God's Purpose Will Stand "Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." (Isaiah 46:9-10 NIV) Times of leanness have great lessons to communicate. Even though this was written in humor, there must have been a time of leanness in this man's childhood: "When I was coming up, times were so lean my parents couldn't even afford to pay attention. We would eat rice for breakfast, drink water for lunch, and then just let it swell up for supper. One Christmas all I received for a gift was a tumbleweed for a pet." Leanness comes into our lives in different ways and in "inopportune" times. Those of us who are in constant pain and daily deal with all the stress of chronic illness know our leanness is in physical health and this can easily lead to leanness in emotional and financial health. Is there any purpose to these times of leanness which can bring so much stress to our lives? These difficult times can be used to teach us to trust and obey God and that He alone is to be the object our focus. God knows it is probably more difficult to remain pure, grateful and faithful when times are good and provisions are plentiful because in these times, we often forget that we need to depend on God for everything in our lives. Friends, consider these encouragements from God's Holy Word when pain and illness seem to consume us: 1. God is your all-sufficient source. (Isaiah 46:9-10; Psalm 46 NIV) 2. Your prayers are your lifeline and His delight (Jeremiah 32:27, 33:3 NIV) 3. Leanness is not a curse, but rather a gift. (Psalm 119:71-77 NIV) 4. Value and grateful appreciate may only be possible when we look at things through the lenses of faith and eternal perspective. (Hebrews 10:32-37 NIV) Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to see the value in our difficult times and to remember that you are always faithful to us if we will only believe in your goodness and mercy. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patricia Armstrong lives in Virginia Beach, Va., with her husband, Richard. Patricia is a retired elementary school eacher who enjoys church activities, camping, reading and gardening. She has organized a Chronic Pain and Illness Support Group at her church and prays that God will help all members to believe that God's lessons can be learned from dealing with pain and illness. Compliments of Rest Ministries, serving people Who live with chronic illness or pain.