The last few weeks were filled with ups and downs, highs and lows.
First I had a terrible flare. It was painful to move my entire body and for some reason my right elbow was killing me. (Down)
My doctor put me on steroids to calm the flare and settle things out in my joints. Now I don't know about you, but me on steroids is not a good combination - they make me angry. So I warned my family.
There were benefits though: they gave me so much energy I (almost) reorganized the entire lower level of my house! (Up)
Then my daughter got the flu and I got it while nursing her. (Low) I was sick with fever and chills and spent the better part of the week in bed. At one point I lost an entire day - July 12th to be exact. Everything was "off" and on the third day I realized I'd forgotten to pray for myself! I'd been so focused on trying not to vomit, I didn't remember to ask God for help. So I prayed and went back to sleep.
Later that night, I heard a scream. I pulled the earplugs from my ears and turned on the light to find my husband flailing around in our bed. I tried to figure out what the heck was happening when he said, "Water! I spilled water all over us!" It turns out he'd had a dream that we were on the couch talking and he grabbed a cup of water and . . . fell asleep with it.
"Are you sure we weren't talking just now?" he asked.
"Definitely sure." I said.
We both had a good laugh as I stumbled around trying to find new sheets and blankets. By then I was wide awake and couldn't fall asleep. Terrible storms with deafening thunder and lightning were shaking the house. I decided - at two o' clock in the morning - to catch up on some overdue filing, so I went into my closet (because that's where I keep my files).
While there, I had the distinct impression I was supposed to read the devotional for July 12th in Streams in the Desert. I tried to ignore it and keep filing, but the impression grew stronger so I read.
This was the scripture: He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)
This was the first sentence: Faith grows during storms.
Everything I needed in that moment - in the storm of the flare and flu - was found in that little devotion of the day I'd lost. (High) It was about faith in God during the toughest times of life.
The last few sentences really spoke to me:
Yes, "in all these" - even during storms, when the winds are the most intense - "we are more than conquerors." You may be tempted to run from the ordeal of a fierce storm of testing, but head straight for it! God is there to meet you in the center of each trial. And He will whisper to you His secrets, which will bring you out with a radiant face and such an invincible faith that all the demons of hell will never be able to shake it. E. A. Kilbourne
Suffering friend, I believe God poured that water on my husband and me. I believe that He is indeed making us stronger through our trials, testing us so that when all is said and done we'll come forth as gold.
Now you: Has God ever ministered to you at midnight or in the middle of a life storm? Do tell! We never know how our stories of suffering can encourage someone going through the same struggle.
Praying for you, Erika