Have you ever been through a long period of struggle knowing God wants you to learn something?
My suggestion is to: slow down, focus and pray.
My exam started with one of God’s promises: Jeremiah 33:3 “Call on me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things that you do not know”.
In the 16 months of emotional ups and downs as a co-executor of my parents wills I went through many trying situations. I found if I could stop and listen and look for God’s direction, He was there handling the conflicts, resolving problems and coordinating opportunities to share my faith as I moved through each month. Finally, there was a weekend that was the “test of prayer”.
PRAY when things are out of control:
In the midst of trying to get the home property ready to sell, a hail storm came through and caused a lot of damage, especially on the roof. This brought out an old family acquaintance who lived on the property with his family for 13 years after my father’s death to be of help to my stepmother. Dutch and his father owned a roofing company and he became the contractor who was to repair the hail damage.
In the midst of the repairs, Dutch approached me about a private sale of the property. This culminated into a wonderful opportunity during a difficult closeout. I had a buyer and someone to watch over the property months before final settlement without even a realtor. Only God could have coordinated this event.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.”
PRAY when you are angry:
During the coordination of the closing of the property, the lawyer dropped the ball several times. He repeatedly forgot to send on revised paperwork and failed to respond so that by the time I flew in to Texas, I still didn’t have a confirmed settlement date and time.
After arriving at the estate, I still had no email information on how to proceed. I took a quick nap and awoke at 5:05pm on Thursday night, only to see a bunch of emails going between the lawyer and the title company. The lawyer had forgotten to send updated information to the lender which would result in a revised settlement sheet. The last message said they may have to once again reschedule settlement. I was in a panic. I tried to contact the title company but they were closed. I emailed the lawyer and got a response saying he would be out of office until Monday (Tuesday was to be the closing). I was frantic and angry. After praying with my daughter on the phone, I made a list of what to do and went to bed. I awoke early to talk to God. This thought crossed my mind:
Matt 5:43-44 Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
So I prayed for the those I was frustrated and angry at and God gave me an idea: Write a thank you card and drop a gift card in each for settlement day for these people. Thank the lawyer, I questioned? Yes The next day I emailed my prayer partners to ask for pray to resolve the settlement issue. Within an hour, I heard from a sweet lady at the title company who by phone got all the parties on target, calmed the lender and resolved the settlement sheet so buyer and seller had definite times on settlement day for the morning (I was flying out in the afternoon). She answered all my concerns and paved the way for a peaceful, focused weekend. I wrote out all my thankyou cards, including one for her, and yes, one for the lawyer. When I prayed and obeyed, peace followed.
On settlement day, everything went well and I was giving out thank you cards, when the lawyer commented, “I know you don’t have a card for me.” I smiled and handed him his card saying, “ Oh yes. I do – I really appreciate you.” His mouth dropped open and he held the envelope out like it was a bomb. He quietly went to his car and left, speechless. Praise God for His help and direction!
PRAY when you are fearful:
During the weekend we had a terrifying storm. It was Sunday night after a glorious weekend with fellowship and worship with other believers. I was alone in a house on top of a mountain, miles away from anyone. I went to bed early when the winds picked up and rain & hail began to pound the roof.
My cell phone started screaming with a message of a tornado approaching and instructions on what to do. Then the lights went out. I had the cell phone and my nook as the only lights. I am reading instructions: “run to a basement or room without windows”. Wait, all the rooms in the house have windows. I jump out of bed and grab a blanket looking for a room without windows and settled on the bathroom. It was I was in the middle of comedy hour as I realize I left all my electronics by a window, so I ran to drag them into the bathroom. Then realize my purse is still in the room by a window, so I ran to bring the purse in the bathroom. Then realize if the roof caves in and I am found, I am in dressed in my pjs. So I ran to get a change of clothes and bring them into the bathroom. All the while the wind is howling and hail is falling. Then I realize, we are 2 days from settlement and I fear damage to the property again. So I cry out to God: “Help, I am afraid. I don’t know what to do”. (My cell phone shows a text – a friend is checking on me and asks if I need prayer). With a smile I text her back and I know God has heard me and I remember:
Psalm 56:3 “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in YOU.”
The lights come back on and now I can rest. The storm passed over, the tornado went by but no damage to the property. I slept peacefully through the night.
PRAY when you are worried:
Finally, after 16 months, the last piece of the estate is settled and I am about to fly home. I can relax because I have seen God work through prayer during testing times. However, the final lesson is still to come. As I get the airport, I start to board the plane checking my cell phone. As I get ready to turn it off, a call comes through from my landline at home. It is my daughter. She says, “Mom, it is awful foggy here and took me over an hour to drive home. I left my cell phone at the school and I am going back to get it.” She hangs up and I have visions of car accidents, no communication, muggings, etc. of my only daughter. But as I turn off the phone, I remember to stop and pray and ask God to watch over her and give me peace. I have 3 hours before I land to find out if she is safe. God again provides the peace and I sleep the whole way back. Maybe I have finally learned to pray first and trust God.
Matthew 11:28-30 comes to mind where Jesus said:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
May this be an encouragement to you as you face your storms of life.
By: Dr. Nancy Shields