He Is the Storm (as well as the calm)
Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to you. I've been on sort of a vacation back to my home town (Rome, GA) and just now getting back.
I echo what you say, different circumstances but much the same.
You mention the adversities that in a sense "mold us" into the compassion of God, and I think that is exactly it. And in that "molding" we are not separate from Him in it, as if somehow we are "becoming" like Him, but rather it is He in us experiencing and living out the "molding" of us, AS us, the whole time. This is for me the most astounding thing and the ultimate gift of grace.
I think you are right, you can't "die to self." (We can do nothing of ourselves.) But in Christ through the Cross we have died (by grace as a gift through faith) to the false self and risen to the new and true self, which is not just an improved version of our former selves, but selves which first of all have been cleansed of the offense (spirit of sin/satan) and made new in God by His entrance into our selves and so making Himself (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), one self with us. Now it is this new self that has risen, which isn't just me nor just Him, but He and I as one person living, the human self remaining weak and powerless while operating in the grace and power of the Divine Self living in us.
The "false self," the self that seeks for its own, has died in the cross and we need give it no further consideration, because we are of the resurrection and the new self is now Christ and I as one person, He in me, me in Him, and that self no longer seeks for its own. That is who we now are, and if there is a "death to self" it is to cross the faith threshold just here at this point, to say that that old self no longer exists, even if tempted by every evidence to the contrary, and that now the only "self" that lives in me is now Christ in me in union with my human self so that both are the same, and He has come NOW to dwell in me and live in me and be the Real Life within my human life. In other words, by His choosing He has chosen to reach the world by means of me as I am, and by means of you as you are. And I no longer attempt to do anything to produce something which He has already done. I praise Him for it and rest in His doing.
I have been very much in your financial predicament, too, and I know you already know you can trust Him there. He's all of it, actually. The whole shebang. For me that's when I saw love overflowing everything everywhere. You hit the nail on the head with the storm story. He's everything in the story, including the storm. The whole thing is love, and the whole thing is transacted within us all. We are the petrified disciples, and we are individually those who find Christ within our boat, within ourselves, and we find ourselves one with Him in us as He and I as one person pronounce calm to the storm. And later on we realize He was the storm, too.
There is nothing that separates us from God, who is above all, through all, and in all. Jesus paid the whole price for our complete redemption and reconciliation (nothing further owed!), and in the Father's eternal acceptance of the Son's sacrifice for us, we find ourselves one person with Him in the Father and filled with the Spirit, making us co-heirs with him, and this is too astounding for our minds to comprehend, that we are sons of the Father who are counted as friends and equals with the One who bought us all.
Thanks again for writing, ______, you are very open. I'm sure you have been and continue to be God's blessed light in your world.
all my love,