The past three weeks have been challenging.
Mr. Marvelous hurt his back and is still not able to go back to work. We are thankful that he did not blow a disc and does not need surgery. We are concerned about the four areas of his spine that show some significant deterioration. While we were waiting to have the MRI and then to get the results (it took a total of two weeks to go through that process), there were a LOT of other significant things going on in the family.
My oldest nephew had a tree fall on him, breaking multiple ribs and cracking his sternum. He is now home from the hospital, and we are hopeful that he will be strong enough to start PT soon....
Another nephew and his wife had their fifth child four weeks early. While the baby had a great birth weight, his lungs were not ready for the world. Our precious little Judah had to be life-flighted to another hospital and put in the NICU. As of last night, he is off all oxygen, feeding tubes and IVs. His brother and sisters are looking forward to getting him and his Mama home!
It has been a very busy time. And always, in the back of my mind, was the temptation to start the "What if...?" game. I'm big on "What if....?" I used to be a nurse, and one thing our instructors taught us was to always be prepared for worst-case scenarios, thus encouraging playing that game. "What if...?" is not a good game in my personal life. It leads me down the road of frantic worry. It robs me of my trust in God's grace, goodness, mercy and provision. It makes me focus on MY ability to take care of situations and problems and directs me away from HIS faithfulness to take care of my needs. God gave me a wonderful gift this month. He gave me the gift of being able to say, "It's not time for that particular worry. I'll deal with that one when the time comes. In the meantime, I have things I have to take care of today, so Worry, you are just going to have to be folded up, put back in that drawer, and the drawer will stay shut until we get that information from the doctors. Then I will deal with you!" More than being able to say it, I was even able to do it.
I have wondered why and how that has happened. It certainly is not my nature.
Is it because the past couple of months have been a time of being more focused on spending time with God and listening to Him? Is it because I have been more diligent about making sure I am reading and thinking about Scripture each day? Is it because I have been studying about "taking every thought captive"? Is it because I have been checking the boxes and doing things? In other words, is it because I have done something to earn God's favor and help?
Diligence in exercising Christian disciplines is vital to Christian life and our growth. When I am spending time reading and studying God's word, it does help my mind and heart to stay focused on HIM, rather than on me and my circumstances. But earning God's favor and help? No! The purpose of Christian disciplines (prayer, Bible study, corporate worship, meditation, generous giving, etc.) is not to earn favor or be more special to God than the next person. The purpose of Christian disciplines is to make me more like Christ, and therefore bring glory to God.
Developing these disciplines has not been easy for me. It has been very challenging! It has had to start with me crying out to God and confessing that I don't even have a desire to develop these in my life. I have been begging God to change my heart and give me the desire. Did you catch that? I'm so pathetic that I don't even have godly desires!
Guess what? My God not only hears my prayers, He answers them! HE is working on my heart and is giving (that's a work in progress, not a completed work) me a desire to spend more time with Him. He is captivating my heart and my mind so that it stays more focused on Him, rather than on me. It's not a quick and easy journey, this Christian life.
Life is still hard. Evil is still rampant. The news is still depressing. Bad things still happen to good people.
He is still my God. He still loves me. He still keeps His promises. And while I can look around and be sad and get frustrated and even angry about the wickedness of the world, it's OK. I read the end of the book.
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. Revelation 22:12-21
Come, Lord Jesus!