Double Header – part 1: Trials & Encouragement

Trials are really difficult to swallow when you are so consciously aware of trying to be in God’s will. When you can’t quite put your finger on where you’ve gone wrong. Trying to be obedient in listening to Him, and not making decisions without prayerful consideration first. I have been learning, through His word, that when we are really walking with Christ, we are still going to face trials but the key is how we walk through them and grow from them.

This brings me to yesterday. We have (had) two minivans. One of them, we’ve had since it had only 16K miles on it in 2004 and as of yesterday, it was over 210K miles. It held a lot of memories for our family. Chris went to back it out of the driveway and the transmission completely died and that was the end of it. Stuck in reverse forever more. We had the transmission rebuilt once already and didn’t really think it was a wise investment to have a whole new transmission put in the van. So off it went to be crushed, leaving our busy family of 6 with one vehicle. After coming home from getting the kids from school, the brakes on our working vehicle smelled hot. So we dropped that one off at the shop last night. They were able to fix it this morning, but it sure was a double whammy kind of punch to have so much car trouble in one day.

When we have trials, little shadows of doubt can start to creep in. We need two vehicles. Because we don’t have an income and our income will be minimal when Chris does start working, this leaves us in quite a pickle. We can’t have a car payment and we can’t pay much for a used car. I found myself starting down the thought trail of, “God, why would you do this to us when we are trying so hard to follow your will?” Someone even mentioned that it was the first trial we’ve had since both being unemployed and maybe someone would have to go back to work. Well, one little bump in the road does not mean we give up on the vision that God has given us! In times of trial, we need to press in closer to Him, lean on Him even more, learn what He wants us to learn, and (the really tough one) exalt in our suffering. What?!?! So really, we should be thanking God for rendering us down to only one vehicle and having to wonder about how we are going to get where we need to be? Yes, that is exactly what Peter is telling us!

Peter teaches us about suffering in 1 Peter 4:12-19

Suffering for Being a Christian

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

14 If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God[a] rests upon you.[b] 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 18 And also,

“If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?”[c]

19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.

That last verse is such a great one for our situation! Keep going and trust God. Sounds pretty simple, right?

We can already see the hands and feet of Jesus at work for us. For. Us. It’s so humbling! People have offered to pray for us, to share the word of our need with a large number of people, and our neighbors are letting us borrow one of their vehicles, whenever we need it, until we get our own. The awesome part about the borrowed vehicle is that it is a big, full sized van from the early 90’s. It’s dark green, so we are lovingly calling it the Green Machine. We took it for a ride today and the kids LOVE it! If you see us around town, be sure to honk and give us a wave!

If you know someone who has a vehicle that would fit us and they might feel led to donate it to us, please contact Love Inc. and the donation will be tax deductible. (540)221-2955.

I’ll leave you with this pointed video about perseverance in Christ, and the famous words of Dory the fish, “just keep swimming”!

Love you all!!!

Risen Ridge Ministry