Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Unlikely Escape Routes

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: 
but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; 
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
I Corinthians 10:13
(KJV)


Have you ever thought about the escape routes God creates 
in order to deliver us from unbearable tests, trials, tribulations, and temptations?

He promised in today's verse that He will never allow more to come upon us than we can bear.
He will never allow the trial to become too intense 
or the temptation to become more than we are able to tolerate.
But, instead, He will make a way for us to escape, 
so we may be able to bear it.

We have His Word on it.
We can count on it.
Sometimes He allows us to remain in the trying situation 
right up to the point of unbearable, then He opens the escape route.
Sometimes, He delivers sooner.
But, either way, He is never going to allow things to reach the point 
that we are utterly destroyed by them.

I have proven this to be true.
I can vouch for God's faithfulness.
I feel sure you can, too.

I have found it interesting...intriguing....amazing....
to watch the creative power of God in opening up "ways to escape" 
so I could bear what I was going through.

He surprises me all the time.
He opens an escape route right before I go over the edge,
by sending a detour my way or an unexpected change of plans.


Sometimes, I don't recognize or identify it when it is first happening.
Sometimes, it takes me a while to figure it out.
But, when I do, I have to take a step backward and acknowledge once more
that God absolutely loves me, cares about me more than I will ever be able to imagine,
and will always come to my rescue...even when I don't ask Him to.

Things were really getting on my nerves recently.
I'll be honest.
I had poured myself out to the point that I was mentally,
physically, and emotionally exhausted,
just drained to the point that I felt something had to give....
or I would completely cave.
If there were a temperature gauge on my tolerance level,
the little needle would have been nearing bright red...
pointing to the words "dangerously close to collapse" or "ready to explode at any moment".

I talked to Kevin, and we were trying to figure out what would be best for me to do.
We were seeking God's counsel and wisdom.
I walked to the back porch, turned my tear-filled eyes Heavenward,
and pleaded with God, 
"Lord, what should I do?"

Everything inside of me wanted to run.
I just wanted to leave where we were staying.
Head to my "safe" place....called home.
Leave the turmoil behind and just go.


But, was that really God's will?
After all, He had designed our current situation,
and maybe He just wanted me to find contentment....
right in the midst of it.

As I stood there in the cold, night, mountain air,
I shivered.
I wanted to go back inside....but not until I got my answer.

He spoke.
Clear as a bell.
Straight to my tired, weary, exhausted heart.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, 
for they shall be called the children of God."

I stopped.
Listened intently.

"That's what you want to be called, don't you?
A child of God?
What would make peace in this situation?"
The gentle voice of my Shepherd filled the night air around me with pointed questions.

It was one of those jaw-dropping moments when God sends something so profound from Heaven,
the awesomeness takes a little while to sink in.

I stood there...shivering....listening....until He stopped speaking.
When He was finished, I went back inside, 
resolved to do whatever I had to do in order to keep peace
and avoid upheaval.

My goal was to mind God.
To keep in tune with Him.
To do whatever He asked of me.

I'll admit.
I had a hard time going to sleep that night.
Kevin did his utmost, as usual, to help me figure things out.
To comfort.
Always telling me, he would support whatever decision I made.

I didn't tell him right then what God had said to me outside on the porch.
I was still trying to sort it all out in my own mind.


The next morning, God awoke me, bright and early,
and told me to write a letter and get a donation ready to send to a family in need.
I was tired, not really feeling like getting up at the moment,
but the urge was persistent.
I finally relented, crawled out of bed, did as God urged,
then reached for my Bible.

I began studying in earnest....about peace.
The Spirit of God came in a very real way and led me to the exact verses I needed to read.
I felt the love of God flow through and around me,
as I soaked in everything I could about how to be a peacemaker.

The phone rang.
My mother-in-law came and knocked on our bedroom door.
"Cheryl, it's for you.
It's Lori."

Thanking her, I took the phone.

"Hey, I wanted to ask you something.
We have an extra ticket to go to Steele's opera performance,
and Myrtle can't go with us.
Steve and I wanted to know if you would like to go?"

My sister-in-law's voice on the other end was like a breath of fresh air.
Her offer even more refreshing.

I told her I would run it by Kevin and call her back.

He was barely awake when I asked him what I should do.

Without opening his sleepy eyes, he said,
"Honey, I want you to do whatever brings you peace."

I stood there, by the bedside, dumbfounded....
flabbergasted,
hardly believing what my very wise husband had just said.

He had no idea how God had been dealing with me on the very subject of peace.

What was most amazing is that it hit me that God was trying to bring peace to ME 
in the situation, too.  
That is one point I never think about and always overlook.
Thank God He doesn't miss it or deem my needs as unimportant and unnecessary.
He knows how hard I try.
How much I endeavor and strive to be all I can for Him...and for everyone else around me.
He sees all of that.
He doesn't have to be told.
He knew I needed an out....an escape route....and, lo and behold, 
it appeared that He was carving one...right in front of my very eyes.

But, an opera??

Really??

Seriously?

Me??

Country-to-the-core...me??

Lori and Steve needed an answer right away,
as it would soon be time for us to meet and take the over-two hour trip to get there.

"Do you think I should go?" I turned to Kevin one more time.

His mom needed me.
His dad needed me.
Kevin needed me.
Zachary needed me.
Other plans had already been made for the day.
I would have to rearrange some things....work some things out.

None of it was hard to change.
Everyone understood.
It all worked out.


It hit me with a thud of force that God was opening up a beautiful day for me....
a day that was to be filled with peace.
He knew I had reached my limit and needed a break,
and in His all-knowing wisdom, He saw the value of a few hours away from the situation.
An escape route was prepared.
All I had to do is take it.
He also reminded me that if I had disobeyed His direction early that morning
if I had stayed in bed and failed to get the letter ready to be hand-delivered that day to the family in need, 
I would not have had time to take care of it,
since I had to leave in such a hurry.
They may have really suffered...had I waited and sent it to them another day.
Who knows what was hinging on my obedience.

It pays to mind God.
To just go ahead and do what He asks....when He asks.

I called Lori back, met them at the appointed place, 
and we started on our journey.

Oh, the beauties we saw along the way!
I wish I had taken pictures.
They offered...repeatedly....to stop so I could.
But, I just wanted to relish it...while it was happening.

Steve took us down back roads....my favorite kind.
The autumn leaves were vibrant...their beauty beyond telling.
You would have just had to be there.

We talked, laughed, poured out our hearts,
stopped at the neatest apple orchard where I bought a peck of freshly-picked, juicy, crisp apples....
the kind that pop when you bite into them,
shopped at a really great Goodwill,
arrived at the opera house in plenty of time,
met up with the sweetest friends,
and settled into our seats for the performance.

Steele did an amazing, impeccable job....
as did the other performers.

It was very, very peaceful.
Serene.
Pleasant.
I had a great time.


After it was over, we waited for Steele,
talked with friends,
then went to eat at Cheddar's.

Ever been there?

It was a new experience for me....
and a very enjoyable one.

The drive home was spent talking some more.
I think we all needed it more than we knew...before it happened.

By the time we reached our car, and I got in for the ride back home,
the reality of what God had done for me truly sank in.
I spent the ride home praying....thanking Him for the perfect escape route,
marveling at the depths of His wisdom.

When I got back, my situation had not changed.
The load was just as heavy.
The physical demands every bit as hard.
But, my tension was gone.
I felt okay again.
I accepted the fact that I was exactly where I needed to be,
and He would give me grace and physical strength to carry my cross....
even throwing in some fun and "escapes" now and then.

God had made a way of escape for me...
in a very unlikely way,
and through the process, He had shown His love for me, 
in the sweetest of ways.

I was humbled and beyond grateful...
that He cares that much about the tiniest details of my life.

The human side of us becomes jaded.
We become weary in well doing, even though we are warned not to in Galatians 6:9.
We are human.
None of us are beyond the scope of living in a mortal body that has limitations.

I knew I had reached mine.
I could have taken my own way of escape.
I could have run away.
Everything within me wanted to.
I just wanted to be done with the stress...
I wanted to relax.
I wasn't feeling well, physically, and it was just too much.
Had I decided to run,
Kevin and everyone else around me would have understood....
but their load would have been heavier without me there to carry my part.

It wasn't God's plan for me to run.
He said to stay in the situation...and make peace.

Waiting for God's escape route is always best.


He knew I just needed a break.
A reprieve.
A change of pace...and scenery....just for a while.

Sometimes that is all it takes.
We don't always have to take drastic measures to change our perspective.
Sometimes, it just takes a walk outside....
some fresh air....
a phone call to a friend....
or even a day out that includes an opera.  :)

Okay, so anyone who knows this country girl knows that sitting in an opera house
isn't the most likely of places to find me.
Opera music isn't really my cup of tea....
although, I must say, I was beyond impressed by the talent I witnessed first-hand that day....
if you like that kind of thing, of course.  :)
Give me a banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and upright bass any day....
along with some down-home, bluegrass, country folks who don't really care 
whether or not they are hitting the right notes or singing a bit off-key.
Yeah, I will probably always be more comfortable in that setting
than to be somewhere surrounded by folks whose world revolves around culture and the arts.

Oh, well.
God knows what we need.
And truly, I really didn't feel out of place at all.
I was sitting right in the palm of His hand, where I always remain.
I felt His presence right there.
He made Himself real to me....
right there listening to that opera....just like He does everywhere else.

God is everywhere.
And when His Spirit dwells within you,
every possible place can become a place of worship.

So, where are you today?
Any hard circumstances weighing you down...
making you squirm....
testing your strength?
Do you crave a way out?
An escape?

God sees.
He knows.
He is more aware of your limitations than you are.
He will not allow your trials to surpass that point.
Sometime, between now and then, He will step in...
and offer you a way to escape.
It may not come to you in the form or type of packaging you expect.
The escape route He designs for you may involve doing something unfamiliar,
untested, even a bit unorthodox...
or a bit out of your comfort zone.  :)

Whatever it ends up being,
I can assure you of this one thing....
God's escape route will be exactly what you need 
and take you exactly where you are supposed to go.
And knowing He cares that much about you and the details of your life, is something, 
whether it be opera or bluegrass-style...or somewhere in between....
 to sing about.

36 comments:

  1. You write so beautifully and so inspiring. Your God given words are so beautiful that reaches to the inner core of my heart. Thank you so much for the encouragement.
    Nice knowing you sister in Christ:)

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    1. Oh, Joy! Your sweet words meant so much to me today! I am so happy to have met you. You are a wonderful encouragement to me. Please keep in touch. Love, Cheryl

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  2. Hi Cheryl, I love your blogs; they bless me so much. God just brought me here! I was wondering, though, if there is any way I could pin, so I can save your blogs. I need to just get on the computer and print, but I'm so used to my phone! But , anyway, not to worry. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and being a voice for those of us who don't, or can't, express the struggles and joys inside!

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    1. I am so thrilled to get your kind comments! I am so sorry that I do not know how to make it possible for you to pin the blogs, but I am checking into Pinterest to open an account there. Would this help you out with this? I am not the most computer-savvy person in the world, as you can see. :) Your words meant so much to me today. I can't thank you enough! Love, Cheryl

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  3. It's hard to stay put when you want to run. I know that feeling well. So many times I've needed that escape route and, you're right, God is faithful. Thank you for this encouraging post!

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    1. Thank you so much for your posts and comments, as well. I have been over at your blog trying to leave a comment, and our computer isn't cooperating. I'll keep trying! You are such a blessing to me! Love, Cheryl

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  4. I'm so glad you found my blog, because then I "found" you. I truly needed this message today and I feel that was why God led us to meet right now, at this moment in time.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. Praise the dear Lord! He knows exactly what and who we need and when! He works on both ends of a situation for the good of each of His trusting children. I am so glad we "met". :) Love, Cheryl

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  5. I loved your story, Cheryl. And how creative God is and always Him knowing exactly what we need and when. Perfect! Thanks so much for sharing...Looking forward to reading more...

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Sheila! Your encouragement meant so much to me. It is so good to know He is looking out for our needs! Love, Cheryl

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  6. Thank God for His supply for our every need! God is good, isn't He? And He knows our frame, and doesn't allow us to go through anything more than we can bear.

    An excellent way of describing a "different sort of escape route!"

    Lisa
    www.thecourageousjourney.com

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    1. Hi, Lisa! So happy to meet you and thankful for your encouragement. May God bless you in a special way for stopping by. Love, Cheryl

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  7. I had to laugh and cry at your lovely story! God is so good to give us a "Break" just when we need it. The entire day was planned by the Lord. Thank you for sharing your awesome story with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

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    1. Thank you so much, Hazel. Yes, you are right..it was all orchestrated by our Father Who always knows what is best! Lots of love to you, Cheryl

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  8. This was Beautiful!! thanks for sharing!!!

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    1. Oh, thank you so much! Thank you for the wonderful weekly link-up! Enjoy your time at the convention, and have fun!! Love, Cheryl

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  9. 'Escape routes' and 'rescue' and 'Who knows what was hinging on my obedience.' -- thank you for this!
    Visiting tonight from #TellHisStory.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Laura! So happy to meet you. God bless you! Love, Cheryl

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  10. Wonderful post. I could get lost in those wonderful pictures. I think we all have faced a time when running seemed like a good option. I know I have. But with trust in the power of God, patience in the situations, and perseverance all will work out for the better and make us stronger. Visiting from the Wake Up Wed Linky. Thank you for linking up.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such sweet comments behind, Becka! So happy to meet you. You are right...all things will work together for our good, and we will come out stronger on the other side of the trial! God bless you! Love, Cheryl

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  11. This was lovely! I am so thankful He makes us a way of escape whether it is for our protection or for our sanity. Blessings! ♥

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    1. Yes, so am I! What would we do without Him? So happy to meet you today and thankful you stopped by! God's blessings to you! Love, Cheryl

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  12. As always, you have such a wonderful way with words. We are so blessed to have a God who loves us so much that He provides those escape routes for us right when we need them.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, Tamara! You are so right. God is so faithful and merciful to us. He knows when we are nearing our limits. Thank you so much for your kind words today. Love, Cheryl

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  13. God is always so amazing, isn't He! Great post.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by today, Betty. Yes, the dear Lord is truly amazing...so thankful to have Him as Lord of my life! Love to you, Cheryl

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  14. What a blessing that God romanced you by bringing you peace and working in your heart. And what fun that you got to see an opera (even if it wasn't your favorite) God is so good! Thanks for linking up with the faith and fellowship blog hop. If you'd ever like to cohost just email me at susannah.kellogg (at) gmail.com

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    1. Yes, He surely is good! Even in the darkest places, He is faithful to look out for our needs and remove us from situations that prove to be too much for us! I am so thankful for your link-up, and so happy to have "met" you! Love and blessings to you, Cheryl

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  15. This is such a great story and testament to the power and love of God as he shows through escape routes! Loved the post. It was so encouraging!

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    1. Thank you so much, Charlene! I am so happy you stopped by. So thankful to have met you today!! You are a blessing. Love, Cheryl

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  16. such a great post!! thanks for sharing :)
    i think it's a song lyric... but i've always remembered it - "sometimes He calms the storm... sometimes He calms His child"
    even though we may plan for escape routes... God has other plans. sometimes it's needed for us to stay in the storm.. He won't always take the storm away... but He will still give us His strength in the storm!

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    1. Thank you so much, Robyn! YES, I do love that song. I have heard it somewhere...I can't remember who sings it. There is another one, too, about God sees the storm from the other side or something along that line. Thank you for your encouraging words. So happy to have met you today! Love, Cheryl

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  17. I always love visiting and reading all your encouragement even when things are really tough in life. Several years ago I went through issues that were so extreme and stress-filled. Isn't it good that we don't know how much we can take before we cave? I'm thankful that I can't look ahead. I am grateful for the relief in that pressure and that life is peaceful. God's comfort is so sweet and daily I am so thankful for it. Thank you. Cheryl and thanks too for linking up!!

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    1. Dear Judith! It is always such a blessing to see that you have stopped by...I appreciate you so much! Thank you for your kind words and for leaving encouragement behind. I so appreciate your weekly link-up and your life for God! Love you, dear sister!

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  18. "it's best to mind God..."
    Amen. He knows best doesn't He? Even if His best is opera:)
    I loved this...

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    1. YES, you are so right! Sometimes, His best turns out to be things we haven't even thought of! But, it is always the right way to go. He is a faithful God! So happy you stopped by today. Love, Cheryl

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