When we first met Sam, we had no idea how much he would teach us about living out your faith when things seem to go from bad to worse.
My husband David started taking guitar lessons from Sam many years ago. Sam plays guitar professionally. He is a gifted guitarist and guitar teacher. Through their mutual love of music, Sam and David forged a close friendship. As David worked on playing Christian songs, he and Sam would talk about the words of the songs. The Lord began working on Sam’s heart through those lyrics, and he eventually came to know Jesus as his Lord, Savior, and Friend.
Sam was a diabetic. Three years ago, due to complications from his diabetes, he nearly lost his leg and his life. He spent months in recovery, fighting to walk again and regain his mobility. After that health crisis, his kidneys were damaged, so he has to have dialysis for 9 hours every day. He is on the waiting list to receive a kidney transplant.
All of those challenges seem like a lot for any man . . . but there’s more. Two weeks ago, Sam fell, breaking his pelvic bone and crushing the top of his femur. He now finds himself in a nursing home for at least 3 months of recovery. I called Sam the other day, wanting to know how he was doing, and hoping to maybe encourage him a little. By the end of our conversation, he was the one encouraging me! Here is what I learned from talking with Sam, that when things seem to go from bad to worse:
Remember Who God Is
Throughout our conversation, Sam kept speaking of the goodness of God and how He had blessed him in the midst of his challenges. He told me stories of how the Lord had provided for him and made Himself known to him. He literally laughed in delight as he shared about his friend Jesus. I could tell that the joy of the Lord was truly Sam’s strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
When the prophet Habakkuk was told that life for the Israelites was going to go from bad to worse, he did the same thing. He remembered his God and professed that He is Elohim (my Creator and Sustainer), Yahweh (the Eternal God), and my Rock (foundation and refuge) (Habakkuk 1:12). He allowed the truths about God to be the greatest reality in his life, and they overarched all of his circumstances.
Choose to Trust the Lord
Sam told me, “The Lord has me here (in the nursing home) right now, so I am going to serve Him here.” Sam knows his God, so he trusts Him with his circumstances. “The reason I can keep going is because the Lord is right by my side the whole time,” Sam said. He believes Psalm 46:1, NASB, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Job trusted God, too. When he seemed to lose everything from an earthly perspective, he said, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15, NASB). That word hope, in Hebrew yachal, means “to wait, be patient, and trust.” Like Sam, Job knew the Lord . . . and he chose to trust Him, to wait and allow the Lord to work out what He was doing.
Every challenge is an opportunity to choose to put our faith in God. Faith is a choice. We grow stronger in our faith when we exercise the muscles of our faith.
Stay Devoted to the Lord
“I’m witnessing to everyone here (at the nursing home) about Jesus. I’m telling them my story, and I’m playing my guitar for them. I am telling people how real He is and what He can do,” Sam said. I could tell that Sam was finding joy and purpose right where the Lord had him. He has chosen to stay devoted to the Lord, wherever the Lord has him. “The Lord still has me here, and I am loving life with Him every day,” Sam said.
We uncover precious blessings when we choose to run to the Lord in difficult times . . . instead of running away from Him.
Ask my friend Sam. He will tell you all about it.
Question: Who has been a witness to you about living out their faith in a “bad to worse” situation? Comment at the link below.