Enjoy this devotional written by a FlourishWriter’s Student…
As I round the last corner in my subdivision, it comes into view. The dusty white mail truck, with its faded red and blue stripes, has paused its rhythmic stop-and-go hugging of the mailboxes and has turned into my driveway to idle there.
Hundreds of mail trucks will crisscross the city this morning with letters, cards, and packages; but the truck that idles in my driveway might as well be filled with explosives.
My heart sinks as I pull into the driveway. I clench my jaw to force back the tears. If only I had come home just a few minutes later, my daughter would not have this scene burned into her brain. She thinks the mailman has come to deliver some sort of fun surprise for us, but I know exactly what he has. It’s not something fun, and it’s definitely not a surprise. I step out of the car and into the crisp November air that bites against the warm sunshine. A hard winter is coming.
The mailman hops out of his truck and shoves a large brown envelope into my hands. I hear his impatient command, “Sign here.” In slow motion, I reach for his grimy black pen; and with one stroke, I detonate the time bomb that has ticked away in my marriage for over twenty years. My firm signature belies my inner terror as I officially acknowledge that I have been served.
The mail truck rattles in reverse then resumes its monotonous mailbox rhythm. I stand in the driveway paralyzed with panic.
My body hangs desperately between the need to breathe and the urge to vomit. I am 44-years old. I have two children. I left the workforce 17 years ago. I’m not going to survive this.
I wonder if you find yourself in a similar place. A place where you desperately need the world to grind to a halt, but instead it slams into high gear and starts spinning out of control. The blueprint you had created for your life just went up in flames, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
We’re not the first to watch helplessly as circumstances seem to swallow us whole. From shipwrecks and stoning to imprisonment, slander, and riots, Paul watched his world turn upside down, too.
“…We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts, we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him, we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us….”
2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (NIV)
Who said God never gives us more than we can handle? Not Paul, that’s for sure. He clearly declares that his circumstances far outweigh his ability to endure. He cannot handle what life has dumped on him. He despairs even of life. Paul has more than his share of near-death experiences, and he doesn’t think he will survive this one.
C.S. Lewis perfectly describes our human nature during times of crisis: “we will not turn to Him [God] as long as He leaves us anything else to turn to.” (Letters to an American Lady, p. 47; Eerdmans, 1967) Like Paul, Lewis recognizes that impossible situations slam into our lives for a reason: that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God.
We spin our wheels trying every imaginable option to fix our unimaginable circumstances. Inevitably, we find ourselves exhausted, hopeless and terrified as our circumstances remain unchanged. I have nothing left, and neither do you.
So, what do we do now?
Let’s start by taking this God that we profess and believing that He exists. That He’s alive and powerful. (Hebrews 4:12-13) That He remains faithful to every single promise He has made. (1 Corinthians 1:9) That He’s preparing a place for us. (John 14:2-3) That someday, He will make all things new. (Revelation 21:5) That until then, He delivers us when all seems lost. (2 Corinthians 1:10)
Like Paul, we feel we’re not going to survive because we see only the hopelessness of the situation. We forget that we have a God who raises the dead — not just dead people but dead circumstances, dead hopes, dead feelings, dead ends. When God does not deliver us from our circumstances, He will deliver us through them. After all, Paul survived, and he described his deliverance as an all-out resurrection experience.
In the middle of our chaos, let’s cling to even the smallest evidence of God’s presence, and let’s write it down. The events surrounding my divorce created what I can only describe as a 24/7 trip through Bizarro World. In the midst of my turmoil, a wise friend suggested I start a praise journal. I rolled my eyes at the idea, but I took her advice anyway. I’ll admit, not every journal entry rang poetic with praise. But now, those journal entries showcase God’s remarkable provision during times of incredible upheaval. They remind me that God delivers just as He promised, and He is ALWAYS right on time. God has delivered you, too. Write it down.
With each step through the chaos, let’s dig down deep inside ourselves for that last glimmer of hope we think has died. Let’s set that hope on the one true God who promised to continue to deliver us. Maybe you’re strapping yourself in as your own trip through Bizarro World begins. Maybe you’d love to stop spinning, but your trip is not over yet. You’re going to need a rescuer tomorrow, too. If you’re like me, you’re going to need deliverance next week and next month and next year. You can set your hope on Him that He will continue to deliver you.
Deliverance is ours. From or through. Because He promised. And He’s able.
Dena Roberts is the woman in the lane next to you, white-knuckling her way around the hairpin curves of life. She’s learning to let go of her inner control freak and trust in the amazing provision of the Almighty. In the meantime, she speaks and writes with energy and passion to encourage others who find themselves on the unexpected detours of life. Dena lives in Michigan, where she loves hiking, kayaking, and exploring Lake Michigan beaches with her two college-aged kids. Dena also loves anything authentic. That includes people. And chocolate.