Life’s Greatest Hindrances are its Greatest Teachers

More and more I find that what I used to consider my greatest hindrances were, in fact, actually my greatest teachers.  I used to believe that all my troubles were attributable to lack of finances and consequently, thought all of them could be solved by a surplus.  I considered all the disadvantages and often almost totally overlooked the great trust and creativity I was developing and gaining over the years.   I used to overlook what God was placing right before my eyes.  Troubled with how things were going to work out—crippled by fear that they wouldn’t, days were difficult and money seemed so scarce.  Little did I know at the time that I would look back on the more difficult days and remember them with sort of fond, but perhaps bittersweet, emotion.

I’m sorry for the young woman who was so fearful, but happy for the way the LORD did provide and for all they ways she learned to cope, learned to be creative, learned to be hopeful, learned to trust and increased in faith.  But the younger woman who used to live in my shoes was often plagued by the “what will people think” albatross, and was sometimes shackled by doubts and insecurities – as I suppose we all are from time to time, but when they become interwoven in every thought, then they’re like that heavy, paralyzing albatross.

The LORD worked through all those sorts of situations and blessed me with a sort of “blindness” to my situation—sort of a “rose coloured glasses” tenor to my life—and brought me through those valleys.  I began to see things less and less for what they were and more and more for what I hoped they would be.  Sure, the lack of finances still was a hindrance, but I stopped allowing myself to feel as though that defined me or my family.  I decided to stop getting tripped up in the trappings of the have’s and have not’s in life—they weren’t helping me.  I decided to not let my possessions (or lack thereof) define who I was or who I am—other people may have judged me in that manner—but I never wanted to be that shallow and I knew the LORD didn’t want that for me either.  He was taking me through the school of contentment.  Had I not had lack, I’d not have learned to be very creative with what I did have and I suppose I might’ve become smug or assume it was all my doing when there were great increases and successes. I surely know that whatever good has come, whatever gain I’ve experienced – successes, benefits or blessings have all been of the LORD.

Learning to trust God for things unseen or things unknown is perhaps more difficult for some than for others—I know that for myself, it was a struggle to trust:  that what I could not see was already seen and covered by the LORD.  My fretting and my doubting never helped me or the situation I faced, regardless of whether the situation was financial, physical or vocational.  Looking back, some of the times of the greatest doubt or greatest fear are now the sweetest memories to me.

Some of the deepest valleys produced the richest fruit and it’s faith from those lessons that has guided me through the more recent years and the struggles or trials we’ve faced.  When trails have been forged or mountains scaled, the path is a bit less daunting each time it’s traversed and with each passing, faith is strengthened and trust is deepened.  With each passing year, the have’s and the have not’s are less and less noticeable to me and my concern is less self-focused.   Pride is an ugly thing I came to see… for it is often pride that keeps us from living and giving – pride is that gripping thing that prevents us from being transparent, from being open and vulnerable.  We all have it to some degree or another and sometimes when we very least anticipate it, pride wells up and swallows us. Gains and losses are the great equalizers in life—they happen to all of us.  Same with fear and doubt—but some people are just better at hiding fears and doubts than others.  It’s the admission of those fears and doubts that is the beginning of turning from them and yielding to the LORD.

Because I know my Redeemer lives and ever lives to make intercession for me—for us—, I know that I can trust Him beyond a shadow of doubt, that what He has promised to do, that will He do—He promised to never leave me nor forsake me and He promises in His Word that He will complete that which He has begun.  What He’s begun in you – He will complete!

So the LORD has used trials as teachers, loss as gain, and lack: to fill me.   His faithfulness truly has been great and His mercies have been new every morning.  Now when financial set backs come or when there seem to lack of funds, I have learned to anticipate the Hand of the LORD and to watch for what He will do.  Thirty-five years in the swimming-pool business in the chilly Northwest has given our family ample opportunity to watch the Hand of the LORD both guide and provide—sometimes in the most surprising and unusual ways.  As with so many other things in life, I’m learning to see this much more quickly than I did in the early years.   He has proven Himself faithful… and I’m seeing this more and more in the seen, or outward things of life as well as in the unseen, or the inward things of life.

always in His hands, p.

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