Saturday, March 24, 2018

in trying times

This year has been a doozy so far.  Already we are reaching the end of March and I can’t seem to keep up with the rest of the world.  Why?  Well, I’m still technically sick.  (Yes, since January!)  I've been dealing with breathing, coughing, and autoimmune issues.  I've been meeting more doctors with more medicines and tests.  I've been trying to keep my head above water... Trying to take care of myself...  Trying to take care of my family...  Trying to love...  Trying to give...  Trying to stay positive, hopeful, driven...  Problem is, sometimes my trying can be so trying.  Sigh.

Sometimes life is just too big... too overwhelming to take on... too much to process and follow through.  Sometimes it seems easier to just curl up and hide under the covers and hope nobody will find you “slacking” away.  (But thank God for a little slack, right?!!!)

I know I’ve not written much to y’all this year.  I know my plate is fuller than I can normally handle with work and commissions still waiting for my completion.  I know I’ve been a hard friend to meet with for lunch or dinner.  I know. I know.  I know.

To this I acknowledge... The enemy loves to overwhelm us, doesn’t he?  He strives to make us feel isolated, broken, alone.  This year, he has been chipping away at me... and the Lord has allowed him to take much.

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about the beginning of the book of Job.  How God confidently tells Satan to look at Job’s dedication.  That no matter how much Satan would interfere with his life, God knew Job would remain faithful and trust the Lord.  Seriously, read Job 1:1-12.  It's almost mind boggling to see how confident God is in His servant.

Of course, Satan jumped at the chance to derail and upset everything... Very quickly God allows much to be taken away from Job’s comfortable life.

But what does Job do after bleakness and tragedy strike?

Does he stop living?
Does he give up?
Does he blame and hate God for all his sorrows?

No, rather he immediately falls down in worship and acknowledges...

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. 
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” 
(Job 1:20)

How much have you lost in this life?  How difficult are your trials to carry?

The good news is, Jesus is able to take our heavy loads and walk with us through each obstacle and storm.  He calls us to abide in Him.  He invites us to surrender our pride upon His altar.  He promises us His peace... not the peace of this world, but rather a peace found in His lasting holy presence.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 
I do not give to you as the world gives. 
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  
(John 14:27)

This year, I am slow.
My health is “iffy”.
My heart is heavy.
My life is messy and uncomfortable.

But, friends, my hope remains secure in The Redeemer.  I know that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. (See Ecclesiastes 3.)  I know that my Master's promises are true and unchanging.  I know that I am exactly where He planned for me to be within this crazy 2018.  Heavenly Father, keep me in tune with Your steps.

I am fully aware that Satan's objective is to wear me down physically while overwhelming my emotions, and bankrupting my spirit. He taunts me to surrender. He preys on me to blindly accept that all my very personal road blocks of pain and hardship are chronic and permanent obstacles unable to be overcome.  Always highlighting my certain ruin, he compares me with others - pointing out how ignorant, ill-equipped, and pathetic I measure in model.  Then he deserts me at my lowest low.  Positioning himself just far enough away to keep me festering in lonely misery.  Waiting for me to give up, defeated.

He mocks...

"There is no hope.”
“Your future will always be bleak.”
“You might as well accept that you are stuck.”
“Nothing will ever change.”
“Why bother to care/try?”
“You are all alone.”
“You do not matter.”
“Life is pointless.”
“You never asked to be born in the first place.”
“Surely death is better than this.”
“This world does not suit you.”

But the truth is, there is only one road Satan travels down: Death.
There is only one outcome the enemy knows: Destruction.

Jesus approaches each of us, however filthy and worn down we may be, and asks our consent to wash us clean... to repair our fractures... to quench our thirst… to feed our hunger… to medicate and restore us to a new, holy health we thought impossible.  The Creator of all things, in His mind-blowing grace, meets us inside our humanity and humbly requests permission to fix our failures.  He astounds us with unpredictable servanthood and challenges us with untamed possibilities.  Yes, His is the hope in which I cling to through this difficult year.  For His is the only Way to proceed each and every day.

I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants - but let them not turn to folly.  Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.  (Psalm 85:8-13)

To this end, I would like to share with y’all a daily prayer that I continue to recite.  In fact, it is stamped on the first page of my beloved Bible.  I hope that it might be useful to anyone who finds life to be a bit “trying” these days.

My Daily Prayer
Lord, give me the grace to care without neglecting my needs;
The humility to assist without rescuing;
The kindness to be clear without being cold;
The mercy to be angry without rejecting;
The prudence to disclose without disrespecting my privacy;
The humor to admit human failings without experiencing shame;
The compassion to give freely without giving myself away.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Give me strength this new day to fulfill Your purpose.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:17-18)

Friends, we were created for such a time as this... and in His perfect timing, we will be refined to His holiness.

God bless us, everyone!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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