In church today, the pastor preached on the topic of endurance. God has been teaching e about a specific aspect of endurance: the kind required when what we are accustomed to is taken away, yet we still must serve Him. I think we depend on many earthly things to enable us as we sere Him, and in no way do I suggest that these things are bad. They can, however, become habit forming and cripple us when we do not have them.
Coming out here, I expected to do without many things, like pedicures, air conditioning, and ice cream. On the mission field, I have learned to do without many things, like clean feet, personal space, and a working freezer. The Lord has been teaching me, though, that even more than that be taken away; and still He is enough. In the past few weeks, I have lost self image, self confidence, self righteousness, self identity, self worth, etc. God has shown me that when I am nothing, He is all.
I wrote the following in an email to a friend, and I wanted to share it with you:
God is changing me, helping me grow and become stronger. But it hurts. He's showing me what it means to have all things stripped away. He's pressing me to face the reality that I depend on the things He's given me more than I depend on Him. When all this world falls away, what will you have left? There was a man who was fairly wealthy; had a great family, beautiful home, etc. Then, all on one day, his investments collapsed and a catastrophe killed all of his children in one fell swoop. Shortly therafter he was stricken with a terrible illness. As he lay, terribly ill, his wife told him to "curse God and die". His response to her was "Will I accept only good from his hand and not bad?" In all that happened, the man did not sin. He recognized that even when all things pass away, the God he served is a good God, and so long as he still had God, he had enough. True story.
I pray that God would create that heart in me. That I would recognize that my relationship with Him is enough to sustain me. It is all I need.
PS- the story ends well. Last I heard, he was back on his feet, was blessed to welcome a few more children into the world, and was financially stable as well. The most important thing, though, is that his faith was stronger, his comittment to the Lord was stronger.