- First the engine went in our van.
- Next, our oil furnace quit in the middle of the winter.
- Then our roof started leaking and had to be re-shingled.
- Next, the transmission conked out in our van.
- One day our stove almost started a fire and had to be replaced.
- Then we had to repair the dishwasher.
- And finally (I hope this is the end of the list for awhile) our John Deere riding mower needed an overhaul.
In total, this set us back over $17.000.00 at a time when finances were extremely low. Yes, I must admit, I was feeling sorry for myself until I recalled the Apostle Paul's list of setbacks.
Paul's list: (taken from 2 Corinthians 11:24-28)
24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
So, when I line up my setbacks against the Apostle Paul's they pale in comparison. Yet they were so real and so costly, so discouraging, so untimely (I thought). Yet the Great Provider meets our needs in the midst of our trials and is "an ever present help in time of trouble".
What challenges are you battling today? Place your hand in God's powerful grip and let Him walk with you through the discouragement. When we are thrown into the furnace of affliction we can state, as the three young Hebrew men affirmed, "the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king." (Daniel 3:17)
Be encouraged today, my friends. You are not alone!