Jason and I have been married for eight years, and I can certainly trace the hand of God in our lives. It is a great encouragement when you are in a trial or time of struggling to look back over the years and see where God has been faithful. For us, there are so many stories of how God kept His promise to us to never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He has provided for us at every turn and every stage. He has provided financially, He has provided ministry opportunities, and He has taken us to places we would have never dreamed. Yet, when I feel down or am going through another valley, I seem to question whether God will come through again. It is strange to think about, but it is certainly our human nature to doubt God’s ability. It seems that when I am at my weakest point, God shows up and shows off. I do not know about you, but God loves to prove Himself to me and Jason. He not only provides, but He delivers the provision in such an amazing and crazy way that there is no possibility of doubting that He is in fact the one who gave it to us. Praise God! He leaves no margin for believing that we have in some way brought about the provision, the miracle, or the movement of God. It is all Him; all the time.
When is the last time you read Hebrews chapter thirteen? I mean really read it, and soaked it in to your heart? So many frequently quoted Scriptures and a great deal of wisdom are found in this chapter. It puts our valleys of despair in a different perspective. I love how the writer of Hebrews begins, “Let brotherly love continue.” Immediately, the focus is off us. He jumps right in to showing hospitality to others, remembering prisoners, respecting your marriage, and not loving money. As a dear youth once said, “That’s a chunk of work!” In just the first four verses and the beginning of verse five, God cuts to the heart of quite a few of our frequent sins and worries. We are often so consumed with our own lives that showing hospitality or love to someone else does not cross our mind.
We have some wonderful friends from India who are also attending seminary. When we first moved to Texas, we lived in the seminary housing for about a month. Our neighbors moved in right around the same time that we did. As we would walk by their apartment, the door would be open, and they would ask us to come in and have tea. This really was not a request, but a requirement. Our first visit in Kika and Anung’s home was so outside what we were used to. Even having been overseas, Jason and I were your typical Americans. We would never have dreamed of going into an open, stranger’s home to have tea. How God has blessed our friendship with these sweet missionaries over the past year and a half. No one has ever taught me so much about hospitality as they have. We have tried to implement their hearts for people in our ministry here in Walnut Springs. We try to have an open door policy and invite people into our homes as often as we can. We even serve Indian tea. There is just something about caring for people and building relationships with them.
This is what the Lord is showing us in the opening of Hebrews. We are to respect one another and minister to each other; even our own spouses. Verse four is not to be overlooked. As we seek to care for our families in the business of life, it is so important to honor and respect our husbands. As men, this is something they seek and desire from their wives. It is how they are wired, and Scripture speaks to it in other passages such as Ephesians 5:22 where we are told to submit to our husbands and our husbands are told to love us. Now, that is another “chunk of work” that we can tackle together at a different time, but the point is that our husbands need us to love and honor them, and we need them to love and honor us; even more so in the trying times than in the peaks of life.
Hebrews 13:5 says, “Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Does the valley look different from that point of view? Even if your valley is not a financial one, God is saying we have nothing to fear because He is our provider. Amen! He is the one in control, and He knows where we are, what we are going through, and what the other side of the struggle looks like. He has a plan.
How comforting verse eight is, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” God has proved this to me in my life. The God who has been faithful over the past years is still faithful today and will bring us through to tomorrow. Whatever struggle or valley you may be going through right now, know that God is faithful. He has not changed, and He has not abandoned us. When we are once again standing on the mountain, we will look back and see the hand of God on this time of trial as well. We can not wallow in our own miseries. We are called to love and serve others; even in our darkest times. May God use our struggles to prove Himself to us and grow our faith in Him. May we be women who show love and hospitality to others no matter the circumstances. May we love and honor our husbands despite our moods. God bless you and use you this week. Amen.