A few years back I was on a work trip to Ohio. My life was unraveling around me, and I had reached the end of myself. My current job was falling apart, and a new job that was all but secured evaporated at the last minute. The situation this left me in was humiliating, and I was being crushed by it.
The hardest truth is when you know God can do anything, but He chooses not to. “Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1 NKJV).
With my job search, I had leaned on God with every step over many months and saw His hand in every circumstance. So, when it fell apart, I knew it was Him who was crushing me. I didn’t know why He was doing this to me. I sat for hours in my hotel room just sitting on the floor in prayer.
God has to crush your life out of you to put His life into you. “…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19 NKJV).
The next morning, I awoke and started my day like as I always do. I prayed, read a devotion, and wrote in my journal. Then I waited on the Holy Spirit to give me a word to write for the day. But I heard nothing. I felt like I was abandoned by God. It was as if He had left the room.
The Lord prunes more so that you can be more. Jesus taught, “…every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2 NKJV).
I waited and waited on God, and all I heard was silence. I had made a ministry out of posting these words for many years. I was busy writing blogs and preparing to write books from these words. It felt like it was over. Finally, I had to leave for the airport. I sat down and prayed one more time.
God did not remove the obstacle of the Red Sea, rather He gave them a way through it. “Are You not the One who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; that made the depths of the sea a road for the redeemed to cross over?” (Isaiah 51:10 NKJV).
I remember telling God that I could not fake it. That if the flowing from the Holy Spirit was stopped, then I would stop writing. I would rather end my ministry in truth than to continue it with a lie. All I want to do is serve God in truth, but I can only do so if I’m keeping it real.
We know what we want, but He knows what we need. “…your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8 NKJV).
The first flight that day was from Cleveland to Chicago. I was resigned that perhaps God was ending my ministry. We serve at His pleasure and not our own. I had a deep sense of being right because I was committed to keeping it real even if it meant my ministry would be over.
Whatever your problem, just give it to the Lord, and you can be sure it is in good hands. “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13 NKJV).
When I got to Chicago, I was sitting on the ground waiting for the next flight. I was not mad at God, but I wondered what He was doing. As I sat there, I got a word from the Holy Spirit and posted it soon after. I heard, “When you wrestle with God, He will always win.”
Forever always trumps the day. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NKJV).
I boarded my flight to go back home. Usually on these longer flights I would write a blog, read my Bible and listen to worship music. But I was not in the right spirit to do anything. Finally, I picked up a book I had been reading called Humility, written by Andrew Murray. I opened to read the next chapter. It was chapter ten, “Humility and Death to Self.”
The more humble you are, the more He can exalt you. “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12 NKJV).
As I read the words from this chapter, I knew that God had arranged this moment. Every word in this chapter cut through me. The words brought the revelation of all the divine value in having humiliation crush you like a grape and prepare you to be like a fine wine.
A crushed grape becomes a fine wine. “…And you drank wine, the blood of the grapes” (Deuteronomy 32:14 NKJV).
I am confident that God was testing me that day on whether I would keep it real with my ministry. I am sure that God was forming me that day such that in my humility, He would be able to use me. I have learned that those things that crush our flesh are the very things that strengthen our spirit.
When God crushes you, and still you trust Him, then you are walking on Kingdom ground. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…” (Job 13:15 NKJV).
In whatever you are going through, in however you feel crushed by your circumstances, know that God loves you and has a plan for you. There is nothing He does not know, and there nothing He cannot do to help you in everything you’re going through. Trust Him. Keep the faith. Keep it real.
Blessings to you,
I was so blessed in Ohio the week this happened, as my Pastor in Ohio, Richard McCloud, poured out godly wisdom to me in his message the night before all this happened. God places people in our lives for a reason. Sometimes to test us, but like Pastor McCloud, sometimes to bless us. Don’t do life alone because God helps us through those souls He places around us. Pastor McCloud was one of the few blessed souls who endorsed my book that I published a year after all this took place.
All the quotes and verses in this blog came in the days immediately following this event in Ohio. God uses circumstances to crack us open so the Holy Spirit can fill us up. Good things come out of our trials if we would only look for them. I am most certain that God was setting a foundation in my life from which I could better serve Him. I pray that you would consider reading this book by Andrew Murray, Humility. Learn to let humility change you into all that God has ordained for you to become.