So many things seem out of control. Work, long hours, pressure to succeed, bosses that demand more, need to bring home more money, co-workers who don't carry their weight, less qualified people being promoted, extra projects that aren't quite done, always feeling one step less than succeeding, etc., all which can cause stress and steal one's joy. Then added to that are home responsibilities, spending time with the wife and children, making decisions, doing maintenance chores, fixing things that break, dealing with children and discipline, getting along with in-laws and relatives, keeping up with others, taking time for God or to even reflect on where I am really going. Life has challenges. How can the average person make it all work? The key to this problem came to me during a special time in my life when I almost lost everything.
When I first became a Spirit-filled Christian, nothing was impossible and God was so close and real that I didn't have a care in the world. I was almost spoiled with the way God opened doors, released His power, and worked things out for me. On one particular experience, we were invited to share Jesus, His Word, and the power of the Holy Spirit with a group of high school seniors in another state. We were set for success. We brought in a team of students that had some amazing testimonies of what God had done in their lives, and so on the first night they shared their heart in such a way that made the Lord so real and personal and inviting. I sat in awe of how good God is. Yet to my utter frustration, the young audience was not moved, but rather was throwing spitballs and jostling with one another.
As leader of the team, it was my job to bring the pieces together and present the message that Jesus died for each one out of unconditional love. My words were like drops of water bouncing off a flat rock. I began to resent them and the more I tried to make the message clear the more their response was rejection or at least, complete disinterest. Instead of loving them, I let myself become discouraged and totally frustrated. So when we adjourned with the team for the night, all my emotions were spent and in my heart of hearts, I just wanted to get out of there. I had had it. I felt like God had deserted me. Like a little kid running away from home, I made up my mind to get in the car and never come back.
God, being God, moved upon one of the team, the most unlikely guy who usually totally ignored me, to ask me to bless them before they went to bed. I froze. There was no way on God's earth I had anything in me to bless anyone. I broke down and shared my hurt, letting them gather around and pray for me. Something was released and my heart and emotions were set free. So the team went to bed and left me alone. I turned to God and said, "God, don't you realize how close I was to giving up? I was one string from leaving forever." That's when I heard, as strong as I have ever heard God's voice, "But it was My string."
Many waters have flowed over the damn since then, and at times the battle has grown in significance and intensity. Yet the word hasn't changed. Yesterday I saw on Youtube a video of Kathryn Kuhlman interviewing Cory ten Boom, in which Cory shared the message she received while in the Nazi concentration camp, that "No pit is so deep, that God is not deeper still." Her testimony only verifies the word in 1 Corinthians 10:13, while talking about grace to bear trials, it declares, "God is faithful." It is His string that holds you.