“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28 (NIV)
This is a verse I memorized in Missionettes as a young girl, and I’ve heard it quoted to other people when trouble seemed to be invading their lives. Sometimes it is said almost as a platitude, and when that happens, the hope and comfort of the verse is lost.
This week a dear friend of mine sent me an S.O.S email. Her ministry life had just imploded. She had just found out that people within her church had been meeting secretly about her and her husband, and were spreading lies about her family to whomever would listen. They made slanderous comments about her character, her motives, her intentions at the church, and demanded her immediate removal. “Will you pray with me?” she asked.
The similarities in our situations were too obvious to miss, and not taken as God’s gentle nudging. She could have written to dozens of other women, but she wrote to me. And I’ve known all along that if I chose to handle my situation the way the Bible says to, that God would somehow use me to help others. I just didn’t think it would be so soon.
God has been showing me that one of the greatest tools of the enemy against us is isolation. I too am often embarrassed to tell people how deep my pit has become. I think I should be able to draw more readily upon the scripture I have read and taught to others. But sometimes I am simply too exhausted.
I was reading Rom. 8:28 again, when a simple pronoun jumped out at me. "For WE know..." Paul doesn't say that he knows, but we know. Sometimes my problems seem so overwhelming that I can’t see out from under it by myself. But then God sends others to walk with me, beside me, and remind me of the power God has given me; not a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:8). I am convinced that the enemy is trying to assault us like never before because he knows his time is short, and he is intimidated by what could happen if we were totally united by the love of God.
I did pray for my friend, and I don’t plan on stopping. I also encouraged and cheered her on by telling her the things I needed to hear myself not so long ago. Gal. 6:2 tells us to carry each other’s burdens, and when we do, we fulfill the law of Christ. But maybe more importantly, it gives glory to God because it proves that He has taken our ashes, and given us beauty in it’s place. And His beauty is to be shared.
In pursuit of zoe,