What happens when the bottom drops out? What happens when life isn’t the picture-perfect existence you always dreamed of, like if you are unable to have children, or you do have children and they are diagnosed with a health defect? Or, maybe your spouse walks out on you? What about a cancer or early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnoses? What if at 18 years of age you marry a man who is hurt on the job and lives the rest of his life in a wheel chair?
A courageous woman shared with me how this happened to her husband before she even told her parents she was married. For well over 25 years, another kind-hearted couple in their 60’s heroically battles against the husband’s Parkinson’s disease. And in recent years the wife has undergone cancer treatments and continues to see her doctor regularly while praying the medication keeps on working in her favor. Stories filled with trauma no one ever wants to experience have been shared with me.
What does your story look like and does it have a purpose? As a believer, our story is what sets us apart. We have the wonderful privilege of reflecting the gospel message and the redeeming work of our Savior through very hard life experiences. Just as the horrible crucifixion and death of our Lord was necessary to bring about new life as well as eternal life, our life stories are crucial in presenting to a lost world the redeeming factor of what our Savior King can do with a crushed life or a dangling life that needs saving, restoring, and made new! How are you living it for the glory of God? What do you offer when someone needs wise counsel?
“Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, To make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer him who sent you?” (Proverbs 22:20-21, NASB).
Actively study the words of Truth, not only for yourself but also for the one whom you walk alongside. There’s plenty of instruction right here in the book of Proverbs for shaping and directing a life to hit the target.
Working through the Book of Proverbs was put on the back-burner when added responsibilities surfaced this summer. But I’m raring to get back highlighting these virtuous directives that govern our walk with the Lord and help us know how to aid someone else.
Want to be prepared for those life-altering turn of events? Be sure to read Proverbs 22. And then make yourself available for a friend who needs wise counsel and journey together. This life is hard. Our stories are hard. But each have a reason and a purpose if we are to see God glorified through the intense circumstances of life. I’m so thankful the Lord has allowed me to walk alongside several women who demonstrate joy in the journey even though they have experienced suffering and heartache. Micah’s words ring true, “Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me” (7:8b, NASB). And again, Micah positions what our response should be: “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me” (7:7).
“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, And apply your mind to my knowledge; For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, That they may be ready on your lips, so that your trust may be in the Lord, I have taught you today, even you” (Proverbs 22:17-19). Paul’s letter to the Corinthians reinforces where our trust should lie, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
These are testing grounds preparing us for our future service in the Kingdom and our eternal home in heaven. Will our “good name” be evident to all (Proverbs 22:1)?
Speaking of “good names,” remember the woman who married the man that suffered a paralyzing accident before she even told her parents she was married? Yeah, she courageously faced the insolent behavior of her parents and honored her wedding vows. They’ve been married for almost 50 years now!