AFTER we have suffered for a little while
I love watching how God uses our team to glorify His Name! These last three days of our 4th annual She Writes for Him virtual conference have been glorious!
Anyone involved in putting on events that will build up the Kingdom of God knows the increase in intensity of spiritual warfare that happens. It always seems the scene is hit with sickness, bizarre accidents, and family drama at the most inopportune times. Through it all, I watched as God reorchestrated people and times so that all was well, and even better!
My Friday evening keynote reminded us how to respond when the unforeseen interrupts our well-developed plan. I shared a powerful alliteration through my own experiences which I will share with you over the next few weeks.
SUFFERING, SUFFICIENT, and SUPPORT.
THE FIRST “S” WORD IS SUFFERING.
Flying down to San Antonio on January 1, 2022 was not my plan to start the new year. My brother’s depression got the best of him and he left behind 9 plane hangars full of antique motorcycles, Alfa Romeos, racing bikes and airplane parts and NO WILL. Grief washed over me at the most unexpected moments, and I beat myself up for not being more involved in his life over the last few years.
Then on the work front, 2022 was littered with staff issues that became toxic and required hard conversations, followed by some financial struggles that are common for small business at the 8-10 year mark, but they were still huge stressors. All with the backdrop of grief from my brother’s passing …this verse from 1 Peter 5 came to me many times over 2022.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Do you see that? It’s the God of all grace who will strengthen us!
I came into 2023 with the word STRENGTHEN and when I reflected back to my hard times through 2022 my strength came from having those walking alongside me encourage me and hold my arms up – they were Jesus with skin on … that’s the beauty of community as well as having those few safe and trusted friends.
But did you really get that? The God of ALL GRACE is the one who will strengthen us! It’s not by our might or power, but by His Spirit! It’s not anything we can manipulate or orchestrate … only He can do that work … through His Spirit, through His Word, through others as He directs.
But it’s AFTER we have suffered for a little while that the God of All Grace strengthens us.
I seem to always feel like “enough already!” I’ve suffered enough, haven’t I? This “little while” doesn’t seem very brief. And then I remember in God’s economy, a day is like a thousand … so I simmer down and trust that He knows what He is doing as He refines and sanctifies me through the suffering.
So has your “little while” stretched out into what seems more like a LONG while before He restores, confirms, strengthens, and establishes you? I’d love to hear what that looked like!
Thanks for spending some time with me today!
Welcome, I'm Athena!
I start each day by tithing the first hour to the Lord in prayer, reading the word, doing word studies of the Text, and asking God how I can live out what I am reading. This time is usually met with meditation on devotionals that are usually written by dead guys like Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, AW Tozer, and Andrew Murray.
Right now, I’m reading a daily devotional with a friend called Tozer on the Almighty God for my focus for the day. It's fun to see individually what pulls us in to spur one another on to good deeds!
The Bible is filled with action steps to walk out in practical and intentional ways. This sets my day in motion to walk it out! I hope this is your heart, too.
Consider this a personal invitation to join me in this journey!