September 25, 2014 · 7:46 AM
On September 25, 2003, my life hit a dead end. My now ex-wife had left me for someone else, my house was about to be foreclosed on, I was facing bankruptcy, and I lost my business because of some bad decisions. Everywhere I looked I saw a dead end. There was no way out. My world was closing in fast and I didn’t know what to do. As I thought about the only option I felt I had, God reminded me what He had spoken to me only months earlier. He said, “What seems like an end is only a beginning.”
I was definitely at the end. I felt I had no reason to live. There was too much pain. Too much failure. Too much disappointment. As I laid there on the floor contemplating everything, I prayed, “Lord, I give up. I can’t do this anymore.” He spoke back, “Finally.” I had to come to the end of myself before I realized I truly needed Him. I had to come face to face with my own insufficiencies before I could see His sufficiency. I had to feel my weakness in its full effect before I could experience His perfect strength.
In II Kings 3, Joram had just begin to reign as king of Israel. King Mesha of Moab decided to quit paying tribute to him as he had paid it to his father. Joram became upset and decided to go to war with Mesha. On the way he sent word to two other kings and asked if they would join him. All three kings and their armies decided to take a round about way of getting to Moab to attack. The route went through a desert. After seven days, the armies were thirsty and were facing death before they even got to the battle. They were at a dead end.
When they realized there was no way out, they decided to seek God’s help. Their men were going to die unless God intervened. They sent someone to get the prophet Elisha. He showed up and told them to dig trenches. He said, “You won’t hear the wind, you won’t see the rain, but this valley is going to fill up with water and your army and your animals will drink their fill. This is easy for God to do.” The men in the army were dog tired from walking through the desert. They were dehydrated and without hope, yet God asked them to pick up a shovel.
They dug all night until they couldn’t dig anymore. The next morning, a flash flood filled the valley with water. As it passed through, it filled the trenches with water and the army regained their strength. They went on to face the army of Moab and defeated them. God had done exactly what He said He would do even though they thought there was no way He could. He made a river in the desert.
What seemed like an end for them ended up being a new beginning. When they felt like giving up, they worked hard and then God came through. He is faithful to meet our needs in our times of trouble. Your dead ends are really just an opportunity for God to come through. It’s His way of showing us that He can get us out of the mess we got ourselves into. What seems hard or impossible to us is easy for God. He may ask us to dig trenches in the night when we have no strength and it doesn’t make sense. When we do, we will be ready for the fulfillment of His promise.
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Tagged as dead end, Devotion, dig trenches, god sent a flash flood, help me, i need hope, israelites dug trenches, my life is over, no where to turn, suicide, the bottom, what do i do
January 13, 2014 · 7:49 AM
I have a friend who recently mentioned that they were struggling with all the outside forces in their life. All of their external circumstances seemed bent on crushing them. They didn’t want to give up or go back to a past that’s gone, but didn’t really know how to move forward either. They were stuck in this limbo of life with no good alternatives. It’s a scary place to be when today’s problems are so consuming that you can’t see a future for yourself. It’s hard to know where to go or what to do when you don’t know which way is forward. I can only share some of the things that helped me.
The first advice I give is to fill yourself with God’s Word. When the outside forces are greater than what’s in you, you’ve got to put something more powerful in you. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. The way to get more of God in your life is to spend time in His word. You have to make it a priority to read it. Mark Batterson says, “Reading is how you get through the Bible. Meditating is the way to get the Bible through you.” You’re not only going to have to read it, you’re going to have to think about it, chew it up and talk through it in order for it to fully strengthen you.
The second advice I give is to pray. God is not intimidated by your honesty in how you feel. In fact, I think it’s refreshing to Him when we are honest with our struggles, fears and thoughts. He gets enough surface level prayers every day. The ones where we cry out in desperation get His attention. The ones where we seek Him honestly draw Him in. The ones where we admit we can’t do it on our own cause Him to rush to our side. God knows we can’t make it through storms on our own. We weren’t created to. They’re meant to cause us to draw on His strength instead of being stubborn and trying to stand on our own. Prayer is how we communicate that need for God.
The next piece of advice I give is to surround yourself with other believers, especially those who know you and love you. Yes, some of your circumstances may be embarrassing, but trusting your family of God is what you need. Their prayers will be more passionate because they have a relationship with you. They won’t forget to lift you up in prayer. They’ll follow up with you and check on you. They’ll be that safety net you need in case you fall. They’re not there to condemn you. They’re there to help you. God placed them in your life to be a support. Let them be that for you.
If life has you in limbo or is pushing you down to see how low you can go, doing these three things will help you. If you’re life is going great and the sun is shining, these three things will help you. We never outgrow our need for God or to have His strength in our lives. We all need the inner strength that comes from a relationship with God. If we don’t need it to keep us from getting crushed, we need it so we can help someone else who is getting crushed. If you’re not in limbo right now, look for someone who is. They need your help more than you know.
What advice do you give to someone like I described?
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Tagged as bible, Christianity, daily devotions, devotions, email devotions, faith, God, help me, how do i go forwards, how do i survive this, hurt, hurting, i dont want to go backwards, Jesus, mark batterson quotes, moving forward, no where to turn, problems are killing me