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My Own Doing | Michelle Myers
S~ Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Lamentations 3:20 (NIV)
O~ Jeremiah was in anguish when he wrote these laments, and watched the suffering of God’s people, and the devastation of Jerusalem and the temple. Watching all of this for such along period of time, had him questioning God. He knows why things are the way they are, but I get the feeling that he questions the lengthy endurance of these consequences.
A~ Oh, how I have been there! Sometimes I understand why things are the way they are, and sometimes nothing makes sense. That includes the length of time it takes for me to go through something. I can easily get impatient and question your loyalty in these times. However, I am learning more and more that there are better ways of handling endurance.
First, I have to stand in the truth that You did not forget about me, and You did not forsake me. No matter how I feel, no matter how things appear, I have to choose to believe You are with me and You are working things out for good. Second, I need to work on accepting what I am going through, and take the time needed to go through it. I tend to get impatient and pout and throw a tantrum when things don’t go my way or take longer than I like. Then I disconnect myself from You. Which brings me to the third thing, and that is do whatever I need to….read, listen to music, read scripture, listen to a sermon, etc……to stay connected to You.
A lot of times, it is my own doing, in the way I handle issues, trouble, and disappointments that make it appear that You have forgotten me or forsaken me. I need to own it, take responsibility for it, and correct it.
P~ Thank you God for Your patience with me. Please continue to work on me, so that I am able to reciprocate that, and be a better example.
Will I Stand With Them? | Robin Laney
S~ And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. Revelation 15:2 (ESV)
O~ What a vision that must have been. This beautiful sea of glass and fire surrounded by a multitude of saints playing harps and singing praise to God, the Song of Moses. And, at the same time knowing that God’s final wrath is about to be poured out on earth.
A~ When I read this, my first thought was that these people had made it. They had endured the trials of this life, their testimony and faith had conquered the beast, their steadfastness had kept them from taking his number. What strength and courage. Thinking about what it took to get there had me wondering how I would handle such a difficult trial. I had a vision of my family starving to death and suffering greatly due to the choice not to take the mark. It was hard to see. Would my faith stand? Would the members in my family have the resolve needed to endure? Would it split us? Would I doubt my choice? Would I give in? Would we make it?
It seemed easy, in that moment, to say to myself, “Yes! I can’t imagine making any other choice.” Then a relational issue in our home shattered my confidence. With one interaction, I fell to my flesh and the ugliness of my own heart came out like some kind of scary creature. There went living by the Spirit! There is nothing like conflict in life to bring out the true condition of one’s heart. It’s easy to be kind and generous and feel strong and courageous when everything is cruising along smoothly and going my way. Today was a stark reminder that I am a work in progress and that I have a long way to go. Facing down persecution will require much more self-control and obedience than the small conflict that transpired in our home today. I might never face persecution for my faith but God might ask me to do something far beyond my abilities, outside my comfort zone, and extremely difficult and I need to be fully prepared. I want to stand, in the end, with those witnesses who lived faithfully to the very end.
P~ Thank You, Lord, for Your sweet grace. I hate the ugly moments when my flesh takes over. I hate, even more, the feeling afterwards. Feelings of failure, inadequacy, unworthiness. And then the dread of facing the conflict resolution; utterly humbled, asking for forgiveness. As much as I hate the process, the result of it is always growth. Conflict exposes my weaknesses and, though painful, in the end I am thankful for it. Help me to grow from here, Lord. Prepare me for tomorrow’s conflicts and hardships. Thank you for Your mercy today.