That One Time All the Power Ran Out Everywhere

If any time earned the title for a crisis, it was this one.

The country’s petrol pumps had run dry. Power cuts increased to 16 hours a day. Gas for cooking was unavailable for purchase. Rice, milk, and even water were in short supply.

The electricity was off when we woke up and when we went to bed and would come some time in the night. The comforting glow of our bedside heater would wake me up, and I would fall asleep again with a smile. But it wouldn’t last long.

Since the first month we arrived and the earthquake rocked this nation and forced us out of our new home, I had been operating in survival mode. My husband urged me, “It will all be over soon. We have to keep pushing.”

And we did, for months, through thousands of aftershocks, through protests, and essential good shortages. Sleep deprivation fueled the turmoil in my heart about the issues at hand. Apparently, moving across the world and surviving major natural disasters is a little much for a 3 month new baby and 3 year old girl.

I walked miles from the coffee shop turned classroom to get home to them every day. All I could do once I got there was fire up the hot plate to make dinner before the power cut. I then collapsed on the couch to be a toddler jungle gym/baby-feeding station for the rest of the evening. I felt guilty about my perceived shortcomings as a mother and my inability to summon the energy to love them better, to be more patient with their tendencies to act like the babies they were but wouldn’t be for much longer.

Some days were better, and we would find a taxi that was powered by black-market petrol. We would give the exorbitant price required to just rest in the backseat. I almost always fell asleep. Like the country I lived in, I was running out of fuel.

The whisperings of my soul settled my ever-anxious heart. “My power knows no limits. My peace is in abundant supply. I’m carrying you, dear daughter.”

I was tired enough to believe it.

And I was hopeful enough to believe that the Lord brought us here for such a time as this, though accepting my reality became increasingly difficult with each passing day.

I didn’t speak the language yet. We didn’t have a ministry. What sense could be made of our rejection to enter the country where we had planned to serve only to be thrown into this strange place days before it erupted into chaos?

I felt much like I imagine the widow to have felt in 1 Kings 17. She had next to nothing, far less than I had at this time. She thought she would eat her last food ration and die, and God sent Elijah her way to FEED. How encumbered she must have felt by this seemingly impossible task! Though the promise of further sustainment by the hand of the Lord seemed too good to be true, in faith, she obeyed and served this stranger the tiny cake he requested.

Making that small pastry took big faith, and this otherwise deceased and forgotten woman lived for many more days on the promise fulfilled and is remembered still today. Her flour and oil didn’t run out, and I can only imagine how her faith must have grown. Certainly her opportunities to serve those hurting in her community abounded.

Like the widow’s pantry, my puddle of power refilled each day just as I thought it would run dry. My faith grew as did my opportunities to serve those whose worldly sources of power had depleted. I couldn’t offer petrol or cooking gas, but I shared the hope within me supplied by the power of the God-man who defeated the grave. My babies turned out just fine, too, if not better than they would have apart from this period of going without.

I earned my sleep those days. I earned my acquired language. I think I may have even earned veteran cross-cultural servant status after just a few months. I was praised by onlookers for my perseverance despite undesirable circumstances, but I knew where the power came from. I couldn’t rightfully take credit, though, truthfully, at the end of each day, I wanted to give myself a high-five and a bowl of ice cream.

The joy of the Lord was my strength. The God who says, “Behold, I am the God of all flesh” abides inside of me and reminds me gently that nothing is too hard for Him (Jer 32:27). He lifts the feet I drag along on dreary days and propels my hands to serve. Hopeless day after hopeless day, He has shown me my lack of faith in His capable hands by doing nothing other than holding me there.

I lift the hands He’s filled to praise Him for my cup that, against all odds, runs over.

~~~

What challenges in your setting have made it difficult to trust God’s sufficiency?

How have you seen Him provide the power you need each day?

5 Comments

  1. MaDonna October 20, 2016

    “The joy of the Lord was my strength. The God who says, “Behold, I am the God of all flesh” abides inside of me and reminds me gently that nothing is too hard for Him (Jer 32:27). He lifts the feet I drag along on dreary days and propels my hands to serve. Hopeless day after hopeless day, He has shown me my lack of faith in His capable hands by doing nothing other than holding me there.
    I lift the hands He’s filled to praise Him for my cup that, against all odds, runs over.”

    Thank you. You’ve penned what my heart is trying to cry out. We had a major typhoon this summer rip through our city while we were in the States. Our roof was taken off. My husband had to make an emergency return trip (which, of course, we didn’t have the money for) to make decisions. We had great friends and the Lord provided a team who was already cleaning up the mess. We didn’t loose as much as we could have, but there was loss. I just returned last week. The roof is “fixed” as best as it will be. Crates of books and piles of stuff have been waiting for me to sort. With jet lag, I have felt overwhelmed and out of power – but as I look back at this week, God has helped me homeschool the kids and work on 1-2 crates a day. So, though I may not “feel” it, I am moving forward – by his grace and power. BUT, I need HIS joy…so, I’ll be digging out the notecards that I did see yesterday and write out verses about his JOY to hang up. AND turn up the volume on my playlist of praise songs and hymns.

    1. Amber Taube October 22, 2016

      Wow, that sounds so difficult! We had to move all our stuff AGAIN 10 days after moving here bc of the earthquake! We lost some stuff, but we were all safe and thankful. Moving again with jet lag and all the adjustments with two little ones was tough, but God was faithful just as He has shown Himself in this time with you. Sounds like you are doing all the right things, and I am so encouraged by your testimony.

  2. Elizabeth October 21, 2016

    Good for you, surviving when all the power ran out everywhere! I don’t deal well with some of the power running out some of the time!

    1. Amber Taube October 22, 2016

      It’s definitely not easy for any amount of time. We are thankful that most of the issues have been resolved, and we have figured out how the day to day living works. God always supplies what we need.

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