Girlfriends in God - July 19, 2007

July 19, 2007

Down but not Out

Part 3

Mary Southerland



Today’s Truth

2 Corinthians 8-9: “We had great burdens there that were beyond our own strength. We even gave up hope of living. Truly, in our own hearts we believed we would die. But this happened so we would not trust in ourselves but in God!”


Friend to Friend

Trials and hard times are part of life. In fact, they are an important part of life. Yet, we desperately try to avoid any kind of pain and when the difficult times come, frantically search for the nearest exit! I have discovered that the most beautiful life is often the most broken life. The ashes of death may very well be the fertile soil from which a new life of victory and promise will grow. God is forever covering each pain with His infinite love and mercy, offering hope and encouragement.


First encouragement: Remember who God is.

Second encouragement: Remember that God allows our trials.

Third encouragement: Remember that God helps us in our trials.


No one could say that George Smith was a coward. Smith was a daring jet test pilot in the 1950's when the sound barrier was first being broken. He could face anything - until he had to bail out of a jet going 805 miles per hour! Smith survived but was in the hospital for weeks. On one particularly hard day, Smith shared his fear of ever flying again with one of the nurses who had become a friend. The nurse simply smiled and then responded to Smith’s fear with words of wisdom and power, “I have an antidote to fear. It’s courage. To have courage is to know the worst and discover that, in God's economy, the very worst can't really hurt you." Exactly!


Paul saw God’s hand of deliverance in every area and season of his life and testified that God is faithful. Paul writes that God “saves” us, meaning that He “helps us out of distress”. God doesn’t always deliver us immediately. God doesn’t always deliver us in the same way and He doesn’t always deliver us like we want to be delivered! But He always delivers us.


If we count on strength from anyone or anything other than God Himself, we will be miserably disappointed. He is our only source. How can we tap into that source during times of trouble? We pray! It is through our own prayer and the prayer of others for us that we gain strength, wisdom and insight for the trial at hand. Samuel Chadwick writes: “The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayer-less studies, prayer-less work and prayer-less religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray." When the trials come - pray! When the fear consumes you - pray! When your knees knock - kneel!


Three ministers were talking about prayer and the most effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman was working on the phone system in the background. One minister shared that he felt the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship. The second suggested that real prayer was conducted on your knees. The third suggested that they both had it wrong—the only position worth its salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face. By this time, the phone man couldn’t stay out of the conversation, interrupting them, “I have found that the most powerful prayer I ever prayed was while I was dangling upside down by my heels from a power pole suspended forty feet above the ground.” Our helplessness is our best prayer. He listens for the voice of our need!


Prayer is simply conversation with God, thinking in dialogue with Him. But if you are like me, there are times when I know I need to pray but simply have no idea how or what to pray. An elderly gentleman passed his granddaughter’s room one night and overheard her repeating the alphabet as her prayer. Curious, he asked her, “What on earth are you up to?” She explained, “I’m saying my prayers but I can’t think of exactly the right words so I’m just saying all the letters. God will put them together for me.” All that God is…all that God has…all that we need for each trial is at our disposal through prayer. Our trials can become a trophy case displaying God’s love, His power and sufficiency that He gives in times of trouble when we pray.


We often feel alone and forsaken. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is Friend of the wounded heart, the Shepherd of every valley and the Lover of our souls. He will never ask us to go where He has not been. He will never send us into the unknown without His known presence. He is faithful. He is God. And He is all we need.


Let’s pray

Father, help me to keep my eyes on You. When the hard times come, I tend to frantically look for a solution or an escape. Instead, help me to stop…be still…and trust You. Honestly, Lord, I sometimes wonder if You are there…if You really want to help me. Right now, I choose against those thoughts that come from Hell itself and choose to believe the fact that You are always with me and want what is best for my life. I love you, Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Now it’s your turn

Who is God to you? Answer this question with brutal honesty.

What trial has God allowed in your life?

How is God helping you in that trial?

Journal your answers to the above questions and review them regularly.


More from the girlfriends

The truth that God is with me in the midst of every trial has literally saved my life. If I thought, for one minute, that I had to face even the ordinary, daily irritations of living in this world without Him, I might just pull the covers over my head and stay there! But God’s presence changes everything. As women, we often allow that precious, life-giving truth to be buried under a mountain of crowded schedules, unrealistic demands, and burned out hearts. Be encouraged today, my friend! You are loved…you are chosen…and you are not alone.


For more on this topic, read Mary’s book, “Hope in the Midst of Depression” or purchase her CD, Stepping out in Faith.



Girlfriends in God

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Matthews, NC 28106





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Originally published Thursday, 19 July 2007.