A truth I’ve come to highly value in my life is this: Life’s Greatest Hindrances are its Greatest Teachers!
More and more I find that what I used to consider my greatest hindrances were, in fact, actually my greatest teachers. I used to believe that all my troubles were attributable to lack of finances and consequently, thought all of them could be solved by a surplus. I considered all the disadvantages and often almost totally overlooked the great trust and creativity I was developing and gaining over the years. I used to overlook what God was placing right before my eyes. Troubled with how things were going to work out—crippled by fear that they wouldn’t, days were difficult and money seemed so scarce. Little did I know at the time that I would look back on the more difficult days and remember them with sort of fond, but perhaps bittersweet, emotion.
I’m sorry for the young woman who was so fearful, but happy for the way the LORD did provide and for all they ways she learned to cope, learned to be creative, learned to be hopeful, learned to trust and increased in faith. But the younger woman who used to live in my shoes was often plagued by the “what will people think” albatross, and was sometimes shackled by doubts and insecurities – as I suppose we all are from time to time, but when they become interwoven in every thought, then they’re like that heavy, paralyzing albatross. The LORD worked through all those sorts of situations and blessed me with a sort of “blindness” to my situation—sort of a “rose coloured glasses” tenor to my life—and brought me through those valleys. I began to see things less and less for what they were and more and more for what I hoped they would be. Sure, the lack of finances still was a hindrance, but I stopped allowing myself to feel as though that defined me or my family. I decided to stop getting tripped up in the trappings of the have’s and have not’s in life—they weren’t helping me. I decided to not let my possessions define who I was or who I am—other people may have judged me in that manner—but I never wanted to be that shallow and I knew the LORD didn’t want that for me either. He was taking me through the school of contentment. Had I not had lack or lass, I’d not have learned to be very creative with what I did have and I suppose I might’ve become smug or assume it was all my doing when there were great increases and “successes.” I surely know that whatever good has come, whatever gain I’ve experienced – successes, benefits or blessings have all been of the LORD.
Learning to trust God for things unseen or things unknown is perhaps more difficult for some than for others—I know that for myself, it was a struggle to trust: that what I could not see was already seen and covered by the LORD. My fretting and my doubting never helped me or the situation I faced, regardless of whether the situation was financial, physical or vocational. Looking back, some of the times of the greatest doubt or greatest fear are now the sweetest memories to me.
Some of the deepest valleys produced the richest fruit and it’s faith from those lessons that has guided me through the more recent years and the struggles or trials we’ve faced. When trails have been forged or mountains scaled, the path is a bit less daunting each time it’s traversed and with each passing, faith is strengthened and trust is deepened. With each passing year, the have’s and the have not’s are less and less noticeable to me and my concern is less self-focused. Pride is an ugly thing I came to see… for it is often pride that keeps us from living and giving – pride is that gripping thing that prevents us from being transparent, from being open and vulnerable. We all have it to some degree or another and sometimes when we very least anticipate it, pride wells up and swallows us. Gains and losses are the great equalizers in life—they happen to all of us. Same with fear and doubt—but some people are just better at hiding fears and doubts than others. It’s the admission of those fears and doubts that is the beginning of turning from them and yielding to the LORD.
Because I know my Redeemer lives and ever lives to make intercession for me—for us—, I know that I can trust Him beyond a shadow of doubt, that what He has promised to do, that will He do—He promised to never leave me nor forsake me and He promises in His Word that He will complete that which He has begun. What He’s begun in you – He will complete!
So the LORD has used trials as teachers, loss as gain, and lack: to fill me. His faithfulness truly has been great and His mercies have been new every morning. Now when financial set backs come or when there seem to lack of funds, I have learned to anticipate the Hand of the LORD and to watch for what He will do. Twenty-four years in the swimming-pool business in the chilly Northwest has given our family ample opportunity to watch the Hand of the LORD both guide and provide—sometimes in the most surprising and unusual ways. As with so many other things in life, I’m learning to see this much more quickly than I did in the early years. He has proven Himself faithful… and I’m seeing this more and more in the seen, or outward things of life as well as in the unseen, or the inward things of life.
One Who Understands
Of all life’s pain and sufferings nothing can surpass
Agonies of parents whose child’s taken in death’s grasp.
The emptiness, the anger, the denial and disbelief
Seem like your only companions as you struggle in your grief.
The awkward silence of others shows no words can convey
The depth of their sharing in the pain that’s come your way.
For platitudes and sympathy can do little to relieve
The pain of separation of the parent left to grieve.
Until you lose a child, no one can fully comprehend
The brokenness and sorrow that makes your heart rend.
But through shared prayer and God’s grace one can see a ray of light
In this time of deep loneliness of the soul’s darkest night,
For there’s One who’s borne this pain whilst even knowing why
His only Son had to suffer and then to slowly die..
For as His own Son once resurrected, returned at last to Him,
So too your own dear child will return to you again.
For by sharing the pain you’re suffering, God can take you by the hand
In the tender love and compassion of One Who understands.
© Glenys Robyn Hicks 2004
‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.’
2 Corinthians 3.5
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
always in His hands, with love, pamela