The morning sun shining through my window woke me up. I tried to roll away from the light eager to get my beauty rest, but I couldn’t fall back to sleep. Hunger pains began to rumble in my stomach. I crawled out of bed quietly to not wake up my husband who was still sleeping soundly.
Stumbling to the kitchen, I fix myself a bowl of cereal. A thought flew across my mind to grab my Bible, but for some reason I ignored it. It seemed like too much work to go fetch it. I finished my cereal and then prepared our lunches for the day. The entire time I continued to push out the thought of reading God’s Word, thinking the things I chose to do instead were more important. With 30 minutes to spare before the alarm would ring to encourage us to get up and get ready for work, I slid back into bed next to my sleeping husband. However, as hard as I tried to keep my eyes shut, my body resisted sleep.
Then I heard His voice. It was more of a voice I heard inside my head, but distinctly not my own.
God said to me, “Please Jennifer, I want to show you something.”
I have had thoughts or urges to read God’s Word before, but this was different, this was personal. This voice I heard penetrated my heart and there was no way to ignore it. I reached for my Bible and without hesitation flipped the scriptures open to where I left off last, Deuteronomy 8.
Before I go any further to reveal more of my encounter with God, I need to remind you of how I had been feeling prior to this moment. I mentioned some of how I had been feeling last week in a Wednesday blog post – Spiritual Support From My Husband.
My heart was discontent, proud, and overwhelmed. I was struggling to trust in God and where He was guiding us. I was desiring a more comfortable life… But who am I to feel so deserved? Although I wanted to have faith in God’s plan, I was struggling to let go of the pieces of my life. My grip was tight and my heart was growing hard.
My husband encouraged my spiritual walk and helped me understand that God’s ways are beyond what we can think of or imagine. My life then became a tug-of-war. My flesh wanted one thing as my spirit wanted another. My husband and I were so busy this past weekend. It was easier for me to ignore the tug-of-war that raged within, rather than just face it.
We moved all weekend. Packing boxes, moving boxes, and unpacking boxes, eager to re-organize our lives before the normal workweek kicked back in. At one point on Sunday night, exhausted from the move, I made a comment that my feet felt swollen. We were both tired and in need of rest.
Then came Monday morning and my experience with God.
I began reading Deuteronomy chapter 8, titled in my Bible as God’s Gracious Dealings. By verse 2, I was beginning to understand what God wanted to show me:
“You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
I never experienced being led in the wilderness for forty years, yet if I considered that a hardship, well that I have experienced. So the reason God leads us through hardships is to humble us, to see what is at our core, and to see how we will respond. For husbands and wives alike, we will encounter hardships in marriage that seem disheartening and difficult to endure. God is telling us that those moments are to test us, and to see how we respond, I believe to God and to our spouse.
Will we grumble, complain, and turn away from God because of discontentment, or will we worship and obey Him no matter what our circumstances are?
As I continued reading, God’s Words became personal and to me, a bit comical. In verse 4 it says:
“Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.”
Haha! Only ME, the complainer, would have caught the humor in this verse. Mentioning just the night before that my feet felt swollen! Here the Israelites literally wandered in the desert for forty years and God says that their foot did not swell. I had no reason to be complaining. However, I read this and felt that God wanted to encourage me saying,
“I hear you, I know you think this is hard, but you are capable of hanging in there, and your endurance will refine you. What you are experiencing in life is ok. Just remember that I am here, I am always here, and I will sustain you.”
Deuteronomy 8 continued, reminding the Israelites that they would be blessed with the land which God had promised; a land which would satisfy them. They are then warned to not become proud or forget their Lord, which could happen once being given everything, lacking nothing.
Verse 16-18, “In the wilderness He gave you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, “My power and strength of my hand made me this wealth. But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth.”
I felt an overwhelming peace that God was saying to me, “Jennifer, as time goes on I will bless you, and you will lack nothing. I will lead you into wealth. I need you to remember that it is not by your power or strength, but of mine.”
This was so exciting to me. What I am enduring or have endured is to do good for me in the end. That I may look over my life with a humble heart, and praise God for His power and strength! When wealth is mentioned I didn’t envision a bank account full of money, rather an encompassing wealth of life where my family has all of their needs met, yes where we do have money, but we are generous with it, we have a strong faith that encourages others, our hearts exude joy, our marriage thrives, my husband and I are blessed with awesome children, and leave a legacy with them of being disciples of Christ.
I was blessed with my encounter with God!
Filled with an indescribable joy and energy that motivated me throughout the day.
I wanted to share this with you in hopes of encouraging you with the same message I received from the Lord. Hang in there, you are capable of handling this life by the grace of God, through His power and strength! Do not let your circumstance keep you from remembering the Lord! Nor do not let your wealth let you forget all that He has done!
Rejoice, be thankful, and praise the Lord for everything, always! And listen to that voice that encourages you to read God’s Word! He is calling you to encounter Him so He can affirm you and give you peace! His Words are power and strength! It will renew you!