Monday was a tough day. I’m not going to lie, I allowed myself some time for self-pity and frustration. I have been praying intensely for some very specific breakthroughs in a difficult situation and was hoping for all to be resolved Monday, but the breakthroughs didn’t happen as I hoped. Very disappointing. Then, as you may or may not know, in April I was hired as an adjunct faculty for a local university. I was expecting to begin teaching in September - but found out Monday there may not be a class for me to teach. I have to admit I crashed for a while. Sometimes in the face of discouragement it is hard to keep my chin up and to hold onto positive thoughts.
I am such a spiritual weakling sometimes. I allowed myself to start freaking out about how I would pay my bills if I didn’t teach, because I had been planning on that money to help offset a pay cut at one of my other jobs. Then I let myself get discouraged thinking about starting the job search process again and how deeply I did not want to start filling out applications and going to interviews again. And of course, my ego had to get involved and my thoughts just beat me up. Why had I told people I had that job? I should have kept it a secret, just in case it didn’t work out! After all, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is, right? So my faith went flying out the window and I cried and wallowed in self-pity. I tried to pray, but I have to admit it was a weak, woe-is-me cry out to God.
It annoys me when I let myself get that way, but it is human nature and I take comfort from the Bible. When I find myself acting like that, I always think about the Israelite people after God had Moses lead them out of slavery in Egypt. God Himself led them as a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire during the night. He parted a sea which averages 1,608 feet in depth - just pushed the water to the sides and allowed time for Moses and somewhere between 2½ and 3½ MILLION people to cross on the dry bottom. God held the waters open until all the people were safely across, then released them to flow as usual. He provided bread and quail from the sky when they were hungry. God did huge miracles like that for them - which they ALL witnessed - and yet when they encountered difficulties, the Israelites doubted God was with them. Seems easy for me to scoff at them for that, but I am not, because I often do the same thing.
When I think back over the past several tumultuous years of my life - I see God’s provision. He has taken care of my every need and answered prayer after prayer. The Torch itself is founded and moved by God. He is allowing me to be a part of it, but He is the One inspiring and motivating us through the challenges and mountains we face with that. One day, after we had yet another answered prayer and were just feeling so blessed, Sarah went home - and when she got there - she texted me and said, “If this is what living in God’s will is like, I don’t ever want to leave it!” Pretty amazing to feel so powerfully encouraged to live in God’s will when materially, physically and sometimes emotionally life is often incredibly difficult. Doubt comes in when we look at the outside of our lives and forget about faith and the things that really matter.
So Monday night, Sarah and I were at her place working on some things for The Torch. We were under something of a deadline so our minds were occupied largely with that for the moment, but we had taken time to pray about how discouraged we were feeling. Sarah was sitting with her back to the window and I looked up to answer a question and the clouds in the distant sunset captured my attention. It literally looked like Jesus was in the center of this circle of clouds, illuminated by the sun shining through just that one spot. I said, “Jesus is coming!” And Sarah turned around to look as I grabbed my phone to take a picture. The picture doesn't really do the sight justice, but that doesn’t matter to me. We know what we saw and it was like God was reminding us about what is really important (doing His work because He is coming back) AND not to forget He is with us ALWAYS. I don’t believe in coincidences - I believe in divine appointments.
Everything is going to work out - not in our timing, in His. He has always been there for us and He always will be. We just have to remember to keep on living by faith and counting our blessings.
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20