What was your worst day with God? Ah, I’ve got your attention, don’t I? Most likely because no one’s ever asked you this question. It’s a topic that forces you to think.
Should I go first?
I’ll never forget my worst day with God. Actually, there were several. I’m sure you can say the same.
My five-year old daughter woke up healthy one morning. By day’s end, she was semi-comatose. I carried her in my arms into the hospital as she lost control of her bowels. One look at the color of her skin and fingernails and I knew I was losing her. A mother knows.
Where is God when something like this happens to an innocent child?
He was there. In that hospital room. Bolstering my husband and me. Sending believers to comfort my daughter who was in agony, to encourage her parents to not give up hope. Sending the best infectious disease specialist that Pittsburgh had to offer – a doctor who became an unrelenting private investigator seeking the cause of my daughter’s journey to death.
God was there when the doctor discovered the name of the deadly disease. He was there when the doctor understood how to treat it. And He was there when we brought her home. Pink-fleshed, smiling, but weak.
Where was God the day my husband lost his job – our sole income? Where was He when we sold our house and still had no job or another place to live? Where was He the week our cash ran out?
Without question, God was there that shocking day, only 12 days before Christmas, when my husband’s company let people go. He sent our minister to pray with us and to advise us to seek God’s wisdom daily. He sent other believers to pray with us and for us. He sent believers who helped us financially. He sent offers of residence from numerous people when our home became someone else’s. He provided an inheritance when we faced fiscal despair – an inheritance for which we had waited 18 very long years.
Those were my worst days with God.
Joyce Meyer, the Christian evangelist, says that she would rather have a worst day with God than a best day without Him. Now that’s a statement. One with which I wholeheartedly agree.
Why? The answer is so simple. Because on my worst days – and they have been wretched – I was not alone.
We live by what we believe, not by what we can see. 2 Corinthians 5:7
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012Read More
Ever experience a terrible boss? One who made you miserable? One who held your raises and promotions captive while crossing every t and dotting every i so his own would come through?
Do you still wonder how you could have handled him or her differently? Perhaps you’re currently in this situation and you don’t know what to do. Well, then, let me tell you about my friend Chris.
For 8 very long years, my friend Chris worked for a terrible boss. An industrious, diligent worker, Chris completed assignments on time, if not ahead of schedule. If a project required extra work and longer hours, Chris was your go-to person. Every good boss wants a teamful of people like Chris.
Chris’ boss – let’s call him Steve (not his real name, of course) – had a rock solid reputation within the company of being an arrogant, pompous, controlling bully. And on those occasions when it was glaringly obvious that he had erred, no apology ever slipped past his lips. The way Steve saw it, everyone who worked for him wore a bull’s eye and he was the arrow.
Steve was notorious for giving his subordinates bad annual performance evaluations - if he even submitted them at all. And because performance evaluations determined an employee’s yearly merit raise, his own people were forced to work hard with little to no hope of receiving this important pay increase. Steve let it be known to his department that he felt performance reviews were a waste of time. His time, to be exact.
Before Steve became the department head, Chris had always received excellent performance evaluations which had resulted in significant annual merit raises. However, during the 8 years that Steve was in control of her department, Chris received infrequent evaluations. Those she did receive contained poor reviews of her work. Reviews that Chris knew were inaccurate.
The end of the fiscal year was approaching. This was when the annual performance reviews were to be submitted to the personnel department by all department heads. Chris received an email from Steve. He wrote that Chris’ annual performance evaluation was attached and if she agreed with it, she should sign and return it to Steve.
Steve’s email went on to say that if Chris did not agree with the evaluation, she needed to make an appointment with him.
Chris leerily opened the attachment. On the very first category, Steve had given her the lowest score a person could receive. Chris didn’t read any further. Tears streaming down her cheeks, she printed the evaluation and put it in her purse.
Chris didn’t look at the evaluation again until she got home from work. After reading through it, she was certain that there had to have been a mistake. The lowest score for every category had been circled. This couldn’t possibly have been her performance evaluation. She knew she had given outstanding effort.
Anger took over Chris. She began rehearsing what she would say to Steve. The rest of the evening was wasted as Chris, consumed by anger, prepared her speech.
Steve wasn’t in the office the following day, so Chris was unable to speak with him. However, she scheduled an appointment with Steve for the following morning. That evening she attended a Bible study, and, while there, she had a revelation that she was handling Steve’s evaluation of her the wrong way. It became clear to her that she was preparing to fight a battle that she wasn’t equipped to handle.
Chris realized that when she had rehearsed what she planned to say to Steve, she was actually trying to take control of the situation. Chris repented of her anger and laid it at God’s feet. Then she asked God to help her.
The morning of the scheduled evaluation with Steve, Chris and her husband prayed that God would give her guidance and the right words. Although her evaluation was scheduled for 8:30, Steve didn’t materialize for two more hours. This was another way he demonstrated his power and control to his subordinates.
When he finally arrived and told Chris to come into his office, she prayed, “Okay, Lord, let’s go.” You see, Chris had come to realize that she didn’t have to fight this battle alone. As she walked into Steve’s office, Chris felt the calmness of the Holy Spirit come over her.
Chris told Steve that she had read her performance evaluation and that her first impression was that it had to be a mistake. She then talked about what she’d done over the previous year, including taking on additional duties.
When she finished, Steve said that she had raised some good points. This was a highly unusal comment for Steve to make. He then picked up a pen and crossed out every low score and replaced it with a high score, offering no explanations for either score.
He looked at Chris and apologized – something he had never done to anyone in the department for 8 years. Even when he was blatantly wrong, Steve never apologized.
Chris immediately recognized God’s hand in the matter. She had just witnessed a powerful bully apologize, change every low score on her evalution to a high mark with no explanation for the bad review. What she witnessed, in fact, was God changing Steve’s heart right before her very eyes.
Within a very brief time after Chris’ meeting with Steve, he left the company. No explanation for his departure was issued by Steve or the company, but Chris knew who had orchestrated it. It was The One who took control when Chris admitted she had none.
“I also gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Do all that I command so that good things will happen to you.” Jeremiah 7:23.
Do you have a tendency to handle bad situations without first talking with God?
When you charge ahead and take control of difficulties, are the results what you hoped they would be?
When you think about it, isn’t talking with God and asking Him to take charge of our problems much easier than wasting our time with futile actions?
God is right there. Waiting for you to talk with Him. Waiting for you to ask Him to take control. Once you do, sit back, be patient and watch what HE unfolds.
Do you have a story you want told? If so, please leave me a message and I’ll be in touch.
Cynthia Howerter © 2011Read More
Do you ever wonder why you go through terrible ordeals? What is the point of suffering, you want to know? Come along with me today. I want you to meet my friend Doug Birkhimer. God used Doug’s intense suffering to bring hope into my life and the lives of others.
Doug Birkhimer is a very nice man. Someone you would enjoy having as a neighbor, a fellow worker, a friend, a relative. He is pleasant, unassuming and quick to help. He is also a man who has a strong relationship with God.
In March, 2004, Doug had become very ill and was diagnosed with mantle cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 4-a. Not only is this is an extremely aggressive cancer of the lymph nodes, spleen, marrow and blood, it is very difficult to treat. Needless to say, the survival rate was bleak.
Doug received a stem cell transplant and then underwent chemotherapy which left his immune system virtually depleted. These treatments, the best that medical science had at the time, left him exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and near death.
During the late spring, Doug went regularly for chemo treatments. By the time he arrived home, he was so fatigued that he laid on a chaise lounge in his backyard for part of the afternoon. The beauty of the outdoors comforted him.
Doug wondered if he was going to survive. Weak and ill, he sure didn’t feel like he was going to beat the odds. Doug was a man in desperate need of hope, so he asked the Lord to give him a sign that he would survive the brutal cancer.
Doug no more than asked the Lord for a sign when his attention turned to some mourning doves eating seed on the ground underneath the bird feeder. Suddenly one of the doves began walking straight toward Doug. It jumped on Doug’s foot, then onto his knee and finally flew onto the top of his head where it sat quietly for awhile.
Throughout the summer when Doug returned home from chemotherapy treatments, he sat in his backyard to rest. Once Doug was seated, it wasn’t long before the dove flew into the yard and sat either on the back of Doug’s chaise lounge or on his abdomen where it gently spread its wings. The area around Doug’s abdomen had contained a tumor before the stem cell and chemo treatments. The dove never missed coming to see Doug after he had a chemo treatment.
One day, a neighbor invited Doug to lunch after a chemo treatment. She told him that she thought they should eat on the deck because it was such a nice day. Toward the end of the lunch, the woman commented that there was a bird flying back and forth overhead, almost as though it was looking for something. ”Or for someone,” Doug told her.
Sure enough, the bird, a mourning dove, began circling and landed on Doug, gently spreading its wings over Doug’s abdomen. Doug told the shocked woman about the dove’s regular visits and how he believed this was the sign that he had asked God to send. A sign that Doug would live.
One day, it rained and Doug stayed inside after arriving home from his chemo appointment. Doug’s wife, Joyce, told him to come to the diningroom, that his dove was at the window. Doug could hardly believe his own eyes. There on the window sill sat the dove, pecking on the glass to get Doug’s attention. Joyce said, “Well, you’d better go out on the porch. I don’t think he’s going to leave until you do.” So Doug walked out to the porch and sat in a chair for his daily dove treatment.
The day after a pet-scan revealed that the cancer cells were gone, Doug went to his backyard and sat. He waited all afternoon, but no dove circled, flew by or landed on him. It was the same the next day and the day after that. It was then that Doug knew for certain. He had asked God to send him a sign that he would survive the cancer and this gentle mourning dove had been God’s reply.
Doug has now been cancer-free for seven wonderful years. He lives a full life and joyfully tells others how God answered his prayer with a dove. As Doug tells it, “That lovely mourning dove did not bring “mourning.” She was a sign of new “morning,” an assurance of life in the face of death, a sign from God for which I prayed.”
How did Doug’s dove story affect my life? I’ll talk about that in my next posting. So, come back for the rest of the story. Until then, enjoy the wonderful day that God has made for you.
“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in Truth.” Psalm 145:18.
Do you have a story that you would like told about the way God has worked in your life? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. Be sure to tell me how to contact you.
Did Doug’s dove story make an impact on you? Please drop me a line and tell me.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2011Read More