My heart goes out to the thousands of people who have been devastated and left homeless by Hurricane Charley. I know that they are going through terrible hardship, but I also know that God is there in the center of each and every life with His arms wide open wanting to calm their fears and mend their broken lives. God cares! He cares about what’s happened.
I know it might not seem that way to some right at this very moment, but, I have been there and done that, so I speak from experience. Something just as devastating happened to me and my family in 1991. My husband and I had worked very hard for 25 years to accumulate houses and properties and investments intent on securing our future and the future of our children. We worked overtime and triple-time to have all the bells and whistles, plus more. Then one day, without warning, through no fault of our own, we were embezzled out of all the money from the sale of our 80 acre farm. This immediately put our other two properties in jeopardy because they were both mortgaged. We started cashing in stocks and bonds hoping that God would somehow intervene and recover our money. To make a very long story short, He didn’t and after all the dust settled we were left with exactly 39 cents to our name. When our home went into foreclosure I cried, "Why God? How could you let this happen?"
God never said a word. He remained silent for the next 3 ½ years. My head spun. My gargantuan faith, which was know to all, flew right out the window. I lost my understanding of God. My focus was on what had been stolen from us and I totally missed all that God was providing during those years. We never missed a single meal. We had clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads. Our kids made it through college and we discovered who our true friends were. Yet, I am ashamed to admit how much I murmured and complained the entire time. I was worse than the children of Israel as Moses lead them through the wilderness. What I didn’t realize at the time was that just as God provided for the prophet Elijah during some very lean years by sending him to the Brook Cherith, He sent us to a particular location where He supernaturally met our every need. Since this Brook Cherith was not Niagara Falls, but only a trickle, it did not look like God’s plan for our lives because prior to our catastrophe we were very capable of going out and earning vast amounts of money. Instead, we became two broken, wounded people too devastated to even go to work. Yet, just as the ravens fed Elijah beside the brook by bringing him meat and bread every morning and every night, God intervened in unbelievable ways again and again for us. This though did nothing for my disposition because it was not a week’s worth of groceries or a month’s supply of shopping. It was just enough for THAT moment. I was not used to living from day to day and totally dependent upon God therefore I missed tremendous blessings for the entire 3 ½ years and lived in a state of torment instead, fearful of the future and terrified to face a new day.
Then one day I started commanding that black cloud over my life to dissolve. Instead of being distraught about my predicament, I refocused my attention on God’s word and started declaring His promises out loud. I stopped looking back and started anticipating a new future. I stopped crying over my losses and started counting my blessings. My joy returned. My faith soared. My priorities shifted from material to eternal and I plunged forward determined to be a blessing to those that God put in my path.
Scripture explains how since the fall of creation bad things have happened to good people. We are not guaranteed a life without problems, suffering or pain, otherwise people would line up for miles to get on this ‘bless me bandwagon’, but we are promised greater things. One of those promises is in Isaiah 43: 1 - 3, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, neither shall the flame scorch you, for I am the Lord your God." Another is Psalm 34:19, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, BUT the Lord delivers him out of them ALL."
He did not promise us an absence of high waters or hot flames but He did promise to be right there in the midst leading and guiding us through.
Stop for just a moment and picture His outstretched arms. Now run towards them and allow Him to hold you and wipe away all earthly cares.
Copyright Donna Martonfi www.psalm40ministries.com