It was a Dark and Stormy Night
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Up at 4:30 AM, I was preparing to speak at a Good Friday prayer breakfast in Oil City, PA. At the event, the Holy Spirit showed up, God moved, and we had a great beginning to a wonderful weekend celebrating Christ’s resurrection.
After the event, it was off to the Philadelphia airport for a quick 1 ½ hour flight home. Easter weekend had the airport teeming with travelers. As we waited, clouds began to roll in and planes failed to roll out. Unfortunately, overbooked airplanes and stormy weather do not a good combination make. Delays and cancelations lit up the departure board.
I was scheduled to arrive in Charlotte, NC at 7:00 PM. But then my arrival time was pushed back to 7:40, then to 8:40, then to 9:30. This was turning out to be not such a “good Friday” after all. The travelers were getting angry, the ticketing agents were getting agitated, and kids were getting antsy. I just wanted to go home.
Finally, after many gate changes and time delays, we boarded the plane headed for Charlotte. As we neared North Carolina, the pilot made an announcement.
“Hello, this is Captain Bernard. Unfortunately, the storm is passing through Charlotte, NC at this time and we will not be able to land. We are going to land in Greensboro, NC, 90 miles away, and wait it out. Feel free to disembark the airplane, but do not leave the boarding area. We will make an announcement when it is time to re-board. Don’t worry. We’ll get you to Charlotte just as quickly as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience. ”
Arg! We landed in Greensboro and waited … and waited … and waited. About 10:30, there was another announcement. “May I have your attention please? For those travelling on flight 389 to Charlotte, unfortunately, the flight crew has logged in too many hours and they will not be able to continue the flight to Charlotte. We have secured vans to drive you the rest of the way. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
A collective moan rose from the motley bunch. We trudged down to baggage claim, retrieved our bags, and separated into groups of nine.
“What do you do?” a man in a business suit asked, trying to pass the time.
“I’d rather not say,” I answered. Thinking he might get the wrong idea, I smiled and said, “Just kidding. I’m an author.”
“What do you write?”
I was hoping he wouldn’t ask me that question. I was not being a very good advertisement. “I write Christian oriented books for women,” I answered. “You know – the kind that tells women how to handle difficulties in life.” We all started laughing.
We piled into the van: eight traveling to visit family, one going home. The air conditioner was broken, and heat blew out of the vents in every direction. No one could figure out how to shut it down. Temperatures rose, sweat poured, layers came off, the widows fogged up. It was miserable.
After about an hour and a-half, I started to relax, thinking we would be in Charlotte at any minute. In the seat in front of me, a twenty-something woman and her mother chatted happily. They were on their way to spend the weekend with daughter number two. Daughter number one, who was apparently tracking our progress on her I-phone, turned around in her seat to face me.
“We’re passing Statesville,” she said. “How much further do we have?”
“Statesville!” I cried. “We’re not supposed to be passing Statesville! He’s going the wrong way!”
Our one and a-half hour van ride turned into a three hour van ride. This was just the icing on a very bad cake. I had way too much material for a new book on suffering and was ready for this not-so-good Friday to be over. Just as I was having a not-so-nice, one-way conversation with God, the mother in front of me drew a smiley face on the window. A smiley face!
What in the world does she have to be happy about! I mused. I don’t see anything “smiley” about this entire situation! We finally arrived in Charlotte sometime after midnight. The 1 ½ hour trip had turned into an eight-hour nightmare. Nine dripping wet, exhausted passengers climbed out of the van and breathed in the fresh night air.
“Bye, Beth,” I said to the young I-pod toting girl. “You have fun with you sister and mom this weekend.”
“Oh, we will,” she replied. “My mom just found out that she has cancer for the second time. It doesn’t look too good. We’re going to spend a weekend together, just the three of us, simply enjoying each other.”
She turned to walk away … never seeing the tears that filled my eyes.
I looked back at the van’s window which still held the picture of a smiley face drawn by a dying woman’s hand. Suddenly, my night of little inconveniences seemed rather petty. It was a Good Friday after all. God had reminded me of all I had to be thankful for. Storms will come in this life. It is our perspective in the storm that will determine whether we will grumble and complain, or draw a smiley face and thank God for each and every breath we have.
I slipped into the car with my precious, patient husband, gave him a quick kiss, and drew a smiley face on the window.
Dear LORD, forgive me when I whine over life’s inconveniences. In the storms of life, help me see Your blessings in the raindrops, Your power in the lightening, and Your voice in the rolling thunder.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
I have two passages I want you to read today. The first is 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. What do you think Paul meant by his light and momentary afflictions?
Now read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. Now, what do you think Paul meant by light and momentary afflictions? This is not what I’d call light affliction, but in view of the glory that we will experience in heaven, Paul thought the struggles of this world were well worth it.
In light of what you are going through today, I’d love to hear if this devotion stirred your heart to think differently. Let’s chat. Visit www.localhost/sjold/blog or www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes.
I just sat down at my computer with tears in my eyes, telling God I was tired of my situation. Money is tight, my baby’s cd player broke a few days ago (so it’s hard to get her to sleep w/o her music) and my husbands cell phone quit yesterday. He just called to say it would be $250 to replace it. My son’s birthday is this weekend and we need the extra money this month for his gifts. And I need to get busy with a writing project. I’ve got a deadline fast approaching for a book. Then I read this. How petty my silly little things seem now. Thank you for being the voice of God. Sometimes we just need a little reminder of what we have to be thankful for. I’m going to view the rest of my day a little differently.
hi, I’m not one that usually comments and stuff but i just wanted to say that this devotional is right on time. I’ve been goin through a time of testing i believe and when it first stated i was sad, sometimes stressed and upset that i couldn’t hear God. But then God spoke and it really touched my heart and i had to repent for my complaining after all I’m not homeless, hungry, or ill. anyway i just wanted to say I’m grateful for any encouraging word that God sends my way… God Bless
Your experience with the woman who was dying of cancer drawing the happy face on the window really touched me! It made me think about the mark we leave – every time we have encouter with another person we leave an impression. Oh how I want to demonstrate the love and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ! Your blog today reminded me how important it is to draw close to our Lord, to know and connect with Him more, so that I can demonstrate His love and compassion – not my own selfishness – but to see far beyond that, the way He does!
Thank you for the thoughts you shared here. This is a great devotion. It hits home, as I am going though some struggles with my thirteen year old daughter/ God has been dealing with me regarding the “state of my heart” toward her. I am realizing I must make some changes and am praying about that. The scriptures you asked us to read help to put my concerns into better perspective.
God bless you richly!
I enjoyed this devotional today, it reminded me of the saying my aunt would say: Thank God it is as well as it is; it could be better and it could be worse-someone is in worse shape than you are. I will be reminded of this story when I am going through a difficult time and when I see a smiley face in particular –because my mother died of cancer and lived her life to the fullest and did not share with us how serious her condition was, I will remember the good times we shared! 🙂
THANK YOU Sharon! I have been unemployed for a little over 1 year now, (had 4 different job interviews) and since January have become a part time care giver for my father-in-law and mother-in-law. That has pretty much taken me out of the job market – I have looked at it as this is where God and my husband and family need me for the moment! Most recently I have become their dinner “caterer” and drive Dad to cardiac rehab 3 days a week. I am sincerely happy to do this for them, but no one would believe that if they just looked at my face. Part of Dad’s recovery now includes serious depression, and because of it, he is an angry and VERY grumpy man. His doctors are treating the depression, but it will be a long haul climbing out of such a deep pit. Through your devotion today, I am reminded that I need to change my perspective and be the one drawing the “happy faces” (especially my own!)and clear my mind to hear HIS “still small voice” for encouragement and joy! By the way – to help me I’m going to read your book “Becoming a Woman who Listens to God” !
Thank you for a new perspective! I was definitely focusing on the seen, not the unseen. Motherhood is far more challenging than I thought it would be… Thank you for this devotional!
That was an arrow straight to my heart and I thank God for that. Our agenda so often needs adjusting and God in His loving way will reveal to us that He wants our attention and devotion. This past week I was attending a christian concert and was priviledged and moved to tears to witness a man in a wheelchair sitting next to his wife giving grace over a small meal consisting of a hotdog. Now, you ask what would cause the tears….well he was wearing a t-shirt that said…”I left my leg in Irag”. God gave me a new perspective on thankfulness in that brief moment. That man and his wife gave so much for our country and yet they were showing their thankfulness for the meal before them. How often did I in my own hunger just dive into my meal without offering thanks. How often did I in my own little world walk blinded by those in need. Ungrateful for all that I have been blessed with. Seared into my memory will be that man and the lesson he taught me by his example of thankfulness. Thankfulness to God for all that He provides. Thankful for the love He gives and for the unbounding Grace He supplies.
Your devotion helped me to remember that we are always at our job, if we are followers of Christ. The things that happen along the way aren’t all of our own choosing, but we can choose how we react to those things. Your field of influence were the other travelers. My field of influence is my family. Just like you felt a little ashamed to mention what your job was, sometimes I let my guard down as a mother, and don’t represent God to the little eyes that are watching. I also can’t imagine how unbearably sad it would be to be telling my children goodbye, after being diagnosed with cancer. I would have to rely on God to bring people into their lives so they could be raised. You were encouraged to thank God for the things you have in life from the experience you had, I was encouraged to be thankful for the time I have, and to redeem it, not waste it. Speaking of that, I am going to spend some time with my 13 month old daughter.
thank you for publishing this! i had to share how at least one part of it was the comic relief i so needed in MY ONgoing time of ‘light’ affliction. what is this of which you speak, peg? sorry, you’ll have to wait for the book like everyone else 😛
so..that’s the part, as i mentioned on my fb page (peggy sue of nh) where you said, ” I had way too much material for a new book on suffering…”
i appreciated the you’re-only-human smiley face comment/offering as well. thank you for being here and doing what it is you are called to do. and thank GOD for any kind of husband to which you can subscribe ‘precious & patient’. i hope you have no idea what it is like to have one that is quite the opposite. makes for a difficult time of doing what it is the Lord has called you to do. and for the sake of others out there, don’t confuse patience with lethargy…some women will have very uninvolved husbands, ‘giving’ them their version of freedom, yet those are the selfsame ones who can be impatient with anything that flies in the face of their comfort. is this making any sense? i’m still in the afore-alluded to trials, so i have to ask!
I needed that. I am looking and looking for a job as a teacher and I am down in the dumps. I thought God would have acted by now and it is getting difficult to wait on his timing but I will. thanks for the devotion.
Thank you for your story today! Even when we know that we are blessed, it seems so easy sometimes to forget our blessings, and wallow in self-pity. That’s where I have been the last few days/weeks, even though I know I God has truly blessed me throughout my life, I can’t seem to get past the rough spots of right now!
Thanks for your gentle reminder!
I do not normally respond to things like this but the touched my heart today – My oldest son is getting divorced after 22 years of marriage – he has three children, two of which have little to do with him. He is struggling financially and emotionally. My youngest son just recently lost his company after 17 years and faces much financial hardship. My middle son works at a low paying job and his wife has just recently was able to go to work adding a little to the family income (they have 3 children), my sister is diabled and I help her with trips to the doctor and grocery store – It seems that those around me have much trouble and I am grieved about this and struggle to help each one of them but this scripture reminds me that all of this is small and temporary in the light of what Mighty things God has planned for me – thank you for this devotion
allison:I too am looking for a teaching position!
I am going through personal struggles and this was yet another reminder from God how thankful I should be and refocus onto Him instead of everything I’ve been through. He is a good, just, righteous God and sometimes we get used to connivence and our wants. We forget everything we do have, so thank you for the reminder.
I am learning to let God handle all the storms that I am crossing over (it seems right now that there is one right after another). I thought by now God would have helped me out of my distresses. I am learning to have faith and believe in God and Gods time and my time are 2 different things. I will continue draw strenght from God. I know that all the storms I am going thru God is taking a seed from each one and putting in the plan for my life so that when I get thru these storms I will be a stronger child of God. Thank You so much for your devotions. They really hit home. God Bless
Very uplifting…I have alot going on in my life. I have a 2 year old that had a liver transplant in 2008, my father just found out he has lung cancer, my husband and I have started marriage counseling to save our marriage of 14 years, my best friend is going through marital problems and it is hard for me to be there for her right now when I have my own marriage to save, my oldest daughter is in travel softball and I feel I am pulled in every direction possible…after reading this devotional I know I can turn to God and find joy and KNOW everything is in God’s hands and he is in control.
This was really good for me, too. I am in the exact same boat as Allison. I am looking for a job as a teacher and it is less than 3 weeks before school starts. It has been very hard being patient and waiting on a job, but I do my best to keep my head up. My Bible in the study parton 2 Corinthians 4:17 states “Our troubles should not diminish our faith or disillusion us. We should realize that there is a purpose in our suffering”. I do believe that God is going to provide a job for me. I had so many obstacles to go through in order to go back to school and get in the program and even quitting my job to finish my student teaching. I don’t think God would have brought me through all those obstacles and now will give me a dead end. I know that it will all work out, but it is nice to be reminded what His words says to make me feel better!
Ouch! Yes, I agree, we Christians are often such babies…including me at times. God has been speaking to me, “Grow up!” Yes, Lord, by the power of Your Spirit I will do that!
Thank you for the devotion. Would you please pray for me? I would really apppreciate it. Love in Christ, Laurie
I never know what’s going to happen when I read GIG devotionals. Today Sharon, a big reality check, and like someone came over and stopped me from rocking my own boat when my life is really pretty calm compared to others. I cried out loud when I read because I was reminded my only sister is in the fight for her life… her cancer came back too… and we have been separated by childhood jealousies and damaged by sexual abuse… both of us. She’s just had stem cell transplant… it’s got to work this time. I don’t know if she’s really intimate with Jesus. I ask for prayer that He would help her find peace and healing too in her heart. Thanks Sharon… you blessed us.
Oh, I just pulled myself out of bed – after coming home, making a small dinner, tired, and tired of being tired.
I know God, and He has done amazing things in my life. This valley – sure is long and seemingly difficult.
Lost my home Jan. 2009- after not working for 19 mo. the job I had – in ministry for homeless women, paid me 8.00 an hour. 30 -32 hrs a week only. No benefits.
I love d the job, and knew God’s hand in taking me there. yet one more amazing thing he had done. I miss it terribly (it is now closed).
I am a widow. Raised three boys – who love the Lord – and we have all done missions and served at our local church in any capacity needed.
I miss it. Each of our cars broke. two in slite accidents – enough to have insurance total them.
My engine broke, and i have no money to pay for it.
We did manage to buy an inexpensive car – that we really cant afford – but to get to our jobs (on son outof work – one part time min. wage, and myself 35 hrs, $10 an hour no benefits). They are jobs. I desire more – God has more –
in the past three weeks our phone, electric and gas have been turned off. Not much in the pantry to eat.
And I am tired of the struggle.
I know I am victorious. I know God has his hand over us –
Over three years of financial lack – savings gone. Nothing left.
thank you so much for your emails every day – they do keep me encouraged.
The Lord shine His face upon you – for helping us thru what we go thru in our own unique lives.
Bless you – I pray He keeps his hand upon your mind and lives —
Please pray for breakthru.
I serve a God that is Big and expect abundance – so that I may be a blessing to other women again –
Thank you so much for that! I so needed that right now! I need to not look at my own difficulties in life and just give it all to God! I am dealing w/ a very diffiicult time in life and stress, the devotional touched me so much! Thank you!
I liked this devotion. I am a teacher as well, and this summer has not gone as planned. My mom is ill and I am concerned about a couple of friends who are really in bad places right now (and that’s just the worst of the story, I could go on!) But one of those friends this past week reminded me that it’s all relative. Although she is in a miserable job situation and struggling to get by, she is counting her blessings, for she has one friend suffering from cancer and another friend with a serious condition. She was quick to say that our problems were nothing compared to that. Your devotion really added to my friend’s wisdom and gave me added comfort.
I definately needed to hear this one! Sometimes, it just takes a situation like yours to remind us of how blessed we truly are. Made me think of how much I tend to complain or get annoyed with circumstances in life, that aren’t to my liking.
It could be worse! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for sharing the story. This morning I was feeling a little overwhelmed with all the things that need to be done this week and wondering when I would have some rest time. This reminded me that I am so blessed to have the ability to do the things that I feel need to be done and to have such wonderful family to do them with. Thanks for the reminder :-).
OH MY! I so needed to hear this. After 11 yrs of being a stay @ home mom w/ 2 kids I have found myself w/ my tiny job for xtra $$ trying to make it into something bigger. My husband like many people has been looking for a job for quite sometime & our stash for our “new addition” is dwindling away. BUT, God has a plan & I am reminded that it is up to me to be “bitter” or “better”. Perspective REALLY makes a difference! Thanks for the insight.
I appreciate God’s spirit in your life for this daily devotion, it has help me in great ways, may God continue to strengthen you and you will not be found wanting in His kingdom in Jesus name. At times, I feel depress but whenever I remember that my redeemer liveth hope rises for me. Reading through today’s devotion I’m made to understand that I should be focused, no matter the ups and downs, may God continue to strengthen me too for His kingdom.
I just sat down to catch up on about a weeks worth of my Girlfriends in God devotionals and each of them spoke directly to me, but this one really struck home. My 9 month old son has hydronephrosis and tuesday we found out its not getting better the way we had hoped and there’s a good chance he is going to require surgery. needless to say i am not dealing so well with the idea of my baby going under the knife and feeling so powerless in the face of his illness. I have also been met a surprising lack of support from family and friends at a time when i was counting on them to help me. so this week i have been wallowing in self-pity, anger, and depression until today. after reading this i know that my “storm” could be so much worse, what cole has is treatable and i need to trust that God is going to carry us through all this, and as far as those that are disappointing me i now realize i have all the help and support i need…that of my loving God and that through this storm He has something to teach me, something to bless me with. Thank you so much for reminding me in which direction i needed to be looking.
Morning, am a bit behind with my devotion reading. I must say I needed this, at times we tend to complain about where we at rather than giving God thanks for life. Thank you fro reminding me about that, we say it but when our back is against the wall we tend to forget. Need to stop talking and putting it into action, nomather what am face with. Again thank you.
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