Coffee. Lots of it. With chocolates and whipped cream and a variety of "good-with-coffee" treats. Where might I have encountered such heavenly bliss? No, not Starbucks, silly! If you were a good Baptist, you would have guessed "church." :)
This past weekend we held our annual Ladies' Conference at church with a coffee theme. We were served all sorts of coffee treats as some church ladies ran a specialty coffee bar throughout the conference. I am quite sure that my brain is still trying to recover from the intense surge of caffeine it received at the conference. :)
The featured speakers brought lessons and messages that were exactly what I needed ( of course, God always knows). The testimonies stood out to me most. Growing up in a wonderful Christian family and being saved at an early age, I always felt I had somewhat of a "boring" testimony. Of course, I didn't want to have to go through all the things some people have gone through just to have an "exciting" testimony! God has richly blessed my life in so many ways, and so far my path has had only a few "bumps". I have not gone through many hardships to get to where I am today, and I praise my Heavenly Father for that. But - I know that they are coming! As our pastor preached last night, fruit can only ripen by being bruised or broken, and God's ways of "bruising" us to use us later on can vary.
This is why every time I hear a riveting testimony of someone who has suffered much in her life, I pay special attention and store it away in my heart. I am saving all these witnesses for that time in my life when I will really need them. I hope I will be able to look back at these testimonies during a rough spot in my life and say to myself, "They did it through God's help. So can I!"
One pastor's wife in particular had many such stories to share. She is just about my mom's age and has been through so much in her life. It is amazing and life-changing how God worked in her life despite all the troubles and sorrows. One of her most recent trials was losing her husband to pancreatic cancer a few years ago at the relatively young age of 51. She cried a lot as she related how she had gathered hoards of this man of God's friends, colleagues, and church congregations across the nation to pray for the healing of her husband. She knew God COULD heal him and prayed earnestly and with much faith that God WOULD heal him. Still, God took him home according to His perfect plan, and she struggled to understand why as she tried to live life without the man she loved. I tried to imagine my life without Chris, tried to think of how even one hour of my day would pass without the man that God has given me, and my imagination fails me. This would truly be a test of faith for me if God ever chose to take him or any other of my family members today.
And so I pray for faith today, not knowing what God's plan is for my future. I pray for strength and courage and learn from the faith and strength of others. And I hold to His Word:
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth forever; forsake no the works of thine own hands." Psalm 138:7-8