For He Himself has said: "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
As a young girl, Leslie’s life was filled with abuse, rejection and violence. She became angry at God because He didn’t stop the abuse. At the age of fifteen, she was kidnapped by her boyfriend, an older man, and forced into sex trafficking. She was told that if she tried to get out, various members of her family including herself would be killed. She reached the point of taking pills to numb her pain.
When her pimp was arrested ten years later, she continued prostituting herself. She went on to harder drugs and became addicted to crack cocaine. She simply wanted the pain to stop since the older she got the stronger the pain became. She finally tried to end her life by taking pills with alcohol. As she felt herself dying, she cried out to God and felt something hug her tightly. She saw it as the hug she never got as a child. At that point, she realised that God was real and that He cared.
The next day she enrolled in a thirty-day detox centre and was able to stop using drugs. She then went to a Christian women’s shelter where she spent the next year learning from the Bible about her identity and purpose and how to love herself. She learned her purpose was to take care of other people so she got involved in home health care. While there, one of her patients who had Alzheimer’s disease and who never spoke, unexpectedly told her one day that she had to pray for them. She knew exactly what she meant. She had to forgive those who had hurt her in order to release herself. She also had to ask God for forgiveness.
She has gone on to help other women by launching a program for sexually exploited women. She realises that God allowed her to go through all that she went through so that she could in turn help other women get out. She is now married and understands who she is. As she put it: “When I look in the mirror I see a powerful woman of God. I see a warrior, I see a fighter, I see me, and I know who I am.
I love this story because it speaks of the fight that we all go through at some point in time or another. The fight may not be the same as Leslie’s but it’s a battle nonetheless that seems overwhelming and may cause us to feel trapped. We may even wonder: “How long Lord?” as the battle may seem never-ending.
In Psalm 13:1 David says: “How long Oh Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Sometimes we may feel that God is taking a long time to answer. We may even resort to other sources of help in our desperation. I like the fact that Leslie said that God allowed her to go through so that she could help others get out. Maybe God even allowed her to go through for as long as she did so that, as she put it, she could understand the fight and so be able to help others. When we go through we are in a better position to help others. Our fight, our negative situation is not in vain. It has a purpose. Her fight also helped her understand her identity. It taught her that she might be knocked down many times but not knocked out. With God’s help she understood and appreciated who she is and that God does indeed care.
Whatever you might be going through, your fight has a purpose, you have a purpose. The enemy may mean for it to destroy you but God will use it to strengthen you and define you, to make you into a powerful vessel He can use for His honour and glory.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. There is no battle or challenge that you will face that God will not enable you to handle. No matter how long it takes, God will answer and He will use that battle for good, to fulfil His purpose for your life.
Sophie and her husband, Joe, desired a large family. However, she discovered she had stage four endometriosis, a disease in the uterus which causes cysts, scar tissue and infertility. She would have this disease her entire life. They were devastated. She had laparoscopic surgery to remove the cysts. This would help make pregnancy a possibility. The surgery was successful. Four months later, Sophie became pregnant and gave birth to a son. The entire pregnancy and process were uneventful.
They attempted a second pregnancy but were faced with a series of miscarriages. When they returned to her doctor for an exam, they discovered that the endometriosis had returned and was worse than before. She now had cysts and a blocked fallopian tube which would make pregnancy impossible. She was disappointed. She went before God and gave the problem to Him. Her focus now shifted and her desire for God and what He wanted became greater than her desire for a large family.
They planned to have in vitro fertilisation done. This would require the removal of her fallopian tubes thus preventing her from being able to become pregnant naturally. They requested prayer from friends and family.
At this time, a friend shared with her a dream she had had. In this dream both Sophie and her sister were pregnant at the same time. This dream gave Sophie hope and she felt that maybe the IVF would work the first time and she and her sister would indeed be pregnant together.
They went ahead and scheduled an appointment to have the procedure done. However, the night before, Sophie felt the urge to do a pregnancy test. She had had many failed tests and expected this one to be negative as well but she just wanted to rule out the possibility. She was shocked when the test was positive.
At the next ultrasound, the doctor reported that everything was okay and normal. The cysts were gone! Months later Sophie delivered a healthy baby girl.
The main point of focus for me is the fact that, when met with intense disappointment a second time around, Sophie finally handed over the problem to God and chose to let His will become her own. She still wanted more children but chose to have a greater desire for God’s ultimate will and purpose for her life. I believe this is when the shift in her circumstances took place even though she did not know it at the time.
Just like Sophie, I believe that God wants us to desire Him more than our own desires. It isn’t that He doesn’t want to give us what we desire, but He doesn’t want our desire to become more important than our desire for Him; He doesn’t want our desires to become an idol in our lives and replace Him, the One true and living God. Sadly, without realising it, many times that does happen and we find ourselves frustrated when things don’t seem to be working out our way. Maybe what God is looking for is a shift in our focus. When He becomes our main desire and focus, when we can reach the point where if we don’t get what we want, we would still love Him anyway, we would still serve Him with all our heart anyway, I believe that is where our true victory will come. It is not about getting what we want as much as it is about being within His perfect plan, purpose and will for our lives. God will never give us anything less than His best. And, maybe, when we give God our greatest desires, He will give us in turn more than we could ever hope, dream or ask for. Sometimes we lose when we hold on but we gain when we let go, releasing it into God’s capable hands.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. You will never lose when you give to God. He will always ensure that when you do, He will give His very best to you.
Rachel struggled with anxiety and depression as a child. It got so bad that at times she resorted to cutting. She rededicated her life to Christ in college and after graduating, met and married Steve, a police officer. The anxiety and depression seemed a thing of the past and she moved on with her life.
However, years later the old feelings surfaced. She was now a seminary student, a mother and an ICU nurse. She was taking care of a brain dead teenager who had tried to commit suicide. One day while taking care of her, she heard the words, “That should be me.” Unfortunately, she believed those words and as she looked at her, she remembered all the times she had cut herself and she steadily slipped back into depression.
She went to her doctor for help but she did not receive the help she needed. Instead, her depression and anxiety increased. To those around her she seemed fine. Her husband, Steve, however, realised the battle she was going through but he felt incapable of helping her. Sadly, she reached the point where she felt that her young son would be better off without her.
Her most terrifying moment, however, came when, one day, while lying in bed, she had a vision of herself standing by her bedroom window holding her husband’s gun to her head. What scared her was the fact that she felt safe as she truly believed that that was her way out. Afterwards, she begged her husband to hide all of his guns. At this point, realising how bad things had really become, they both cried out to God for His help.
Hours later, God sent help in the form of one of her former seminary professors who was at the time serving as a military chaplain in Africa. He had felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to pray for her and her husband and sent her an email letting her know he was doing just that. He also called them that day and spoke with them. Her husband felt that this was the turning point they had been waiting for. Rachel immediately knew that God sees her, He cares for her and He had sent her help. They were counselled and encouraged over the next three months and Rachel learned how to take God’s Word as truth. Today, she no longer identifies herself with depression and anxiety. She knows she is a child of God.
One of things that stands out in Rachel’s testimony is her realisation that God’s Word is truth. In other words, His Word would not fail her. Once she changed out the negative words in her mind for God’s Word, His Word became the truth she needed to stand on. His Word did not feed and nurture her depression and anxiety, rather, it stripped it of its power and hold over her life and set her free. God’s Word proved to be a powerful weapon needed to fight against depression and anxiety.
I am reminded of the story of the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13. His servant was sick so he went to Jesus for help. When Jesus offered to come to his house to heal him, he restrained Him saying that he was not worthy that Jesus should come to his home. Instead, he asked Jesus to simply speak the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus marvelled at his faith. So do I, because he believed that Jesus did not need to come and lay hands on his servant, all He had to do was “speak” and the healing would be released. He, too, seemed to understand God’s Word as truth.
I am also reminded that God’s Word defines who we are. Our identity does not come from our challenges or from what people say about us or from the lies we may believe about ourselves. If God says we are blessed (Ephesians 1:3), we are blessed no matter how “unblessed” we may look to others or feel. If God’s Word says we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), it matters not who believes it or not, we are. If God’s Word says we are chosen (Ephesians 1:4) and accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6), rejection does not define us no matter who may reject us.
God’s Word is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89) and He is watching over His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). It cannot return to Him void but must accomplish what He sends it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). I encourage you to know what God’s Word says about you and know what it is saying to you. God cannot lie and His Word has the power to turn around any situation that may come your way.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. Trust in God’s Word. His Word can encourage, heal, deliver, redefine you.
Brenda went for a routine mammogram and was shocked to learn that she had triple negative breast cancer. She and her family were devastated. When Brenda decided to seek a second opinion, she was surprised when the doctor told her that the Saviour is the Healer, man is not, man is just the vessel. She went on to encourage her to put her hope in Jesus, He had already died on the cross for her and they needed to start thanking Him for her healing. These words gave Brenda hope.
Brenda went on to prepare for the chemotherapy treatments and cut her hair because she did not want to see it falling out. Her son who was filming her journey, also filmed her “hair cutting party” which she decided should be posted online to allow others to be a part of the journey. The response was amazing and many reached out to her and prayed for her.
After her first treatment, Brenda knew she was healed. During the treatment she felt a sharp strike to the area where the spot had been found on her breast bone. Immediately she knew she was healed and declared it.
She went for an ultrasound and spent a long time there because they could no longer find the mass. Brenda had chosen to put her trust in God and be His vessel and He did not disappoint her.
Brenda, like many of us, faced a battle that was way bigger than her. She and her family were afraid, they were devastated but they trusted God to do something big for them. Brenda chose to go through the chemotherapy treatments but decided that one way to beat this cancer would be to take her own hair before the treatments could take it for her. She chose to fight, she chose not to lie down and die in her situation. She also chose to put the battle in God’s hands. She chose to be His vessel and let Him handle the problem for her.
Ever so often when I go through my own battles, God reminds me that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit - I am His vessel! With that reminder, I am usually encouraged and even find myself reaching out to His Holy Spirit, asking Him to take care of His temple. I acknowledge that I need His help and I expect Him to do what I can’t.
As children of God, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). It’s an even greater reminder that we are not alone when facing difficulties and that God is right there, residing in us, willing to help when needed. When you put it in that context, you realise how much the battle is truly the Lord’s no matter what comes our way. God will never leave us alone to fight battles on our own when our very bodies belong to and were created by Him. It’s as if He is obligated to step in and lend assistance because He is fighting for what belongs to Him!
Psalm 139 says: “For you created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb…My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth” (vv. 13-15). These verses speak to me about God’s intimacy with us. Nothing about us is hidden from Him! He created us and He knows exactly how to fix us … however He chooses!
Whatever you may be facing today, trust that God is more concerned about your situation than you can imagine. God created you and me and has a plan and purpose for each of His creation. He knows what will come our way before we do and is ready and equipped to help us through.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God, your Creator, is very much interested in you. When you put your trust in Him, the One who knows you intimately, you can be confident that nothing that comes your way is too big for Him to handle. When you can’t, God certainly can!
Kelly was one of five survivors of a plane crash in January 1982. At the time, she was a young, carefree flight attendant and believed she was in control of her life and free to live as she pleased.
On that fateful day, as the plane took off with seventy-nine people on board, the plane began to shake. One of the passengers looked at her worriedly but she shrugged her shoulders as if it were nothing. However, the plane failed to climb and instead crashed into a bridge and plunged into the icy waters below. In a matter of minutes, Kelly emerged from the wreckage and held on to the tail of the plane. She battled hypothermia as she waited to be rescued. She truly believed that this was the day she was going to die. She felt as if God was watching it all but didn’t believe He would help her as she instinctively knew that she had not been living a godly life. Twenty-eight minutes later she was pulled safely from the icy waters to shore.
When she got to the hospital, she knew that God had heard her and was aware of her. She tried to pray but her prayers were more of an apology that she didn’t know how to pray. A nurse came to her and gave her the answers she needed. She prayed to receive Jesus into her life and it brought her peace during her time of turmoil. She longed to know how to live as a Christian and the next day a stranger sent her a Bible in the mail with instructions to begin reading the book of John. She believed that God is a personal God and that He was personalising this experience just for her. She believed that God would help her to serve Him, she did not have to do it on her own. Her peace came when she realised God was in control, the same control she always wanted to have. Today, she is married with children and grandchildren and thankful that God has given her a second chance.
When Kelly boarded the plane on that fateful day, she had no idea that her life was about to dramatically change. She expected to arrive safely at her destination as had happened many times before. What she expected, however, never materialised. Like Kelly, we don’t know what the future holds for us. We may have expectations, even hopes and dreams that we hope will become a reality. The thing is, only God knows our future. The Word of God says: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).
As this new year begins, we have no idea what the future holds but this we know that our times are in God’s hands (Psalm 31:15a). And if our life is in His hands, no matter what comes our way, He has it all taken care of. Kelly had to realise that God was in control and when she relinquished her control to Him, no matter what came her way, God had her covered. God’s Word also says: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) Another translation of that verse says: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (NKJV).
We don’t know what this new year has in store for us, but we do know that once our life is in God’s hands, we are covered. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He will be with us every step of the way. That means that no matter what comes our way - good or bad - God will be with us and enable us to make it through. We can choose to worry or we can choose to trust … the choice is ours!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. When you choose to hand over the control of your life to God, you can be confident that because your uncertain future is in His hands, He will ensure that all things - both good and bad - work out just for your good!
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.