Keys that helped me get through difficult times....
by Ruby Underwood
My husband, Sy, and I have pastored churches for about 30 years. We’ve faced allot of challenges. During a difficult
transition of having to leave a church and move from the parsonage quickly I was packing our household goods and
was also struggling with the adversity. At times I would just have to stop and cry and pray. Other times I sat down at
the computer and typed letters and then delete them. I felt betrayed and hurt and angry. Then one day while is was
packing up some of our belongings in the dining room I was just wanting to call someone or write another letter - not
necessarily retaliation - but just wanting someone to hear and understand our side of the deal. I just blurted out to
the Lord, “Lord I submit myself to your grace.” And as I made that statement I felt big loads lifted off of me. The
awesome presence of the Lord just flooded me! I was amazed. After that there were more times that I would just
confess to the Lord, “Lord, I submit myself to your grace.“ If I was angry, it would cease. If I was sad, I would feel
better. So I just kept doing it every time I needed help.
The basis for this is found in the Word in James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God, Resist the devil and he will
flee from you.” Submitting to God is giving God an opportunity to flood you with His grace. His grace is sufficient. His
grace is there to under gird you and help you do the things you need to do. His grace will help you get unstuck so to
speak to be able to move forward. Grace is LEANING HARD on HIM!
What is grace all about? You humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. What does He do? He exalts you. He
lifts you up. Paul recognized this, “I rejoice in my weakness.” Why? So the power of God can rest upon me. When
I'm weak then He’s strong. It’s not a bad confession to say that you’re weak in some areas. No! In our humility we
open the door to let the grace of God and His enabling power to come in and make us strong. Keep it simple. “Jesus
loves me this I know ….. I am weak but HE IS STRONG.” He’s our Anchor, our Strong Tower.”
God has not called us to go alone. He says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” We just need to be willing to
reach up and take His Hand. We cannot allow arrogance and self-sufficiency to fill our hearts and our minds and
then we get to thinking that we can handle it by ourselves. We are dependent. We are dependent on Him. We need
Him in our lives.
I can understand a little of what David may have meant whenever he said “If the Lord would not have been my help,
my soul would have settled in silence” Psalm 94:17. Do you know what a silent mind is?
- No more dreams
- No more creative thoughts
- Just can’t think straight
- No more hope. Hope is taken away.
- Not making the necessary decisions to do what’s right and go forward
- No joy
- No celebration
- No peace
- Destiny being stopped; not fulfilled
The devil wants to shut us up. Silence us. Get us to stop, quit, give up…. But we don’t have to stop here in the
midst of the problem. We can walk through and walk through in victory!
David also said in Psalm 27:13, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the
Lord in the land of the living.”
Amplified: “What would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the
What would have happened to me if I had not believed? People loose heart because they don’t believe. We can’t
stop believing. We have something we can hold on to. God’s plans and purposes for us are for good. “For I know
the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
“ [Jer. 29:11]
People need to see the goodness of God. They’re not going to see it just because we’re bringing them to church.
They need to see Jesus in our everyday life. Jesus did not do a majority of His miracles in a church service. He did
His miracles in everyday life. They were interruptions in His schedule. As He was coming, as He was going, people
came to Him and he stopped and He had what they needed. And in our lives we have got to have something that
I would have lost heart unless I would not have believed. Yes my faith was stretched. But that’s how we grow.
Resistance training helps the muscles in your body get stronger. Adversary and resistance helps our faith get
stronger and grow. It’s not weak people who walk with Jesus. It is strong men and women that walk with Jesus.
Those times when you feel weak? Those are the times to lean hard on the Lord. At times you just need to lean
harder on the Lord, He doesn’t break. We can lean harder on the Lord because He won’t break!
Consider also “If you have faith as the grain of a mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain be thou removed and
nothing shall be impossible unto you.“ [Matt 17:20] That’s not allot of faith. Doesn’t look like allot. But it’s not my
faith or your faith. [Misplaced faith] It’s not who we are or are not. It is about Him and His strength and His ability. In
Him I live and move and have my being.
I would have lost heart unless I believed… “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart.”
Implosion is when the pressure on the outside is greater than the strength that’s on the inside. It’s a cave in. A lot of
people right now are caving in. They’re imploding because of what’s happening outside - the pressures of life, the
pressures of the economy, the worry…. But I believe the GREATER ONE lives on the inside of me. “Greater is He
that is in me than He that is in the world” Do you believe that? If you really believe that the GREATER ONE is on the
inside of you then it doesn’t matter what the pressure is on the outside. We won’t have to cave in because we
“Let us not grow weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9) Don’t grow
weary. Don’t give up. Don’t get tired. Don’t quit. Don’t go around being “ready to throw in the towel.” Why?
Because there are people out there that need us to be ready to help them, pray for them, give them a word of
encouragement, say a prayer for them. Just like Jesus had daily interruptions where He stopped and ministered to
someone that needed His touch. He was ready at all times. We have to be ready. We have to encourage and
strengthen ourselves in the Lord. Stir ourselves and stir others up to doing good works.
We have got to have joy. Joy is not the absence of problems but it is remembering and encouraging ourselves in the
Lord. When you see others depressed or worried about what’s going to happen, what do you do? You have joy.
You have peace. You have some answers. That’s when your light is shining in darkness. Your light is shining and
others can see that. Be a beacon of light and a beacon of hope to the world!
As sons and daughters of the Host High God we have to remember - “For we know that all things work together for
good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). At the time we’re
going through something it may not look like this is going to work for our good. We may not understand it at the time.
We may question “Why Lord” or “This isn’t fair.” What the devil wants us to believe is a SET BACK is actually a SET
UP. God is always up to something in our lives. He’s getting ready for some good things to happen. He’s getting
ready for things to turn around in our lives. He has some good things up ahead.
In our lives and ministry God had to shift us from one place to another place to get us to where we could be free to
function and be able to be and do and have those things He desired for us. There’s a process always going on in our
lives. There may be some bad things happening in our lives but God guarantees ultimately good results. This is
most likely including the maturation of our character. We read on in verse 29: "For who he did foreknow, he also did
predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Verse
30: "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and who
he justified, them he also glorified.”
God has a plan for our lives and it’s a plan that He wants to be fulfilled. God’s plan for our lives is to be conformed,
be made to look like Jesus. Our lives are to be giving glory to God. What are we to learn from this? God will allow
certain things to happen in our lives. Things that you don’t understand when it happens that He will use - I’m not
talking about good things. I’m talking about bad things, negative things, things that make you weak, that rip your heart
out and tear at your guts and you say, “This is not fair. This is not right.” And yet you have to understand that your
God is a strategist. And it’s a sign that in the midst of things that seem crazy and don’t make a lot of sense, it’s a sign
that all things work together for our good to them that love the Lord, who are the called according to His purpose.
God is up to something…. His plan is to work all things out for our good and for His Glory!
If I had not been afflicted, I would have never known the power of God. It was in the midst of this major storm that I
experienced and received a BIG MEGA-DOSE of God’s grace. And in finding that place I wanted to just abide there.
Instead of just visiting or just a visitation I moved into a place of abiding in God grace. Find out about God’s abiding
GOD HAD SOMETHING GOOD IN MIND…
Why did we have to go through that shift? That uprooting of our lives and our family? The adversity and all that went
with that? Sure we wanted to quit, leave and give up. GOD WAS DEFINITELY UP TO SOME THINGS. He has some
good things up ahead for us to walk out. Had we given up, ran, or thrown in the towel because of opposition we
would have missed out on these God blessings and God opportunities that he had planned for us. God’s ways are
always higher and better than our own ways. Always!
Joni Eareckson Tada has said, “But I’m so grateful God reduced me to ashes in this wheelchair. In my weakness I
have discovered Him to be stronger. The stronger I discover God to be the more resolute I am in this job He’s given
me to do.”