Have you ever felt that the Sunday morning sermon was speaking to you so loudly you're certain the pastor must know what you've gone through all week? Well, when the pastor's your dad there's a good chance he may. But he probably doesn't know all the details and he certainly hasn't walked in your shoes.
That was my experience Sunday morning. All the garbage and mess from the previous week weighed heavy on my heart. I shared some of it and my emotions spilled out before Sunday school even started. But I wasn't the only one who'd endured adversity during the week. Others found themselves facing different kinds of struggles and the sermon spoke to them in different ways.
At this moment, it's so clear that God used my dad's sermon to begin preparing me for what happened at 2:34 PM today. It involves the recent struggles I've shared with you the past two weeks. Each time I think I've hit the depths of the valley, I find another cavern, another sink hole. I can't share details. I can't say much. But I can say when God is at work, continue trusting Him - even with the faith of a mustard seed. God WILL make a way.
I reached out to some prayer partners and they prayed me up, asking God to give me the words to say and the wisdom to know when to say them. It worked. I feel good about the outcome. I feel better about my future. I feel less anxious about what's to come. I know it's not behind me yet, but it's clear God is in this.
One of my friends forwarded an amazing devotion to me and again, I feel led to share it with you. I know it was meant to find me at this perfect time... and God was the real sender! Have hope, don't give up, and keep believing that God will NOT fail you as you pursue the dreams He's placed in your heart!
by Ron Hutchcraft
Let's look at our Word for today from the Word of God. Because it's a promise for people who are in the oven, you might say, who are suffering in some intense heat right now.
1 Corinthians 10:13, New Living Translation (NLT)
"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure."
Listen to these familiar words: "No temptation (or testing, it could be translated) has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted (or tested) beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted (or tested), He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
Don't you love the promise of those words, "Not beyond what you can bear"? Those are words with your name on them maybe today because of what you're having to bear. God promises He will not take you beyond what you can bear.
I've always found potters to be intriguing. When we go to colonial villages I always enjoy watching them. I saw an interview with a potter, and she talked about how they take this formless lump of clay. And with their skilled hands on that wheel, they're able to make it into something beautiful and useful, and then the oven. They cook that piece of pottery that they've molded. They cook it at temperatures of up to 2,200 degrees to make sure that the shaping will last. It actually takes extreme heat to make the beauty and the usefulness permanent.
The interviewer said, "Well, is it possible to get the oven too hot for the pottery?" She said, "Oh, yeah. For example, if you get it up to say 3,000 degrees it will just melt down." But then she said, "The potter always knows the melting point." So does yours. God's bottom line in Romans 8:29 , "He has predestined that you would be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus." He wants you to be like Jesus, so He uses the heat in your life to burn off the junk that might otherwise never come off. And God has been building in you lately a new love, a new patience, new purity, new faith to trust Him, new character. But if it's never tested, it won't last. You have to take that new you into some intense heat for it to become tough and permanent. If the new you can get through this heat, you'll have a powerful new confidence in God's work in you.
Right now, maybe all you know is it's really hot. Well, you have a guarantee from the Master Potter, "not beyond what you can bear." Oh, He might take you to the edge, but He'll never allow you to go over. God will let the heat make you stronger, but He'll never leave His masterpiece in the oven too long.