Forwarded by Teresa Hodge
May 6, 2017, with frustration with failing lose the 10 pounds before the end of April, that I had promised myself, I looked at the list of missions-related responsibilities I had on my plate. Whining and eye rolling when even one more task came to my mind, then reading this scripture:
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at your from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get our of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-4 The Message
After several days of “marinating in those words from God,” I was reminded of the following story:
Darlene Deibler Rose writes in Evidence Not Seen the story of her four years in a Japanese internment camp. She spent weeks in solitary confinement with very little food and much harsh treatment. One day with real effort she climbed up to look out a window to watch some prisoners in the courtyard and saw a woman grab some bananas from a hand that shot through a tangle of vines while the guard’s back was turned.
Darlene began to crave bananas. “Lord, I’m not asking You for a whole bunch like that woman has. I just want one banana.” She looked up and pleaded, “Lord, just one banana.”
Then she began to rationalize. How could God possibly get a banana to her through those prison walls? She would never ask the guard. She bowed her head again and prayed, “Lord, there’s no one here who could get a banana to me. Please don’t think I’m not thankful for the rice porridge. It’s just that–those bananas looked so delicious!”
The next morning, she heard officers coming. “Lord,” she prayed, “officers are coming. Give me strength to make a proper bow.” But with her guard was Mr. Yamaji, a camp commander, where Darlene had previously been imprisoned.
He said, “You’re very ill, aren’t you?” After a few words he and the guard left. Then it hit her. She had forgotten to bow. She heard the guard coming back and knew he was coming back to beat her.
He opened the door, walked in, and laid at her feet–bananas! “They’re yours,” he said, “and they’re from Mr. Yamaji.” Darlene sat down stunned. She counted them. There were 92 bananas.
Darlene said, “In all my spiritual experience, I’ve never known such shame before my Lord. I pushed the bananas into a corner and wept before Him. ‘Lord, forgive me; I’m so ashamed.” He answered back in her heart, “That’s what I delight to do, the exceeding abundant above anything you ask or think.” She knew in those moments that nothing is impossible with God.
Thank you, Lord, for the reminder that tests and challenges are “sheer gifts,” and that your grace is more than sufficient to meet the challenges!