November 10, 2016

"Unfulfilled Potential" by Sharon Espeseth

We've all have setbacks in life. Often we question why we, as God's people, have to suffer through  tragic illness, cruelty, loss of jobs, death of loved ones and even tragedy. Under such circumstances, we are not averse to complaining to God, and to anyone else who will listen, about our misfortunes. As children of God, should we not get special treatment, we ask.

The Old Testament Book of Habakkuk opens with the prophet complaining to God. "How long do I have to cry out for help before you listen?" Habakkuk grumbles to God about the evil and anarchy he has to look at every day. "Justice is a joke," he tells God, but God is already aware of the goings-on among the Israelites. God has already considered raising up the Babylonians to punish his lackadaisical people. They need to be shown a lesson. (Habakkuk 1:2-3)

Habakkuk continues his dissent and wonders how God will answer his grievances.

God answers, "Write this. Write what you see. WRITE IT IN BIG BLOCK LETTERS so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what's coming." (Habakkuk 2:2-4)*

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God sent this same message to the Hebrews of the Old Testament, to the early Christians and he is sending this message to us today. We all have our trials and tribulations. It still rains on the just and the unjust. Circumstances weren't perfect in the early churches, nor are people above reproach in today's churches. James, in his letter to the churches, has some good lessons for all of us when we are going through tough times.

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors." He advises us not to be in a hurry to get out of the difficulty. "Let it do its work so (we) become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."

James reminds us, "If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help." James   says to pray boldly, believing in what we ask for. We are not to "worry (our) prayers," I have mentioned this before, because I need this reminder. James tells us that we won't get anything from the Master if we are "adrift at sea" and "keeping all (our) options open."  (James 1: 2-8)*

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Like many others, our family has been going through trials and challenges. Rather than groaning and griping, we can pray. Throughout God's word we are encouraged to ask for wisdom and guidance. What we can learn from our trials, can be grist for our writing mills. Although it may take time before we realize the true benefits of our struggles, sharing our stories of coming through deep waters is a testament of praise to God and encouragement to others.

If trials and challenges are considered gifts, read these words from James, "Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light." (James 1: 16-17)*

If we feel called to write, we cannot give up. We may have to shorten or change our writing time. Writing in our journals may feel better for a while than writing for publication. We may have to take on fewer writing assignments, but writing might be the best medicine for our health and for keeping our hope alive.


I will conclude with what St. John XXIII says in this regard, "Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do."

*Scripture passages are quoted and paraphrased from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.


  1. So true, Sharon and I love The Message. :) Marcia

  2. What of the things I really appreciate about your contributions to this blog, Sharon, is the way you always point us back to scripture. I am always uplifted by your posts but i usually have to do some deep thinking and pondering about my life as well. You should consider compiling some of these gems into a little devotional book. thanks for being such a faithful contributor, and thanks for bringing us such posts of substance, too.

  3. I agree with you, Sharon. Writing is wonderful medicine. I often write about the struggles in my life because I find it very healing and sometimes it ends up bringing hope to someone else. Thanks for reminding us what the bible says and for your own words of encouragement.

  4. Yes,Marcia, I love The Messenger, because it has been studiously translated, but Peterson--the scholar still speak in today's vernacular.

    Thanks for your encouraging comments, Tracy, and for your suggestion of putting some of my blog posts in a devotional book. I hadn't thought of that exactly. :-)

    I appreciate your comment, Vickie, about writing being wonderful medicine. When I am dealing with difficulties, I do sort things out on paper, so I am still writing, but it may not be something ready for publication. Quite often, I write my thoughts to God, talking about what is going on in my life, as if he doesn't already know! This is prayer, relationship, love, thanksgiving, confession, prayers of petition and intention. I should be doing this every day.

  5. Thank you so much, Sharon, for your meditation on difficulties and how they fit into the scheme of God's intentions and plans for us, and how He wants us to respond. This will be a good read for me for several days.

  6. I am happy, Sandra, that you have found something to ponder in my ramblings. Blessings to you.

  7. We all have times when we run into difficulties and God invites us to turn to him when we are in despair. We need to take his yoke upon us and and lean on him and learn from him. May the Lord be the main guide for each of us.

  8. Very much a true story for many of us. Good to read some different Scripture verses about it. Situations in life have not changed much since Bible times, but God knew that the answer would be the same and can be found in the Bible. Praise God. Thanks for sharing.

  9. The Bible offers so many universal and timeless truths, something we need to apply in our writing, be it fiction, poetry, or non-fiction, Addy. Thanks for pointing this out.


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