|Laura V. Hilton|
I was asked to pick an affliction and write about it in a way to encourage others. The assignment threw me, because how could I pick one from the on-going slew of things life threw at us: a wayward son, cars that broke down (with no money to even begin to think of replacing them), medical issues that depleted an already-drained bank account, or the aspects of my much-loved job that I hated and put off until they are stacked neck high? All with looming deadlines . . .
I could go on and on.
Some days tumbling out of bed in the morning is overwhelming. I have a to-do list as long as Santa’s and the hits just keep coming. I don’t know where to start. A good cry sounds like an excellent beginning, perhaps even a necessity. Bring out the chocolate so I can start self-medicating!
Underlying all the tension, the fear, the where-do-I-even-begin is a measure of peace that passes understanding. This too will pass. God is in control. It’s going to be okay. Trust Me.
He is always right, of course. Because whatever we’re facing will pass. God is in control. I can trust Him. And it will eventually be okay.
Most recently, my husband’s car shuddered, shook, and died, right in the middle of a bridge fifty miles from home. Every light on the dash lit up. He called me at 5:45 A.M. My brain was in sleep mode at that hour. Not fully functioning. But we’re both thinking: we're making payments on the new-to-us van that we bought last June when the family vehicle died, deader-than-dead. The men at the garage shook their head and muttered there's nothing they could do. How could we pay for another new-to-us vehicle when meeting the monthly van payments was an act of faith?
The answer seemed obvious: we would be reduced to one vehicle. He used mine and I became a homebody. However, Son M graciously offered his very-used pickup truck when he wasn't working, and we accepted. So it worked out. It wasn't ideal, my husband didn’t like the idea that I didn't have a vehicle with five children still at home, but it would work. For now.
So, the broken-down car was towed off to a garage. Son M picked up my husband and we began to our "new normal." Son L (whose own car was broken down) had to catch rides with friends to-and-from work since we didn’t have an extra vehicle for him.
Then Wednesday came. We'd planned to look at cheapie used cars (anything as long as it ran) but someone from the garage called. The problem wasn’t as dire as they thought. God heard our cries, concerns, and prayers and answered with a cheap fix.
All was well, but it was a wake-up call. We needed to put something away for a new-to-us car, even if it was only five dollars a week. Steve’s car had close to 300,000 miles on it!
While all of this was still whirling in my head, my husband was “nudged” toward a passage in 2 Corinthians. (Just a coincidence, right? Right!) In it, the Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian believers of his particular issues. And just for the record, they were a tad more disconcerting than a broken-down vehicle: think life and death, persecution, and legalistic adversaries hounding his every step. Yet Paul finds the grace to write these words of comfort and encouragement:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV)
Our situations don’t define us. The "stuff" that happens to us does not define us. It merely gives us more opportunities to show the amazing grace of our Lord and Savior.
The confidence of knowing God provides us with an entirely unique perspective. Everything else is colored by that view. What the world might consider a tragedy, Paul calls "a light affliction, which is but for a moment" but which works for us in "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." What beautiful words!
When we look at the tapestry of our life from the human perspective, it's a big ol' tangled mess of knots and snarls and tangles. But turn it over and look at it from God's perspective, you'll see the intricate patterns and beauty that He is painstakingly weaving into and throughout our lives.
The next time “life happens,” ask yourself . . . “How can I respond to this situation in such a way that it will bring glory to the name of my Heavenly Father?”
This stuff that is happening is temporal – it has a shelf life.
“This too shall pass. It’s going to pass, or we are going to pass." -Mark LowryGod is eternal. And what people say about Him matters; both now, and forever.
|About the Author|
Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House:Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series,Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards).Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as a three book Amish series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard, and The Bird House in September 2015. Other credits include Swept Awayfrom Abingdon Press. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.
Connect with Laura
visit her blogs: http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/ &http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com/
The Bird House
Twenty–year–old Greta Miller's daed has been injured in a farming accident during the summer. The supportive Amish community tries to help out, but Greta and her sister must work outside the home to make ends meet, and so Greta rents a booth at the farmers' market.
Because Greta is still in her rumspringa and free to explore the world, her family selects her to sell her homemade jams, jellies, and preserves to Englischers. Josh Yoder wants to court Greta, but years ago, he made the mistake of rejecting her during a seemingly innocent game; which resulted in him leaving the Amish. Three years later, he's back, but Greta wants nothing to do with him.
Josh struggles to fit in and rebuild relationships he destroyed. Knowing Greta's family needs help, he steps in, hoping to win her back. When Greta admires one of his birdhouses, he gives it to her, hoping that it will open the door to more. But as their friendship begins to grow, a series of unfortunate events pull Greta away from the Amish, leaving her rejected by those she loves.
Will Greta get beyond her family's distrust and return home? Will she prove her innocence? Or will she remain outside her Amish community?