My wife has had a chronic illness for a long time and over the years the disabling effect has slowly become more progressive. On top of this I was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E.). All this changed the direction of our lives. In our stumbling and reaching out to God in the difficulties, there were benefits. We came to know more of a marvellous God and experience His provision, enabling, healing and love in remarkable ways. We began to discover who we really were and in the long term this also brought my wife and I closer together. I’m sure this wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
In recent years I experienced two prolonged periods, where I was stretched far beyond what I felt I could cope with physically, emotionally and mentally. Looking back I can see similarities.
Each time I was tipped outside the boundaries of my comfy little world, into a situation that was totally foreign to me. I was frightened and initially I wanted to escape. However, within me there was a determination to see it through, whatever that meant. I desperately needed His understanding and clung to Jesus as never before.
As the months passed, the emotional and mental pounding was relentless, making me wonder just how much more I could take. Alongside this, even though God seemed distant, He occasionally encouraged me in breath-taking ways. And just when I was sort of getting used to it, God moved in and the desolation lifted as suddenly as it came, with a feeling of tremendous relief and thankfulness.
Afterwards, I saw things from a different perspective. Life still wasn’t a bed of roses, but something had happened within me. I had tapped into resources way beyond myself and also had a realisation, that with Him, we can cope with far more than we realise.
I believe that God longs to raise the level of the game and draw us out of our independent do-it-yourself attitudes, into a total dependence upon Him. This is the Abundant Life.
This is what Oswald Chambers says:
“A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says - ‘I cannot stand any more. God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands. For what have you need of patience just now? Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. - - - The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we take this view, life becomes one great romance, a glorious opportunity for seeing marvellous things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.” Our Utmost for His Highest.
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.” 1Corinthians 10:13 The Message Bible