The pounding on the front door startled me awake from a deep sleep. Diane was already up and out of the house for her usual morning walk. It was 7 a.m. on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, 1996, and we had just returned from a wonderful trip to Europe. I opened the door to find a neighbor uncontrollably screaming and repeating: "Is your wife walking on the road?" When I answered yes, the neighbor told me, in a panicked voice, that a car had just hit Diane. I knew the speed limit on our road was 55 mph, but cars regularly drove well over 60. I can tell you, in that moment, my life was "shaken."
We live in a world that is being shaken regularly. Massive earthquakes most recently in Haiti and Chile, along with lesser ones seemingly on a daily basis, are literally shaking our entire world. Extreme weather, wars, threats of war, political strife and economic upheaval all attempt to shake our very existence. If that is not enough, add the many personal points of "shaking" we can experience in our marriages, families, finances or ministries and as the songwriter said years ago, "there's a whole lot of shakin' goin' on."
The experience of Diane being struck by a car was only one of several "shaking" experiences we have encountered in our nearly 42 years of marriage. While still attending college, our first baby died just hours after her birth. During construction of our church facility in 1990, I fell 25 feet landing on a concrete floor. Nine years ago, Diane was diagnosed with cancer and then six years ago she was diagnosed with a severe staph infection in her spine.
I share these few events not to elicit your sympathy—for we are so very grateful and blessed by how God has brought us through each of these challenges—but because these circumstances may look a lot like what is going on in many of your lives. Shaking experiences cause us to look deeper into our faith in God. Through them, we examine our ability to trust Him more. Diane and I have learned some things about the tests of life and what these tests can produce in us, if we are willing. For example:
- Our faith in Christ is not some kind of immunity against the "shaking" experiences. John 16:33
- Our faith is based on a belief that God is good and all His purposes toward us are purposes of love. Romans 8:32
- Our faith includes an assurance that God is at work in all things that happen. Romans 8:28
- Our faith is sure—God will not permit impossible burdens to come upon us. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Perhaps today you are facing a "shaking" somewhere in your life. While I'm sure you know the truth of the Word for these situations, let my words be a gentle reminder and an encouragement of how much God loves you. He has not abandoned you in this difficult hour but rather it is in such a time that your faith and trust in Him will be forged to a new dimension.
By: David Coffey, supervisor of the MidSouth District of Foursquare Churches.