By Tish K.

By Tish K.

    Testing

    Monday, May 13, 2024

    Testing… Testing…

    Have you ever noticed that the word “testimony” includes the word “test”?

    I don’t think that is an accident.  We know from the Word that “we overcome by the blood of the lamb AND the word of our testimony.” (Revelations 3:1)

    So, why do we have so many trials and challenges that hit us unexpectedly?

    Last year, over a three-month period, I hit a street curb not once, but twice. I found myself not only calling AAA but buying two new tires! ARGH! Two weeks ago, I grazed a car bumper in our church’s parking lot. Thankfully, the couple was very gracious, calling it a scuff.

    God DID say that trials and travails are to be expected in this life. Martin Luther’s wife, Kate, said, “I would never have known the meaning of various Psalms, come to appreciate certain difficulties, or known the inner workings of the soul; I would never have understood the practice of the Christian life and work, if God had never brought afflictions to my life.”

    Paul calls it the “momentary afflictions.”

    “So, we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

    And also from Galatians 6:9, “And do not let us grow weary of doing good, for in due season, we will reap the peaceful fruit of righteousness if we do not give up.”  Continuing with verse 10, Paul writes, “So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

    As pastor’s wives, we know that our congregants give us many opportunities to minister in a variety of ways. But how do we do this on a regular basis?  Every day poses its own challenges.  I know that each day I need to confess my tendency to fear or be anxious and “people pleasing.” Oh, how I want to be “liked” and thought well of! I have found that it helps to empty myself daily and to ask the Holy Spirit to fill me so that I operate in His strength.  As we all know, we’re often called on to minister when we’re tired or stressed or both. And we certainly can’t do it on our own.

    It’s been four years since I battled COVID-19.  Sisters in Christ, I so appreciated your prayers. As you may recall, I was on a ventilator for 17 days and spent a total of 56 days in the hospital. When I finally regained consciousness, I understood that God wanted to teach me how to trust Him through this time of “weakness” for His glory. I knew that I had to choose how I would handle this trial.

    No visitors were allowed to see me for a month and a half—this included my family. I could view my time as being a prisoner tied to a hospital bed. Or I could choose to view my room as a sanctuary where Christ kept me safe. It turned out to be a very precious time for me as I waited on the Lord to renew my strength. I needed God’s help, literally, as I learned to stand, relearned how to walk, and as I was slowly weaned off of a feeding tube and a catheter. My husband said he knew I had turned the corner when I asked for two things, my cell phone and my lipstick! Make no mistake, the Lord helped me lean on Him.  Several doctors and nurses reminded me that it was a miracle that I survived. This gave me an opportunity to share God’s Good News with the medical team.

    I know that during my time of intense suffering, I was tempted to indulge in self-pity. But, as Joni Eareckson Tada put it, “Self-pity is a slimy, bottomless pit. Once you fall in, you tend to go deeper and deeper. But when you start thanking God for the good things He has given you, you’ll be amazed how much this attitude can change the timbre of your heart.” So true.

    God used this time to rally many prayer warriors all over the world for my healing. There are some prayer chains still going today that started as neighbors rallied together to pray for my healing.

    I also had to fight against resentment toward the medical community. They planned to send me home without any rehab, which I so desperately needed. Thankfully, that all worked out.

    The most important lesson of all, and the one I want to leave you with is this: God has called us for His eternal purposes. What we do each day, dear Sisters, really matters. As stated in 1 Peter 4:7-11, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen”

    With God’s help, we can pass the test…

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