To a room full of ladies in orange, I asked how many of them were struggling with something in their life right now; many hands were raised. Mine went up as well. Through all the counseling that I go through each week, this is my most talked about issue. “But I’m struggling, Miss Tracey.” The other question I come across is “How do I get it right? My answer to that is “by messing it up.” I think these two things go together because we do things the wrong way first and then we learn how to get it right. This goes for a number of things in our life. But somehow we see someone else doing it right and we think they got it right the first time, which simply is not true.

1 Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you , which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” Then James 1:2 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” Lets not forget what 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen for things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

So, I think what happens is that we struggle with decisions, situations, and people and can’t see God in them because we are looking for things we can see. But God is showing us faith for the things which we can’t see. If we didn’t have the struggle, we wouldn’t look for Him.

The enemy’s job is to get our focus off of Jesus and onto ourselves as if we could solve or make a situation better. The devils’ tactics have not changed; he seeks us to kill and destroy us and our witness for Jesus Christ.  The struggle is part of the victory because as we read in 2 Corinthians 1:2-7 “The God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” When we get comforted by God, we turn around and comfort somebody else who is going through something. It’s like it’s not our comfort to keep, but to give away.

When we are talking about Jesus and His love for us, He is always for the other person. Look in verse 9 of 2 Corinthians 1“Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.” This is the pathway in which we struggle. We may have a will, but Jesus is our power. He doesn’t give us power, He is the power in us, and He works it out in and through us, but it’s never us. God knows we are not giving up easily so He makes it a struggle for us so we will depend on Him. A lady asked us, “When will the struggle end?” The answer was “when they look down in the casket and say, doesn’t she look natural.” Our hope is in Jesus Christ and who He is. That’s our identity, and we trust Him to do what we can’t do for ourselves.




photo by Tracey Lewis
photo by Tracey Lewis

Have you gone through a rough patch lately? Was it today? We have them frequently but it’s how we grow and learn. I know, I don’t like it any more than you do, believe me. If you were going to have heart surgery, but you didn’t want the doctor to cut you open, how do you think the surgery is going to get done? It won’t. Just like if you want to have strong muscles and a fit body, but you don’t want to lift the weights to get the muscles. It’s just not going to happen unless it happens with hard work and diligence. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” I demonstrated what a light affliction looks like by stretching out a piece of yarn across the front row of ladies with a small loop on one end. The loop indicates our life span of approximately 70-80 years. It made a big impact on me the first time I saw this illustration. We think things in our life are a big deal, but God sees it as a light affliction.

The Bible goes on to say in Romans 8:18 “for I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed in us.” There it is again with the suffering and the glory. Maybe it’s about the glory and not the suffering, but the suffering is how the glory comes about?

I want to continue in this line of thinking and bring you to Phil. 2:13 when it says “for it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Can you see how the light affliction is being pulled on us from the outside, but here we can see its God pulling us from the inside. I pray we are listening to the Spirit of God who loves us and desires to live His life in and through us. There will be some suffering, but there is also glory and the glory outweighs the suffering. I can picture the sling shot illustration here.

We are all going through something, just got out of something or getting ready to go into something. It’s good for us to have these trials and temptations because we can “count it all joy knowing that the trying of our faith works patience and when we let patience have her perfect work in us, we may be perfect and whole, wanting nothing. If you lack wisdom, ask God for it. He gives to all generously.” That is what is happening with me through the particular trial I’m in now.

We gave hope to the ladies in jail tonight; they received the truth from all who spoke. That includes, Joyce, Tammy, I and Louie Gigilo. It amazes me how God uses all different people to say the same thing. Christ in you, the hope of glory. There’s that word again; glory.

Listen, if there was any other way we could receive salvation, other than Jesus dying on the cross, don’t you think God would have done it that way? Do you think if there was any other way to have surgery, than to cut a person open, they would do that? See, there are just some things that work the way they work and we trust the one who is doing it in us.

Bucky told me that she heard from God this week. She has always known others to have heard from God, but she didn’t think she was smart enough or worthy for God to say something to her that she would know it was Him; until now. She was not thinking about her son or anything, when a thought came into her mind about writing her son a letter. She knew it wasn’t her thought so she acted on it. God didn’t want her to write the way she would write, but to tell her son how much he means to her and her love for him. She said it was hard to write because, “I wanted to get sideways.” She would erase her rant, and then continue with what the Spirit was telling her. You should have seen her face light up when she told this story to me. “Yeah God,” she said!

All in all, I loved jail tonight. The Lord never ceases to amaze me with all that He does in and through and in front of me. I sure am glad He has me right where He wants me. We wouldn’t have it any other way.