Have you ever gone through something so painful that you literally don't even want to think about it, much less feel it- but it keeps popping up anyway? My life has been that way for the last 4 weeks or so, and it's getting kind of tiring. This post is about how God showed me a way out- at least for today. Right after we lost baby David, we went to California for 2 weeks. It was a great time away from the reality of life, but as soon as we got home, things came crashing in again. While we were out there, my father had a stroke and was hospitalized for 3 days. It was very difficult to be so far away during that time. In addition, I recently found out that a member of our last missionary family to stay with us (in April) has been diagnosed with tuberculosis. I am devastated for her and her family, praying and loving on her from afar- but also concerned about my family. We now have to go to the Health Department and all be screened for TB. Of course, I am most concerned about my kids- and I can't even bear the thought that I might lose another child. So, yesterday I was really struggling with wanting to give it all up. I know my life was empty and crazy without the Lord, but who wants all the pain, attack, stress, and trial that comes with walking with the Lord as He conforms us to His image. For He promises us in I Peter 4: 12-13 that we will have trials. "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." Yeah, wow, some day, the bible promises, I will be "glad, with exceeding joy" about all this. I haven't really been feeling that way about it. I wanted to walk away. Give up on God and the Christian life, and be like everyone else.
Today, I opened my Bible and found Psalm 73. I was at the gym- trying to get a hold again of the commitment to my fitness and health as I promised my Father in January (which I have been struggling mightily with I might add)- and just let my bible fall open. This is what the Lord showed me-
Verses 2-3, 5: "But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped- for I was envious of the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked" This is true- me feet were almost gone into depressions and grief, and the desire to walk away.
I was envious of the world because of verse 5- "They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men". I could wholeheartedly agree with the psalmist in envying that position.
In verses 14 and 16, the psalmist describes perfectly my feelings of yesterday, "for all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning...when I thought to know this, it was too painful for me."
Then, verses 17 and 20 were the wake up call I needed, "Until I went into the sanctuary of God: then I understood their end...as a dream when one awaketh; so, Oh Lord, when thou awakest, thou shall despise their image." God literally despises these people- the image of their lives are of no use to Him whatsoever, nor does He care to try them to allow them to draw closer to Him. The people who are without trial are not loved by the Lord the way those of us who are in the thick of it are. When we envy them, we are as verse 22 states, " So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee." Like an animal- no thought, feeling or life outside of being driven by blind habit and repeated action.
Yet, even in the midst of the harshest thing about this psalm- He again promises His love and care for us. Verses 23-24 state "Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou hast holden my right hand- thou shall guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." He has never left me through this, even when I echoed the psalmists words in verse 26 "My flesh and my heart faileth", but instead promises to be continually with me, holding my right hand, guiding every step with His counsel, and with the the reward of being received into glory.
So now my prayer for today is verses 25 and 29, " Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my tust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works." May I desire Him more than anything, even if it means walking through these trails of faith, trusting He will never let go of my hand, and that these trails are His guiding my life through His counsels. Remembering that even when my flesh and my heart fail, "God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." (verse 26).
Thank you Father.