A Tight Spot
“In my distress I cried out to the Lord. The Lord answered me and put me in a wide open place.” (Psalm 118:5 NET)
About two months ago a loved one (I’ll call her Brenda) entered into a period of severe testing. She is a governmental worker in a very liberal state. The trouble began when her new boss showed up and found out that Brenda, who had been assigned to be her chief assistant, was a Christian. She immediately began a campaign of persecution toward her. For instance, she would pile upon her an impossible amount of work and then publicly belittle her when she didn’t accomplish it all. In short, she did everything possible to pressure Brenda into quitting her job.
Brenda informed Kathy and I about what was going on, pleading in desperation for us to pray for her. And we did: every morning we began interceding on her behalf before the throne of a very merciful King. At first, our prayers were solely that she would be allowed to transfer into a different department—a process she initiated almost immediately. We love her and wanted to see her escape this unjust treatment. But gradually, over the next two months, we found our prayers changing: “Lord, grant her the grace and inner strength to endure this trial. Accomplish all your good purposes in her life through it!”
There was no question that Brenda was in a “tight spot.” In her distress she was crying out to the Lord for relief. But God’s ways are not our ways. He answered her prayers, but did it in an unexpected way. Just this morning we received an email from her stating the following:
By the way, your prayers are amazingly bringing the presence and sovereignty of the Lord so powerfully into my heart, mind and spirit. Although the culprit is still “attacking” – I’m experiencing such peace and joy in the face of it all, that I’m just astounded and actually wrestling with the thought of whether or not I really want to pursue the transfer.
Let’s face it; trials are a major part of the Christian life. God is molding us into the image of Christ and preparing us for an eternity in heaven. It is only natural for us to cry out to God to rescue us from them, but what a tremendous testimony it is when we can truly come under those trials and endure them in the patience of God!
In Brenda’s case, the Lord didn’t take her out of it; He simply entered into that “tight spot” with her. By His very presence He made this tight spot a “wide open place;” a situation that suddenly became very bearable because He was in it with her.
And how about you? When you encounter trials, is your first thought to escape them or have you learned to submit yourself to God’s will through it and ask Him to enlarge it with His wonderful presence?