The Great Reversal

The Great ReversalReading from Eugene Peterson’s Message version of Matthew, the words, “The Great Reversal” leaped off the page and lodged in my heart.

For reasons I cannot explain, I had an attack of Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis that endured all last week. Extreme muscle weakness and random paralysis enwrapped my body. I was thankful for the snow days because my teens were home to help me. Too weak to hold a coffee mug, the kids held the mug for me while I sipped hazelnut liquid mercy.

The Great Reversal. Those words tumbled around in my mind like laundry in the dryer.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Proverbs 19:21). Sometimes God will allow a great reversal in our life circumstances, to cause us to stop, to rely on Him, and to allow God’s purpose to prevail.

Since the discovery and diagnosis of my illness, my life and the life of my family has taken on a great reversal. Though we have settled into a new normal, I still grapple with this new assignment in life. I struggle with my identity and my purpose—areas of my life that I never questioned before because life was going according to my plan.

In my personal great reversal, I have changed roles from an active, healthy, able-bodied wife, mother, and pharmacist to a passive, chronically ill wife and mother humbled by my limitations and lack of income. I feel like a butterfly stuffed back into a cocoon.

“The flip side of fear is faith.” —Pastor Steven Furtick Click To Tweet

 

On the flip side of my personal great reversal, I’ve had a front row seat to God’s faithfulness, compassion, and provision. If this statement is too vague, let me supply a few details. When the $1000 bill for my genetic testing arrived, I specifically prayed for God’s provision. I was no longer working and finances were tight. A few hours later, a woman from my Bible study called and asked The Great Reversalto stop by for coffee. We had a delightful visit, just the two of us. Upon her departure, she prayed for me and told me she felt led to do something for me. There on my crayon-marred kitchen table, she penned a check for $1000! Tears erupted from the corners of my eyes. Once I regained composure, I shared with her my earlier prayer and we cried and praised God together.

 

When the time came for us to sell our lakefront home and move me to a one-level home, God took care of us on every side. We accepted an above asking price offer within twelve days of the listing and we closed within the month hassle free.

“In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)

Perhaps my greatest personal reversal is my daily surrender to God.  I have switched from relying on self to relying on God. I can no longer function without God’s daily strength (and a several cups of coffee). I know I cannot take care of my needs, but I rely daily on the One who does.

Friend, I invite you to ask: 

Have I experienced a recent reversal or set back in my life?

Could this set back could be a set up for God’s greater purpose in my life?

What would happen if I chose to reverse my perspective and ask God to see this new circumstance through His eyes?

What area of God’s character do you think He is trying to reveal to me?

~April 

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Seek Shelter Immediately

Photo courtesy of Luis Edwardo Bastias

 Excruciating pain pierced through my head. At 3:00 a.m., I tiptoed to the kitchen to swallow a few ibuprofens.  I returned to bed praying this headache will not debilitate me; I have too many things to do today.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
(Psalm 91:1, NLT)


Four hours later, I rest on the porch swing, waiting for the impending storm. Thunder erupts, shaking the house.  “Good morning Lord.” I reply. 
“The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the God of glory thunders,
 the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.” (Psalm 29:3, NIV)
The gentle rainfall turns into a downpour. My headache abates. Praise the Lord! My two Jack Russel Terriers scratch at my legs, begging to seek shelter under me.
“The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.” (Psalm 29:7, NIV)
Photo courtesy of April White
Thunder rolls and lightning splits the sky.  I count the seconds between the thunder and lightning, less than two seconds. Thanks to modern technology, the spark on my phone indicates a bolt of lightning 1.2 miles from my current location.  In bold letters I read “SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.”  I watch as early morning boaters race along the water seeking shelter in a nearby empty boat slip.
“I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.” (Psalm 55:8, NIV)
“Lord, Your Word says You are always with me. At this very moment I hear Your voice in the booming thunder. I see Your voice as You split the sky with lightning. Even the air molecules scurry at the sound of Your voice.  Lord, I feel Your presence. Hear my prayer.” 
“The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.’”
 (Psalm 91:14, NLT)
Sensing God’s nearness, I spoke my prayers aloud, rather than writing them in a journal. God responded with thunder. Our conversation turned into a melody. My pianissimo whispered prayers answered by His fortissimo voice.
“He who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence.” (Revelation 7:15, NIV)
I had planned on applying a second coat of stain to the deck today, but the storm gave me a reason to rest. I don’t rest well and God knows that all too well. Today, He forced me to rest. God reminded me that He will be “a refuge and hiding place in the storm and rain” (Isaiah 4:6, NIV).  There is value in rest and relaxing the spirit and body. God is teaching me that if I don’t take the time to incorporate rest in my daily life, He will force it upon me.
Dear friend, what is your current storm? What area of your life do you need to seek shelter and rest?
Seeking shelter in Him,
~April
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