Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cast Down But Not Destroyed

I worried this week.  The Bible says that we are to let our requests be made known to God (with thanksgiving) and "the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ our Lord."  (Philippians 4)  But instead of praying and trusting God, I became stoic.  I tried to endure through my own strength.

This results in worry.  Stoicism is not effective at either bringing peace or glorifying God.

Annie Dillard said, "Something is everywhere and always amiss."  That seems an accurate description of our life right now.  In the last week, our van broke down and needed significant repair, the additional vehicle my parents had lent us mysteriously stopped running, the WP got sick with a bad cold or flu and threatened to need the doctor (no health insurance since he lost his job).... and other things I won't list...  We are definitely cast down, despite his new job starting next week.  There are so many details to handle regarding that change, let alone other things that have cropped up.

Thankfully, despair is not something I engage in as a general rule.  I have seen the Lord's action in my life enough times to know He is going to take care of us.  But I do get tired of dealing with one thing after another.

In Hebrews 4, Paul instructs us to fear lest we come short of the promise of entering into His rest.  Some do not enter because of unbelief.  That would be me in the last week.  

"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  Let us therefore labor to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."  (Hebrews 4:9-11)

God sees our hearts.  He can look inside me and know that I have not rested in Him this week.  Unbelief makes it hard for me to patiently work and wait, resting in the Lord rather than enduring through my own strength, in the face of continued hardship.  What am I not believing?  I know He will ultimately take care of us!

But maybe I lack faith to trust Him for the rescue of the moment when strength fails and I am tempted to cry in frustration.  He is sovereign over our moments as well as our entire lives.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

And Paul said in 2 Corinthians:

"Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."  

This time is not forever.  That is hard to believe in the midst of struggle, but the difficulty doesn't make it less true.  These scriptures comfort me and point me toward my Saviour.  I pray the words of this old hymn:

"Now in Thy praise, eternal King, be all my thoughts employed
While of this precious truth I sing, cast down but not destroyed."

Lord, let me not be stoic.  Help me to depend not on my own determination, but to rest faithfully in my Saviour.  He overcame the biggest struggle I ever had or will have, and can handle the smaller ones too.

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