Two weeks ago, my dear friend Fay Lamb, author of Because of Me,  sent me a beautiful email. I had ask her for advice on a few issues, and like the precious child of God she is, she didn’t give me any. She gave me more. She sent me an email filled with Scripture, pointing me to my Savior, the only One who truly had the answers.

She began her email with Matthew 7:11 which tells us, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him.”

She then pointed me to Isaiah 55, which told me of God’s love, His incomprehensible wisdom, and His provisions for His children.

Verse by verse, she reminded me of God’s goodness, centering me in His Father’s heart. I wrote down the verses, prayed over them, meditated on them, but I sensed God wasn’t through. He’d started the conversation, laid the foundation, but there was more He wanted me to know. In fact, the real lesson hadn’t even begun. But before He started His refining, He surrounded me in His love.

The next morning, as I continued to pray over Fay’s verses, God led me to Isaiah 43 and Isaiah 31. I’ll highlight the portions that spoke to me, although I encourage you to read both passages.

1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,

18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.

This passage warned me a time of struggle was coming, but not to fear, for God would walk me through it.

The next passage God led me to showed me how. Through the words of Isaiah 31, God reminded me it’s not about my strength, wisdom, or ability, but instead, about His. I can be victorious over anything that comes my way … if I keep my eyes on Him and stay centered in His will:

1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the LORD.

The following day, God brought the lesson home by allowing a series of struggles to come my way. This happens every year as the CWG conference approaches, and I’ve come to realize Satan doesn’t want me to go. Satan would rather I stay home in isolation, because that is where I’m at my weakest. He certainly doesn’t want me to surround myself with passionate followers of Christ following the same call.

But let’s not forget, nothing can touch me without first passing through the hands of God, and God only allows those things which are for my good.

Saturday, my van broke down, and I learned I cannot trust in vehicles.

When we got the bill, I realized how fleeting money can be. Nope, can’t trust in that either.

The following day I got sick and God showed me I cannot trust in my health or strength.

My computer started acting haywire and I lost a document. Nope, can’t trust in technology.

Event after event, frustration after frustration, God reminded me how futile everything apart from Him is. Life is unpredictable and unemployment, stock market crashes, computer failures, sickness, can happen in a blink. But God is faithful and lo, though we walk through the valley of darkness, we need not fear for God is with us.

In reality, all of my problems were minor, mere frustrations at best, but what made them beautiful is that God created an object lesson, tailored to me. He began by using a dear friend to speak truth into my life and concluded by drawing me to my knees in worship. Through it all He showed me His love is pure and strong and true.

When you’re going through a tough time, cling to these truths:

1) God loves you and longs to shower you with blessings and gifts.

2) He will never leave you.

3) God is still in control, even when your world seems crazy, and He’ll only allow those things that are for your good.

4) Rely on God and God alone for strength for He truly is the only One who can carry you through.

If you’re climbing over a few boulders, you may find these posts helpful as well:

Let’s talk about this!

Join me at Living by Grace as we talk about drawing near and staying close to God during times of difficulty.

What about you? Are you going through a difficult or frustrating time? If so, why might God be allowing those difficulties? What might He be trying to teach you? Ask Him, draw near to Him, trust in His goodness and love.