by Sheri Schofield
Most people face times of testing at various points in their lives. Some panic when tested. Some face tests with stoic perseverance. Others with peace and patience. I think I’ve gone through all these responses recently.
In late July, my husband Tim told me it was time for him to retire. I’d been expecting this to happen in two or three years, not now. A move away from my beloved mountains of Montana to Wyoming was difficult to face. But not as hard as the time frame. Tim wanted us to be moved by September 20…after seventeen years in this house. I shook my head and thought, “It’s not going to happen that fast.”
We’re now into October, with a November 1 moving goal set in stone. We bought the Wyoming house in August. At the same time, Tim wanted to do a remodel of our current home. Floors, carpets, and countertops have been replaced. While we packed! We’re now racing against our first snow of the season to get our decks painted in time.
But every single project had problems along the way. For instance, the laminate floors were laid crooked by an inexperienced worker. They sounded like Rice Crispies – snap, crackle and pop – when I walked across them. The company owner had to re-install them. Every part of this remodel has had to be fixed or re-done. Plus, I developed sciatica for the first time in my life and am in pain.
In the beginning of this move, I had to battle panic. I didn’t want to leave Montana. The work ahead overwhelmed me. But as I prayed frantically, I settled into stoic endurance. Keeping my eyes on Jesus, I gradually felt his peace descend on my heart, despite all the problems.
I now understand God has a reason in all this. There have been workers in our house whom I’ve gotten to know. They have opened up about their spiritual conditions, their struggles and their joys. I’ve shared my faith with them, and they have peppered me with questions about God. I know this was all planned by my heavenly Father. So why should I worry? Why should I fret? God has this all under control.
Jesus spoke of our tendency to worry instead of trusting him. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26 NIV).
Over the years I’ve learned—from my heart—that we do not exist in a vacuum. We are surrounded by others who struggle and try to make sense of their lives, too. We are like popcorn: one kernel heats up and bursts out on top of the other kernels, then another and another. People live in varying degrees of pain and panic, with occasional sparks of joy. God has placed us among others to provide comfort and light to those around us, to gently point them to Jesus as we experience life together.
This is how God builds his kingdom. We can’t rush these things! God planned this move and its stresses from eternity, for the good of others as well as for us. I find that I’m starting to enjoy it!
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV).
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Sheri Schofield, award-winning author and Bible teacher, has added a new way to share faith in Jesus: Her latest book, Before You Find Me, is a contemporary romantic suspense featuring a strong Christian who faces a crisis that tests her courage. Tara, a freshman at West Texas A&M whose parents are dead, learns that her younger sister witnessed a murder. To protect her siblings, she must spirit them out of Texas before the murderer learns there was a witness to his act. Tara has one day in which to act. Can she do it? She remembers a family ranch in Montana…and Ben, the boy next-door, who captured her heart once. Will he still be there? Will he help her protect her family now? This book entertains while it presents godly responses to danger and struggles. Sometimes fiction can draw people closer to God when they will not be drawn by nonfiction. Before You Find Me is available at http://www.sherischofield.com.