God’s Faithfulness in the Hard Places

**Hello! Last summer I had the privilege of  sharing this post as a 5 minute talk in a speaker evaluation group at the She Speaks conference. Today I thought that maybe since it’s like the 432nd day of winter where I live that someone out there could use a little encouragement. I’m saying a prayer for you today. Hang in there. He’s faithful.**

A couple of years ago my husband and I took our two teenage sons to Disney World where we met up with my brother and his family from California.

Like most people, we needed to escape the crazy routine at home. Things like putting our house up for sale, laundry, chores, homework, jobs, bills, dogs, sports. As hard as I tried to put on a brave face every day, I was exhausted and didn’t know how to keep up with my own life. I was sinking.

While we were on vacation, my brother and his wife took us to a wine tasting event at Epcot during their Food and Wine Festival. I’ll be honest, I was pretty intimidated. I didn’t know anything about wine other than whether it tasted good or not.

We sampled a Spanish wine called Las Rocas which means ‘The Rocks’. Since we couldn’t go to Spain, the vineyard rep showed us pictures of where the grapes are grown. What we saw looked more like an Arizona desert than a Spanish vineyard. Then she began to describe the extreme climate…hot summers and very cold winters. She showed us close-up pictures of the soil…pictures that looked like they had been taken on Mars of vines surrounded by slate and red dirt. 

the-rocks-vineyard

I thought to myself, NOTHING SHOULD GROW IN THOSE CONDITIONS.

Based on these conditions, the wine should have tasted like some sandy concoction my boys would have made a few years ago. But it didn’t. It was actually very good.

How in the world can rocks, hot summers and cold winters produce fruit that can be made into a beautiful, rich tasting wine that people all over the world enjoy?

Psalm 89:8 says

O Lord God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

The vineyard rep explained to us that it’s the rocky, nutrient-poor soil that is the key to the grapes that grow there. She said that as the vines struggle to survive in these extreme conditions, they concentrate their energy into fewer berry clusters, to produce grapes with rich flavor.

She explained how the rocks are porous…retaining rainwater and heat so that they deliver just enough water to the vines during the hot summers, and then protect them with just enough heat from the harsh winters.

The rocks give this wine its signature flavor found nowhere else in the world.

About the time I thought my brain would shut down from a science lesson, the Holy Spirit whispered:

I know you don’t see how anything good can come from the conditions you find yourself in right now.

You see rocks everywhere.

You feel alone and exposed.

You long for deeper things than you dare to admit.

You don’t know how you’re going to make it.

But I can grow something rich and beautiful in you because of these conditions.

You need Me more than ever.

Your roots are growing deeper because the deeper soil is full of the nutrients you need to thrive.

You can’t produce anything good without Me. Trust Me to make something beautiful out of this.

His faithfulness surrounds Him.

If God can be faithful to some grapes in a Spanish desert, surely He will be faithful to you and me.

He’s not asking us to trust our track record. He’s asking us to trust His. He has a long history of being faithful to His people even though we don’t have a long history of being faithful to Him.

My circumstances haven’t changed much. My house is still for sale. I’m exhausted. My family needs way more from me than I have to give. I’m still in a hard place, but it’s in this hard place that I am learning to thrive because of a faithful God who has what I need every single day. He gives me His Word. He puts people in my life to pray for me and encourage me and then He asks me to trust Him even when I don’t feel like it because His faithfulness surrounds Him!

The One who turns water into wine is faithful. Even now He is making something rich and beautiful out of your hard places. You may not be able to see or taste it yet, but you can trust Him because His faithfulness surrounds you.

**I think it’s incredibly helpful for others to hear stories of God’s faithfulness to His people. If you would like to share something like that, please leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by!

Press Through the Mess

This morning there is a huge mess behind me. If I were to type from the other end of my kitchen table I would not be able to string words together. I’d probably need a paper bag to breathe into instead. We emptied our boys’ bedrooms so that we could paint them a color they hate in order to sell our house. The contents of their bedrooms are behind me in the living room like a knife-wielding psycho out of some horror flick.

If I think too much about how big my mess is today, I start to cry. Yes, I’ve already shed a few tears today over this mess and prayed like crazy for God to give me something more encouraging to tell you today. Instead, he wants to serve you some raw encouragement that I happen to desperately need as well. It’s a two for one special.

Today He wants us to press on.

Did you happen to watch any of the London 2012 Olympics over the past couple of weeks? We stayed up late almost every night watching young athletes from all over the globe push themselves to the limits for their shot at a gold medal. Their dedication and resolve to beat records and win was humbling. I was exhausted and I never left the couch because I’m not an athlete. In fact, I can’t imagine running without a very good reason like being chased by a T-Rex. Or chasing a toddler to save them from a busy street. I need to know someone’s life is at stake before expending that kind of energy.

I don’t know what kind of ‘mess’ you’re facing on this Monday. Maybe it’s time to get the kids ready to head back to school. Perhaps you’re like me, and need to get your head in the game as a home school parent. Maybe someone’s life truly is at stake.

Today He wants us to press on.

Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus.-Philippians 3:14 NIV

So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision–you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.-Philippians 3:15-16 The Message

Let’s press through the mess so we can finish big and claim the glorious prize to the GLORY OF HIS HOLY NAME! He’s doing something big in your mess today. Press on.

**The winner of the Jesus Calling devotional is Christina! Congratulations Christina! Private message me on Facebook with your address so I can get it in the mail to you.**

 

 

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