Sunday, June 4, 2017

When It All Gets To Be Too Much

Hey Friend,

As I sit here...not able to do much because I am halfway through six weeks of non weight bearing recuperation after a surgery...a surgery performed to repair or make right an unsuccessful surgery on the same foot, I can't help but be frustrated.   

Now add in a bad fall on crutches (hate those things), battles with my OCD, and the mere feel of clothes on my back driving me crazy because I have a bad case of shingles and yes, I am wondering what next?    

I've tried to stay busy with Redeemer Christian Foundation work, but when you simply can't walk at all, days can get long and cumbersome.  Add in the other stuff, and I admit asking God, through tears, "Why me?"  

I have to say when I read this passage in 1 Corinthians 4: 9-13, it resonated with me.  Here Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth about the Apostles' example of humility.

For I think God has displayed us, the apostles, in last place, like men condemned to die:  We have become a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men.  We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong!  You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!  Up to the present hour we are both hungry and thirsty; we are poorly clothed, roughly treated, homeless; we labor, working with our own hands.  When we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we respond graciously.  Even now, we are like the world's garbage, like the dirt everyone scrapes off their sandals.

Lately, I feel a little bit like a fool for Christ.  I spend a lot of time working for the good of those who are persecuted, yet here I sit disabled while those who pursue selfish desires walk freely about the streets.  

I write so that the world may know Christ, but I am reviled by some and endure slander.  Some days I truly feel like "the dirt everyone scrapes off their sandals."

A couple of good friends have reminded me of some truth as I have occasionally gotten stuck in useless self pity...
1.  For those who persevere God has a special job in Heaven.  

When we get to Heaven we won't simply be sitting on clouds strumming harps, there will be jobs to do and God will reward those who have been good stewards in this world and who have been steadfast through trials.

2.  If you are persecuted, it means you are doing God's work and the enemy is threatened and will come after you with a vengeance. 

Just like the disciples, who were doing God's work and building His Kingdom, were persecuted, so will we be persecuted. The enemy will stop at nothing to thwart holy progress.  If you are persecuted, chances are it means you are making a difference.

3.  There are, indeed, great blessings for those who are steadfast in times of trial.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.  (James 1:12)

Truth is, we may not see the rewards in this lifetime, but as I've gotten older, I've adopted a more eternal perspective.  What I'm doing, how I'm living, why I'm hanging in there when all seems lost is for the crown of life which does not come this side of heaven.

But...O, what joy will be mine when I stand before the throne and pray I hear the words, "Well done good and faithful servant."

Meanwhile, I'll endure these trials for they are but a blink of an eye in the big scheme of things.  These trials build in me compassion, and caring, and a desire to encourage others - and that's not a bad thing at all.  

In fact, trials are necessary, in God's economy, in order to mold us into the likeness of Christ.  So, in this, I will rejoice!

Are you currently enduring a trial?  What do you think God would have you learn from it?  Do you believe He is always present with you and will see you THROUGH and not leave you stuck?  If you haven't out to Him.  He will uphold you with His righteous right hand.

Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive me when I wallow in self pity. Help me to know that there is blessing amidst the suffering.  Enable me to know and experience your constant presence.  Encourage me that these trials are not wasted - that you are building in me character for the eternal role you want me to play.  Build a hedge of safety around me so that the enemy cannot keep me from doing your work.  Keep my eyes focused on you so that I may be steadfast and ultimately be blessed with the crown of life.  From my trials, let me learn compassion, love, and caring and give others the gift of encouragement in their hour of need.  I ask all these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Be blessed...

ps.  Thanks to all of you who have prayed for me, sent notes of encouragement, and gone out of your way to let me know that I am cared about.  I am truly grateful!!  You are blessings amidst the trials!