Seriously, I wondered. You know, with everything, like relationships, health, and scary phone calls in the middle of the night? Can I really trust God in difficult times?
Is it just me or do you struggle, too?
Sometimes, I think I hear God, but like I was telling you before, I don’t always want to do what He asks. Thing is, when I do, He overcomes me with
Like when I moved to Jericho . . .
Jericho is the city in the Bible where the walls fell down. If you’ve never heard the story, click here for a quick explanation. (The part about Jericho starts at the 2-minute mark.)
I didn’t want to move, but I kept thinking about another Bible story, the one about Jonah, who ended up in the belly of a whale because he ran from God.
I didn’t want to go there. So I followed God’s nudge.
- We had visitors from all over the world. They helped us give rice to the locals.
- Every time someone came, we gave a tour, starting on our roof. We’d point to the remnants of the wall that fell, Zaccheaus’ tree, the spot where the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, and the Mount of Temptation that loomed above.
- Each Friday, we’d bypass the cable car and climb that mountain. We’d hike up beyond the monastery to the top and look down at the city as we fasted and prayed.
- All week long, the locals came for food and clothes. They asked us to interpret dreams. I’d never learned how to do that at church. “I was in a cave,” one lady said. “Outside, Jesus held His hand out to me. What do you think that means?” That one seemed pretty obvious to me.
- After we prayed, we’d show the Jesus film. Many converted even though they could get killed in the city center. So when we baptized locals, we did it in private, in our bathtub, for their protection.
- But when we baptized visitors, we took them to the Elisha Spring.
In the Bible, the prophet Elijah was taken to heaven in a chariot and then Elisha became the leader. Locals told him that the water was, “so bad that it even keeps our crops from growing” (2 Kings 2:19, CEV) “and causes miscarriages” (2 Kings 2:19, GNT).
The Bible came alive. I couldn’t stop studying it. Those two things, fruit falling from the trees and women miscarrying, were part of the curse of disobedience listed in Deuteronomy 28.
So what did Elisha do?
He “threw the salt into the water and said, ‘The Lord said, “I am making this water pure! From now on this water will not cause any more death or keep the land from growing crops.”’ The water became pure and is still good today.” (2 Kings 2:21-2, Easy-to-read version).
We drank that water.
And remember the stories I was telling you about my friends getting pregnant after having had such a hard time? That’s when all that started.
So, when my friends want to be mothers but have trouble, can I trust God?
I can and so can you!
That’s when God nudged me again
At church, my pastor had joked, “Please don’t send me to Africa.”
Inside, I’d jump up and down with my hands in the air. For years I wondered, what about me-e-e?
At 26, I’d spent 6 months camping in Africa. I loved it when a wild animal I didn’t recognize ran through the camp. Mosquito nets reminded me of fancy boudoirs. And locusts, snakes, and puddles full of butterflies were all part of the adventure.
For twenty years, I’d wanted to return.
But at 44, when I got the nudge, I was no longer interested in living my version of The Lion King. I was more at a Princess and the Pea stage. On a camping trip with a friend, we used blow-up mattresses, of course, put a welcome matt out front, and took turns surprising each other with pillow treats.
So when God said, “Mozambique,” I said, “ARE YOU SURE I’M SUPPOSED TO BE A MISSIONARY?”
On a short visit, I witnessed raw sewage on the beach and thought, no wonder there’s a cholera epidemic. Banditos waited for us outside the base and I bit down on a rock in my rice and beans.
“Lord, I want to be where You want me to be, but can I go home and do something else?” I prayed.
At Iris Ministries, though, things changed
In an update, I later wrote home:
Thank you so much for all your prayer, it’s working!
The other day, with my face in the dirt, I thanked God for bringing me. I don’t know if I can describe it . . . in fact, I can’t. I wish you could visit. It’s hard and it’s uncomfortable; it’s sticky and dirty with flies, but it’s amazing. God is so good and I meet with Him in a different way in this kind of a place, in the heat with the ants. It’s all part of it.
As a Green Mambo snake slithered past me into the worship service, I learned that I really can trust God in difficult times.
In Oregon, I walk in the vision God gave me before I came
I was just telling my spiritual adventure team about the amazing things God’s done. This post is getting a little long, but if you’d like to hear that story, let me know.
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So all that to say . . . can I really trust God in difficult times?
Absolutely . . . with Mambo snakes and friends who want babies and everything in between. And so can you.
I’ve never once said, “Dang it! I wish I didn’t follow God.”
So yes, we can trust God in difficult times!
And I know I’ve shared this picture before but I keep looking at it because it reminds me of how happy I get when I follow God. Here I am washing feet.
And one day I know I’ll look back on this upcoming season and be able to write a section about what God did in that, too.
But until then, is there something I can pray for you, do you need to know you can trust God in difficult times?
Related Post: I Found Out I Can Trust God in a Difficult Time!