Often life is hard, but God is always good

Posts tagged ‘discouragement’

Swimming in the Shallow End

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 12.12.01 PMThe Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

I lay back on the hospital bed, trying not to concentrate on my thirst, my hunger, my pain, or my fear. In just an hour or so, the operating room would be ready for me – an add-on surgery patient at the end of the day. After 24 hours of fasting and waiting I would be wheeled in to have my foot opened up toe to ankle for the second time in a week, to fix bones that had popped apart.

As I prayed through the swirl of physical and emotional sensations, I found these words of contrition formed in my mind and I whispered: “Please forgive me for swimming in the shallow end, Lord.”

My personal life wasn’t perfectly smooth, but enough had been going right that I didn’t exercise much faith muscle in my daily activities or decisions. I just did it, as the Nike commercial commands, and then thanked God for the results.

Now, when the fear and pain swelled up into mountainous proportions, I was left with atrophied faith to help me. But I found God’s kindness for my spiritual condition, even as the tears leaked from my eyes and coursed backwards into my ears, I heard His comforting words: “I am with you, even when you are weak.”

This just happened last month. I am still laid up with my foot in a cast and pain and depressive thoughts continue to be my daily companions. Yet, I know that I when I was submerged in the deep end, I came out with a better understanding of the faithfulness of God to be with me, no matter whether I am strong or not.

 

 

What Does it Matter Anyway?

Photo Credit: Zuki  -  Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Zuki –
Creative Commons

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

I confess I get discouraged and weary. I have turned over a new leaf at this time of my life – by God’s grace.  The result of a life of discipleship is a loaded plate – raising children, loving a husband, and reaching out to others with sincere caring.  Sounds good, so why do I feel sometimes as if what I do doesn’t matter much?

It occurs to me that I was an overachiever as a student, finding the kudos of high grades and successful coursework extremely rewarding.  Now I don’t have much back patting.  No high marks, no awards, no letters of commendation.

How do I live without all that?

Several years ago I attended my husband’s Christian counseling conference in Colorado.  On the last evening of the week-long event I arrived early at the entrance to the hotel before the special concert performance and saw a man in jeans, a ratty sweatshirt and an old baseball cap unloading sound and music equipment all by himself from the back of a trailer.  As I made my way past him, I took a second look at his face.  It was our special guest, Michael Card.  The poet-scholar of the Christian music world was schlepping his own gear.

That is reality – We do good because it’s good – valuable for its own sake – not for the praise or recognition it might bring us.

Jesus knew how this worked:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’  Matthew 6: 1-4 (NIV)

Remember that our Heavenly Father sees us, and will reward us in his way, in his time.

 

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: