. My Lord to comfort and guide, and the constant love and support of my husband. That poor lady didn’t understand. She approached me and asked, “How long have you been married?” 10 years, I replied. “That’s crazy, she said, you and your husband seem like newlyweds.” “We really need each other right now,” I said. “Yeah, I could use some support, too.” Was her reply. Her husband was very seldom in the room. When he was, they fought constantly. They blamed each other for everything they could think of, and it usually ended with him storming out of the room to “get a cigarette,” from which he didn’t come back.
How do you react when life doesn’t go your way? Do you lash out at those that are closest to you, and look for someone or something to blame? Or do you turn to the One who can give peace and comfort? Doing the best you can with what you’ve got sometimes means approaching the hardest times of life with the best attitude that you can muster. Sometimes life really hurts. Sometimes the hurt is nearly unbearable. Resorting to blaming others when you are hurting is not doing the best you can with what you’ve got. The blame game won’t make you feel better. In fact, it will only make you feel worse. Turn instead to the Lord and allow Him to pour the balm of Gilead into your soul. You will find that you really can do the BEST you can with what you’ve got.
Col_3:15 - And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Again, ladies, the peace of God is your choice. You make the decision as to whether you will let God minister to your soul, or whether you will arm yourself with the flesh – and your mouth – and try to go it alone. Someone always gets hurt when we do that. I have seen families split up and spend the rest of their lives hating each other because of something that was said or done during a crisis in their lives. Why? No one accepted God’s peace, and instead they lashed out at one another in their hurt or sorrow, not considering the hurt and sorrow of the ones around them. I have stood beside those little steel cribs in hospital rooms more times than I can count. I have nearly lost all 5 of my children at various times of their lives. My Daniel more than a few times. The love and peace of God has been my sustaining power. I don’t know how other people go through such things without God to grant them peace. I wouldn’t even want to try.
Luk_6:31 - And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
We recognize this as what the world calls, “the golden rule.” Much quoted, almost never practiced. But if we would! If we would consider before we speak or act, “Is this the way I would want them to treat me, if I were them, and they were me?” Then we would begin to do the best we can with what we’ve got. And everyone’s life, our own especially, would be better for it. Because, ladies, although you cannot control how other people act, if you will control how you REact to their behavior, you will find that you will have a lot more peace in every situation.
There just wasn’t enough money. We weren’t going to make it. It was fine when we had purchased our little dream. We had a beautiful place out in the country with our very own mobile home….well, at least we were paying for it. Lots of space for the kids to run, not too many neighbors, a place for a garden. We had plans to build a deck….Then the kids started to get sick. Really sick. The list of specialists kept growing. Hospitalization after hospitalization after E.R. visit after E.R. visit. It was okay, we were holding our heads above water, until my husband was layed off from his job. Oh, he found work right away, but the insurance was gone. The new insurance company refused to cover the kids. Pre-existing conditions. (We had no idea, back then, that such a thing as Medicaid even existed.) The medical bills mounted up..and up…and up. We finally conceded defeat. We turned our little dream back over to the mortgage company and packed up what we could in our car. We lived in a garage apartment attached to my mother’s home for 6 months…until our 5th little one was born.
What happens when your dream crumbles? What do you do when finances are hard…not a little bit hard, but really hard?
There are more divorces because of financial difficulty than any other reason. Families split up. Attitudes flare up. The blame game begins. “If he would work harder.” “If she would slow down on all the spending.” “If he wouldn’t buy unnecessary junk.” “If she would get out and get a job.”
Marriage is a team effort, ladies. It takes a lot of work on both parts to make the everyday, in and out, of a marriage work. You can’t work against one another and expect your marriage to last. You need to do the best you can with what you’ve got. Now, I’m not saying that when a marriage is bad, that it is automatically the woman’s fault. No, not at all. But I am saying that no amount of nagging on your part is going to change your husband. You need to do the best you can with what you’ve got. I don’t envy you that task if your husband is lost, but there is a biblical method for you to follow. Not an easy road, by any means, but it is the road that God says you are to follow in the hopes that your husband will be saved. (Remember that he has a free will – you can’t force him to turn to the Lord any more than anyone could have forced you to be saved.) That plan is mapped out in 1 Peter 3:1-5 There’s a lot in that verse. If we were to stop and cover it, it would take a whole lesson to give it the time it deserves. But if you have questions about it, I’d be happy to sit down with you and go through it together.
For those of us whose husband is saved, we have the open opportunity for the most blessed relationship in the world. Our marriages are a picture of Christ and the church! What are we doing with the opportunity? Are we doing the best we can with what we’ve got? Do we seek to make our marriage a testimony to the world of the grace and power of God? Or do we deal with our marriage selfishly, as though the sole purpose that our husband has on earth is to meet our needs and satisfy our whims? Do we whine, coax, threaten or manipulate when things don’t go our way? Do we consider our marriage a team unit? Or an opportunity to be queen supreme?
1Pe_3:8 - Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
This passage of Scripture is referring to the marriage relationship…look it up and check the context. There’s a lot to work on in our lives just following this one simple verse in our marriage relationships. Have compassion on your husband. Love your husband, not just as a marriage partner, but as a brother in Christ. Be pitiful to your husband (understand his shortcomings, don’t blame, seek to be there when he needs you – when he’s weak, lift him up, don’t tear him down.) Be courteous (He’s not an old shoe. He’s to be reverenced and honored by you more than any man on earth.)
No amount of dreaming and wishing on your part is going to fix your finances when they’re hard. No amount of pride and temper is going to fix rebellion in your children or pressure from extended family. Doing the best you can with what you’ve got in your marriage is understanding that you are a family unit, a team - not adversaries. Work together at making it work. Put God first. Always first. If God is first in your marriage then no matter how hard the rest of life becomes, you will make it.
Pro_14:1 - Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
First, she had COPD. We sat and talked it over. It was incurable, but possible to live with. Then they found the cancer. What had been a shadow on the first scan showed up the size of a walnut on the second, the size of an orange on the third – within a year. When they could get her stabilized, they would consider surgery. They never got her stabilized. 6 months after they found the cancer, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She gave up. 3 days after that diagnosis she died. My mother was as dear to me, her only daughter, as a mother can be to a child. She’s been gone now for 13 years, and I still miss her every day. You will ask me, was she saved? My answer will be – I don’t know. All I can do is hope so. I witnessed to her, left her tracts to read, I prayed and prayed. I know that she had, some “experience” in the hospital just before her death, that she tried to explain to me, but didn’t know the terminology to describe.
What happens when grief knocks at your door? I grieved for my mom. I remember going to the doctor, just a couple of days after the funeral. I walked down the hospital halls, where I had almost lived in the months prior to her death. All the memories were already flooding over my very unstable emotions. And then my doctor – who was also her doctor – greeted me with, “I’m so sorry about your mom.” I broke down and cried, right in the doctor’s office. And then I was angry with myself for crying and cried because I was crying. He sat there sympathetically and wrote me a prescription for an antidepressant. On the way home, I kept staring at the prescription and praying. “Lord, am I depressed?” “Do I need that?” “Is this even right for me to take?” I stopped at the pharmacy and filled the prescription and then I stared at the bottle. “Isn’t grief a part of life?” “Didn’t you promise that if I turn my grief over to you, you would be my comfort?” The determination struck my heart to give it to God, and the peace of God began to creep into my soul. The pills went down the drain, and I began to heal…little by little, the way real healing happens. That lesson was well learned. It has taken me through many, many periods of grief that have followed.
Joh_14:27 - Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Php_4:7 - And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The peace of God will keep your heart. It will keep your mind. But there is a condition to that peace. It is in the verses before
Php 4:4-6 - Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
To do the best you can when life hands you grief, first you must rejoice in the Lord – alway. Not when you feel like it or when things are going good, but alway. To do that we have to stop and consider the Lord in every situation of our lives. He’s good all the time, even when our circumstances are bad. Then we must let our moderation be outwardly seen by everyone around us. What is moderation? It is not running to excess in anything. It is having control over our tempers, our emotions, our desires and our passions – in other words, not being controlled by the flesh. Then, lastly, we need to pray about everything. Not just the big things, but the little things as well. When we do these things we have the promise that follows – that God will keep our hearts and minds. Doing the best you can with what you’ve got in the matter of grief, means that instead of being ruled by the grief, we allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts.
One month after my mother died, my husband headed out from where we had taken shelter at the church, with 2 of the boys, to see what kind of damage there might have been. When he returned I turned a questioning look his way, really expecting an “all is well.” It had always been well in the previous hurricanes. He shook his head. “We’ve been here before. I think this left more useable stuff than the fire, though.”
Weeks later, still without power, tired from the work of tossing out destroyed furniture and carpeting and scraping sodden sheet-rock out of the shell of our home, our family sat on the steps in the evening, ate another MRE and sang together, rejoicing in the goodness of God. Why? We were safe. We were together. We had our love, our family, our God.
I remember laying in the bed that the red cross had purchased for us, (We had forsaken the crowded, damp little fema camper and moved back into our roof-less house, it was more comfortable.) I watched the blue tarp over my head pop up and down in the wind and felt such an incredible sense of peace and well-being. Then I laughed at myself for feeling so comfortable..
A member of the church came by during the next tropical storm. We greeted him at the door with a smile, chided him a little for running around in storms, and invited him in. He sat in the livingroom with us and watched the tarp blow up and down and looked around at the bare plywood floor and the wall studs and rafters that made up what was left of our home, and said, “This is nice, do you always decorate in 3rd world?”
My husband owned an electrical business. He worked from before sun-up to after sun-down five days a week, after the storm, trying to rebuild electrical services for people. While he worked, he listened. “I’m so devastated!” “I just can’t understand why this has happened to me!” “I don’t know how I’m ever going to make it through this!” “This is horrible!” He would always ask them, “Is your family ok?” “Oh, yes, they’re fine, but we lost….” And they would go into a list of cars, boats, house, furniture, etc.” One lady became infuriated with him because he wasn’t sympathetic enough to suit her and snarled, “Well, easy enough for you to have no worries, when you haven’t lost everything!” … and he smiled, and spent his Saturdays trying to rebuild our own home … What made the difference? We’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got.
What do you do when you lose your material possessions? Understand that we had worked for and loved and purchased that little home with all the intention in the world of staying in it for the rest of our lives. (We had actually built the deck on this one!) We were content. We had our home, our church, our ministry, our business venture. Everything was fine. We didn’t necessarily need for God to come in and upset our apple-cart! Within a year’s time, the only thing we had left of that list was the shell of our destroyed home and the business. We could have gotten angry with him. And what good would that have done? I have never understood why people get angry with God when things happen in their lives. “Why me?” “Why is God doing this to me?” And then they walk away from the Lord, like they expected life to be a bed of roses because they honored God with the privilege of saving their souls. Like God owes them something. My question is, “Why not you?” What makes you so special that you should be exempt from hard times?
Joh_16:33 - These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
He didn’t say, in the world you will have it easy-peasy and life will be just great. He said you will have tribulation. That’s when you look to Him for comfort and guidance, it’s not when you decide to blame him and throw a temper tantrum like an undisciplined child. How are we supposed to respond to the troubles in our lives? How do we do the best we can, when what we’ve got is tribulation?
Rom 5:3-5 - And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Realize 3 things about tribulation. #1 – it’s working in your life to make you a stronger Christian. #2 – It’s building patience and experience so that you might be a help, encouragement and an example to others, #3 – it’s an opportunity to see God work, bless and give you the peace that only He can give. Tribulation is not a curse. It’s a blessed working of God in your life that will make you stronger, give you assurance of the love of God, and make you able to be a blessing to others around you.
Daddy was alone. Mama had been his caretaker, ever since he had the stroke, 17 years before. She was gone now, and I spent my time divided between caring for him and my own home. Oh, he had my brother – but my brother was an addict, and very unreliable. Now I had a huge difficulty. God had called my husband away…1,500 miles away to be exact. I was ready, willing, and eager to go…but what about Daddy? I sat beside him, and begged him to come with me. “NO! Kansas is cold.” He would not be convinced. I began to pray, “Lord, I’m willing to go, and I will go, as you have called. Please, Lord, take care of my Daddy.” And God answered my prayer in the person of a family friend who willingly took him in. That answer to prayer opened the door to my daddy’s salvation at 82 years of age.
What do you do when duties conflict? You do the best you can with what you’ve got. I had a responsibility to my daddy. The command to honor our parents doesn’t end when we are grown. But my greater responsibility lay in obeying the call of God that had been placed on my husband’s heart. As I obeyed the Lord, He took care of the rest.
Sometimes doing the best you can with what you’ve got means making hard, really hard decisions. Sometimes those decisions will tear your heart out. But choosing to follow and honor God with your life is always the right decision. The Word of God has to be our constant guide. DO NOT follow your heart. That’s the worst advice you can ever give a person. Your heart will deceive you. It will convince you that wrong is right and right is wrong.
Jer_17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Pro_28:26 - He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
We can’t trust that heart. What do we trust instead? When life gives you difficult, heart wrenching decisions, what do you do with it? Trust the Word of God. If you trust your emotions, you will almost always fall prey to the devil. He loves it when we become hyper-emotional. We’ve played right into his hands when we do. Let the word of God be your guide, always, and you will find that it’s much easier to do the best you can with what you’ve got, when life’s decisions are hard to make.
As I said, there’s more…..but this is enough. Ladies, do the best you can….by the power of God, by the grace of God with the help of God, the peace of God and the word of God, do the best you can with what you’ve got.