My faith had once again been put to the test.

With only half our staff left at work, we received a record number of new referrals.

To make things worse, our internet stopped working for weather-related reasons. Then, just at bed time, my sump pump gave up the ghost, and by the time we discovered this fact, the back-up, battery-operated pump had already used all its auxiliary power. All we could do, for the third time since Christmas, was stand by and watch the basement fill with water. We didn't even have internet to look up a plumber who would do 24 hour service calls...

As I sat down with the Lord the next morning, I couldn't stop myself from complaining: "God, You promised to bring me through, but You allowed all this to happen. Where were You?"

The sun was just rising at that moment, but it was so bright that it hurt my eyes, and I had to look away. The story of Israel then came to my mind. The development of the nation depended upon an heir, yet Abraham's wife was infertile (See Gen. 16:1). Meanwhile, Abraham had another child by his concubine Hagar (See Genesis 16), and through this child, Ishmael, he easily produced multiple nations (See Gen. 21:13,18/25:12-18). Isaac was eventually born, but of Rebecca, Isaac's wife, it is said: "Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children." (Gen. 25:21a NLT). God answered Isaac's prayer, and she gave birth to twins (See Gen. 25:21-26); but although Esau, the older twin, went on to easily produce a massive nation (See Gen. 36), one of Jacob's wives, Rachel, was also infertile (See Gen. 29:31)...

And as we look through the entire history of Israel, we see that they faced trial after trial...

Why so many problems? Hadn't God promised that Israel would be His people ("For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God...the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure." Deut. 7:6 NLT)? Hadn't He said to them, "...the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you" (Deut. 31:6 NLT)?

I don't know the answers to these question, but I do know that what God has blessed is open target for the enemy who wants nothing more than to thwart God's Master plan. I also know that as a result of the problems, it can honestly be said that Israel was not born or raised up in a i way. Rather, the nation was birthed and raised up solely by the miracles of God. And despite all the hard times faced by the nation at its birth and throughout history, it has not only survived, but it has flourished. Not because it was shielded from trouble, but because the hand of God was upon it.

I looked back out the window at that point, but instead of looking into the painfully bright light, I began to see the beauty that was brought about by the rising sun, that same sun that moments before had blinded me...Could it be that my "bad week" seemed so stressful because I was allowing my eyes to go to the source of the pain instead of seeing God's hand in the week? Did that "source" so blind me that I couldn't see the beauty it brought about?

As I contemplated this, I realized God had, indeed, shielded us from so much. Many of the new patients admitted did not need speech therapy, and God allowed the week to happen while we had a student who was able to take care of a lot of the extra work.

Then my mind went to the flood. Earlier that year, God had pushed us to get a water alarm. When the water first started to rise, we were alerted. This allowed us to pick the things off the floor of the basement before it was too late. My son was able to get internet through his phone, and he gladly stayed up to wait for the emergency plumbing service; then the plumber didn't charge us extra because it was the middle of the night. The list could go on and on, but the point is, God hadn't abandoned us to our troubles; rather, there were many little miracles sent our way to make the stressful times bearable.

Just like the rising sun brought so much beauty, just like the nation of Israel was birthed and raised upon miracles, was there something beautiful God was trying to create in our lives through these problems?

Absolutely; but in order to see the beauty of God's miraculous hand in our lives, I had to look away from the problems...

Your stress is likely more serious than my "bad week". Nonetheless, don't forget: When we look only to the source of the pain, we fail to see the beauty that it can create. Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the problem solver, the All-powerful God who was able to raise up a mighty nation despite infertility in the first three generations. This all-powerful God cannot be stopped by a few problems, and He has promised that: "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." (Is. 43:2 NIV)

Think about it!

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.