In 2009-10, for six months, on a daily basis, I was shrouded in a cloud of despair, praying for the strength just to get in the shower. Then, one day, the strength appeared, the cloud drifted away and I could breath, again. Then, I got a call from Mommie saying the doctor would be admitting her to the hospital–she was crying; I rushed to be by her side. The next two weeks would be our last two weeks. Then, one morning early into the workday, I was called into my managing supervisor’s office and given notice that I was no longer a good fit for the organization. In less than 30-minutes my personal effects were collected in a box and I was officially a candidate for unemployment compensation. Then, while trying to figure out what to do next—visiting family and friends, as 2010 turned into 2011, I was rear-ended. Somewhere between New Jersey and Delaware my car was totaled. The losses were piling up.
In the midst of a year of what felt like floating in space, and considering all the possible places I could land, I chose to move back to Milwaukee. Then, I received an invitation from a colleague to fill a temporary need, which led to me serving as lead instructor for a GED test-prep program. It was the fulfillment of my heart’s desire to teach adult learners. Then, the good of the program was undermined; we ultimately lost funding. Back to the ranks of the unemployed. Then, I accepted a temporary assignment a few towns away only to have my car’s transmission die within 10-minutes of my destination; it was an abrupt end to the first day on the new job. Then, three assignments later I am offered a full-time opportunity only to receive notice three months in that “it’s just not working.” At this point, I have the unemployment office on speed-dial. Then, another temp assignment turns into full-time (I mean part-time; I mean full-time) employment. One year comes to an end; another begins. Finally, I think, stability has found my address and expectation for a bright future is the order of the day. Then,…
The past five years of life for me—to borrow a verse—ain’t been no crystal stair. Oh, perhaps nothing in comparison to what some have had to suffer through, but still more than I thought I had the strength to endure. For sure, just as the scriptures do not contain every detail, the previous paragraphs do not tell the whole story (you probably wanted the condensed version, anyway). With the dashing of some hopes, instead of giving up (which I wanted to do more than fingers or toes could count) I resolved to stand firm in my faith that God’s word was my hope and I would see an end to the roller-coaster experience. I was determined that I would know what it was to dwell in the land of calm, stability and more-than-enough. Just when I thought I’d arrived, the unexpected happened and my faith would be tested on a brand new level. I did my best to keep a calm disposition, but on the inside I was screaming up to Heaven: ENOUGH! I can’t take any more; please, God, deliver me!
Then,… a conversation was brought to my remembrance. It was between myself and a dear cousin/sister-in-Christ. She was clarifying my understanding of 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Like many, I was misquoting this as God won’t put more on me than I can bear. In fact, you could count on me having “More than I can bear (Kirk Franklin & Nu Nation)” in heavy rotation as a way of encouraging myself through difficult times. Now, however, when I hear the song I listen with the understanding that no matter how appealing the temptation to give up, give out or give in, God has promised to make a way of escape for me and I won’t be overcome by the burden of the circumstance. Two passages which support this are found in Luke 22:31-32 and 2 Corinthians 12:8-10.
The enemy wants to separate us from our faith in God’s ability to control the circumstances of our lives. However, it is the will of God, as spoken by our Savior Jesus Christ, that we stand firm in faith and help our fellow Christians do the same. Our ability to withstand will be the encouragement our family, friends, associates and neighbors will need to overcome their trying times (Revelation 12:11). So, it is not about being able to bear the burden, but to bear up under the temptation to “do life” without faith. That is satan’s (he doesn’t deserve to be capitalized) role; ours is to stay in faith. Therefore, when we cry out to be delivered from this, that or the other often God’s answer is not to take us out, nor to remove the thorn, but to give us what we need to withstand in spite of.
I am yet holdin’ on (in my Mother-of-the-Church voice). I have a new mantra. When I want to scream, holler and throw up both my hands, I will instead dig my heels and my heart deeper into the word of God, because His grace is sufficient—that is to say, more than enough to keep me in the midst of going through! This (whatever “this” may be), too, shall pass. When I am tempted to wallow in confusion, I will escape into prayer for peace. I will resist the temptation to exchange my faith for the enemy’s fear. Instead, I will escape into the confidence of knowing God has a plan for me that equals victory for me, every time. I will encourage myself by reminding myself there is always a way of escape prepared by God. If you ain’t scared, declare with me:
When I’ve had enough, THEN…His grace becomes more than enough!
—WordsInPrint by Suni