To say the past couple of days have been difficult would be a gross understatement. Between the shock of the shootings in CT and the intense difficulties that have arisen in the lives of my closest friends in this life; I can honestly say my heart has been extremely burdened. The only two ways I have managed to function is to pray and give.
When the pressures of this life become so strong they are ready to engulf and overwhelm us, that is when we must cast off the tendency to panic or collapse and instead rise up in prayer and do what appears the craziest thing to do which is to give. Prayer and giving allow us to endure affliction, patiently bear pressure and withstand the crushing oppression the enemy employs to steal, kill and destroy.
Unless we pray and give, pressure will cause us to retreat into a corner and curl up in a ball and give up. Since that is never Godâ€™s will, there must be something we can do to find relief and step out of the oppression into the joy of the Lord.
Jobâ€™s affliction was turned when he ceased dwelling on his plight and instead prayed for his friends (who were behaving like his enemies). As Job crawled out of his hole and gave his heart to God in service to others through prayer, he finally received the deliverance that had for so long escaped him.
Amazing and incredible things happen to us when we cease letting situations beat us down but rather use those situations as a means to become stronger and give more abundantly. Paul commended the church of Macedonia for their great giving during times of trials and afflictions. Please look at what Paul says about these believers in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5:
â€œMoreover, brethren, we want you to know of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of MacedoniaÂ :
1. How in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberalityÂ .
2. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing to give of themselvesÂ ,
3. Praying us with earnest entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of ministering to the saintsÂ .
4. Â And this they did, not as we had hoped, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and unto us by the will of God.Â â€
Despite deep poverty and great trials of affliction, these beautiful believers richly gave of themselves and their resources. These believers provide for us the greatest example of what God wants us to do during times of distress and need. Contrary to what the five senses (and most people) tell us, when the pressure is on, instead of curling up and giving up, GIVE through prayer and sharing of our lives, talents and means. Through this giving, we will find the escape God promises in every situation.