The recession was merciless on our small business.
We had bills we didn't know how to pay.
The president seemed bound and determined to ruin both the public and private sectors.
The United Nation was looking at ratifying the "Rights of the Child."
It just felt like everywhere we turned, there was only bad news.
So, Brett and I started to pray.
We have learned through many challenges over the years, that hard times are God's tool for reshaping us, for conforming us to His image.
And when His sheep have hearts of stone, I can see why.
Only the constant drip of Water
or the catastrophe of searing Heat
or the intensity of incredible Pressure
is able to change the form of stone,
to wear it smooth
and transform it from a sharp-edged stumbling block
to a heart God can use.
And having learned that lesson about our Maker,
Brett opened with his now usual, "Thank you for today and all the troubles it brings."
It wasn't a sarcastic statement.
Neither was it fatalistic.
It was a humble statement from an honest sheep who has bowed to the sovereign work of his father's hand.
It was the honest rest in tribulation by a man who has wrestled with counting it all joy.
But as Brett began to make his appeal to God for all the cares that were weighing us down,
a picture began to form in my mind....
I saw the black thunderheads swirling. They were low and dark and ominous.I saw the wind-whipped waves and the white caps.I saw my whole family, all twelve of us, standing together in this storm.We were huddled together for protection and warmth.Our hair was whipping across our faces.And I said, "Yes, Lord, this is an accurate picture of what I feel today.But where are YOU in this picture?!"And He said, "I am the Rock you are standing on."In my mind's eye, the camera panned back. Suddenly I could see our feet.And we were all standing on ahuge rock.The waves crashed about us......and our feet weren't even wet.
And as Brett continued to pray, I kept my focus on that Rock.
That's what prayer does.
It reminds us that we are small and God is big.
And He is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.
Prayer works the dual miracle of softening the rock that is my heart
and drawing me back to stand on The Rock.
Later in the year, we snapped a family photo to stick in the Christmas cards. We had tried all kinds of settings, and getting a picture of twelve people to turn out is no small feat.
Imagine my surprise when we got home to look over the proofs...
and the best shot had us all positioned on and around a huge rock.
I smiled as I realized that God had given me a very tangible expression of the vision in my mind.
And every time I see it,
And when I labor in prayer,
I am reminded that
we are a family on The Rock.