New to Refiner’s Fire? I encourage you to read the FORWARD.
A few days before Labor Day weekend we were ready for Oregon. All our belongings were packed for the moving van, which was scheduled to arrive the day after our California departure.
The car was packed.
Friends came to say goodbye. Our neighbor picked up last minute directions for the moving van driver.
Excitement was in the air.
We headed north along the coast, enjoying God’s beautiful creation. Our three children were enjoying the fun stops we made.
We were trying to arrive just east of Portland, in Boring, OR, the day the van arrived! Joe was scheduled to fly down to the Open Door’s office in Orange, California the day after Labor Day. The schedule was set. It was easy!
We knew no one in our new community. Little did I know I would be on my own, setting up a new house, getting the children enrolled in school and, for the first time, my body began tinges of terror.
As we drove up the I/5 in Oregon Joe called out, “Who wants ice cream?” It felt good to get out of the car and stretch. STRANGE… but I have a strong memory of really enjoying that ice cream. Joe was anxious to keep going. He was determined to arrive before the moving van. We piled back into the car and continued our journey.
SUDDENLY I was hit with a feeling of terror – I had to stop. I had to go to the bathroom. I could feel diarrhea coming. It was awful. I wanted to stop, but because of the new job, Joe needed to keep going.
“Joe, I must find a bathroom. Now!”
Joe pulled off the freeway and found a gas station and I ran to the bathroom just in time.
THE TERROR WAS UNDERWAY!
The question I’ve asked thousands of times over the past thirty-nine years: Does terror bring on the diarrhea or does diarrhea bring on the terror?
When we got to the motel, there was a message. The van that was to arrive on Labor Day, now wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday or Wednesday. Without notice, the driver had decided to stop at his home and spend Labor Day with his family.
Joe would be gone before the van arrived. I was responsible for everything.
Tuesday morning, we piled into the car to take Joe to the airport. It was the first day of school so the kids and I headed out into the country to enroll them.
There was no GPS to help me drive the unknown roads in a state unknown to me on back roads to the country school. Then the shock! “Mrs. Parker, I’m sorry but we can’t enroll your children. We must have proof that all vaccinations are current.”
“But all that information is on the truck and I don’t know when it will get here.”
“You can take the children into Portland. They are giving vaccinations at a school today for everyone in your situation. I’ll give you the directions.”
I panicked. Not sure what to do, but knowing my primary responsibility was registering the kids in school. Somehow, we found the school. All three took their turns standing in the various lines for the different vaccinations.
Thinking back, I want to kick myself – the world wouldn’t have ended if they had entered school a few days late. I needlessly put my children through agony for shots they didn’t need.
Would I have panicked had I trusted the sovereignty of God?
My CHALLENGE to you —
Grab a cup of coffee … imagining you and I are chatting.
In our Bible study group several years after the above story, we did an in-depth study on the Sovereignty of God. We used Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts in our study. I had always “believed” that the Triune God was sovereign, but I didn’t completely understand what that meant for my faith walk.
If you struggle with understanding what the sovereignty of God means in your faith walk, read Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, by Jerry Bridges.
It is easier to accept the difficulties of life when I keep my focus on a Sovereign God who knew before He created me that I would face the pain I’m dealing with today.
It’s easy to believe something in my head, but not put that belief into practice in the reality of life. Here are questions to ponder: do I truly believe a truth when I don’t practice it? When I don’t allow God, by my surrender, to use that truth to change me, do I believe it?
When my body is raging and terror envelops me, it is difficult to surrender to the truth I know. The Triune God is Sovereign, He only wants what is best for me. Even though it doesn’t feel like it, in the moment of pain, the pain is for my good, I must surrender.
My cry – “Oh, God, please do not let me waste this pain.”
In those moments, I cry out and beg God, “If you are not going to give me relief, then please give me the desire and strength to continue to hold on to You. Give me the desire and strength to do what You want me to do.”
He amazes me as He provides the desire and strength to cling to Him; the desire and strength to do what He has for me to do in in the midst of terror.
This past week, I awoke with a body raging in so much terror I didn’t think I could get out of bed. Joe had a dentist’s appointment which was critical for his health. It required my driving him 15 miles, on unknown roads, trusting the GPS would get us there. I cried out, “I can’t do this.”
Just then a text message came which awoke me more and I thought, “FACEBOOK.”
I posted a cry for prayer. Suddenly people shared how they were praying. At 1 p.m., when we left the apartment, my arms were heavy as though they had been through a war, but the terror was gone.
In the midst of your pain/suffering: Pray, “God please don’t let me waste this pain. Give me the desire and strength to continue clinging to you; give me the desire and strength to do what You want me to do.”
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to others, to pray for you. Don’t feel comfortable doing this publicly? Ask a few close friends to be your prayer partners. Tell them you will send an email or text message or Facebook message when you need the desire and strength to keep clinging to Jesus; when you need the desire and strength to do what He wants you to do.
Click if you want to meditate on this with a Song to Lighten your suffering
Next Page – Settling into a Life of Terror