July 25, 2011
When Your Walls Don't Come Tumbling Down
"Even if the fig tree does not bloom and the vines have no grapes, even if the olive tree fails to produce and the fields yield no food, even if the sheep pen is empty and the stalls have no cattle — even then, I will be happy with the Lord. I will truly find joy in God, who saves me." Habakkuk 3:17-18 (GW)
Bills stacked up like accusations. If only you'd worked smarter. If only you had started smaller. What were you thinking?
I wondered if anyone saw me walk around the dairy barn seven times. I was desperate. My young husband worked 80 to 100 hours a week, trying to keep the farm from going into foreclosure. I remembered Joshua, in the Old Testament, walking around the walls of Jericho. God saw Joshua's faith and made those walls come tumbling down.
I hoped marching around our dairy barn might create a miracle for us so I prayed, asking God to bring down our walls of adversity.
Looking back at that time brings mixed feelings. Farming was my husband's dream. This city girl bought into it because she loved her handsome young farmer.
A recession hit the farming industry after ten years of hard work and sacrifice. Our paycheck shrunk smaller and smaller. Friends sold their farms and ventured into the unfamiliar world of 40-hour work weeks and twice-a-month paychecks. But we hung on.
The day came when we realized that our walls of Jericho were not coming down for us. I stood by my husband's side as his dream was loaded up in cattle cars, and then bumped down the dirt road and out of our lives.
I had no words for my sweet husband. The only truth we could hang on to was that God is faithful. It was our anchor during that year of uncertainty.
The prophet Habakkuk also faced immanent disaster, and he too comforted himself as he recalled the faithfulness of God over the years. Life was uncertain, but God's love and providence was not.
Years later I can see clearly how God walked with us through that very hard time, though it was hard to see at the time. We changed careers. We sold our farm. It took years to climb up and out of the debt that remained. Yet somehow God wrapped His arms around a young couple during that time.
Like in Habakkuk's life, God provided moments of gladness for us that didn't make sense. There was laughter as we clung together. Precious family memories of inexpensive outings such as picnics in the park and splashing at a local public pool. Trusting God together became our new normal.
Are you facing a hard time? If so, here are some ideas to encourage you — as you hold tight to Him.
Do your part: Whether financial or other, acknowledge the challenge. We opened the bills. We created a budget and lived within it. We asked if there were actions on our part that led to this challenge, and addressed them if there were.
Let God do His part: Pray for your situation. Praise Him for the blessings you do have and focus on those gifts. Do what you should, and then place what you cannot do in His hands.
Overcoming challenging circumstances involves teamwork as you and God work through it together. Sometimes the greatest miracles come when God changes us and gives us joy in Him, even though our prayers aren't answered the way we prayed they would be.
Dear Lord, times are hard and I need You. I place my trust in You. Even when there seems to be nothing...I want to find my happiness in You. Please give me joy in the midst of this difficult time. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
Visit Suzie's blog as she shares "3 Truths in Troubled Times."
What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst
Often, overcoming a challenge involves teamwork as you and God work through it together.
Do your part: Whether financial or other, acknowledge your challenge. Ask God if there were actions on your part that led to this challenge, and addressed them if there are.
Let God do His part: Pray for your situation. Thanks Him for the blessings you do have and focus on those gifts. Do what you should, and then place what you cannot do in His hands.
What are five blessings in my life that I can take time to thank God for today?
Psalm 100:5, "The Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation." (NLT)
Habakkuk 3:19, "The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights." (NLT)
© 2011 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 25 July 2011.