1. God believes in my story!
If Jesus died for me, and me alone, then my story is important to him.
Each day is significant, a piece of my narrative. Each season of my life is a vital chapter.
And God believes I can get through to the next chapter, get out of this experience what I need to.
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
And if this is true, then. . .
2. I have to trust the end of the story.
Sometimes lately I feel like my glory days are over. I am tired and grumpy, and often can’t do what I used to. My husband, who used to seem like the lazy one, runs circles around me. It seems at every point that I am faced with evidence that I fall short. And on top of this, some of my prayers have been answered, but not in the way I imagined, but in a way that has brought me a new set of trials. This makes me feel discouraged.
How different would my attitude be if I believed that the story isn’t over, that the end of the story is still good?
“You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. . . You crown the year with your bounty. ” Ps 65:5, 11
He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion. Phil 1:6
The end of the story is GOOD, because God is righteous. He will be faithful to us. He wants good things for us.
It is like the verse in Eph. 3:20, “To him who is able to give immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.” God certainly gave me more than I could ask or imagine in my marriage, and in other areas. He is the hope, the only hope, for me, and for everyone on earth.
3. Battle negativity. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you. . . . purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:7-10
Joann Acosta just moved to Enterprise. Her husband is in the military, so they had no choice but to move there. There are no churches of our fellowship there. She and her husband drive two hours to be with us. The school systems aren’t good, and she will have to home school. But it is encouraging to see how positive and faithful she is.
“You have to be a glass-half-full kind of person,” she shared in our Women’s Class last Wednesday. She said that whatever comes in life, we have to see it as a great thing, not as a bad thing.
4. God is patient! As I was telling my best friend, Nancy, about the difficulties of growing older and being more irritable, Nancy reminded me of the story of Jonah. Jonah was a selfish grump who didn’t respect God’s will! But God was incredibly patient with him. He saved Jonah when the prophet foolishly ran away, and even endangered all on the ship. He patiently taught Jonah when he got angry about the vine withering, and still didn’t care about the people of Ninevah.
In the same way, God can be patient with me with I am a selfish grump. Since I’ve read this, I’ve seen so many other examples of God being patient. This is so helpful to me right now. After all, “It does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy.” Romans 9:16
5. Pride is a huge stumbling block. It can mess me up. It can impede God’s will. It can be detrimental to others.
Recently I had a critical attitude about something. I shared what I was struggling about with my husband. Later, he made a choice that was affected by what I had told him. I was sobered as I saw how influential bad attitudes can be.
It reminds me of many times over the course of my life when I was sure I was making the right choice, only to realize it was a big mistake. I need to stop being so sure of myself, so indignant when things don’t go the way I think they need to.
“Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.” Prov. 22:4
For our communion service Sunday, Ryan told us to envision ourselves in prison, waiting to be executed because of our crimes of sin. As I did this, the sin I pictured most for myself was pride. I could see clearly how major a sin pride is, and how majorly it defines me.
I am having some struggles right now, but on one level, I thank God for them, because they are revealing my pride as never before, and how repugnant it is. If this helps me be more humble, it will be a good thing.
6. Let Him be my only fuel.
You are the air I breath…your Holy Spirit, living in me.
You are my daily bread. Your very word, spoken to me. (From Breathe by Michael W. Smith)
I need to remember to not work from my own energy. God gives us manna in the morning. . . and all through the day. I need to continually breathe in Christ, settle into His will, and act from that.
7. No pity parties!
As I feel that I can’t do as much as I used to do, it is really hard for me not to feel sorry for myself. “My husband works all day, and he has energy to get with a brother at 9:30 at night,” I tell myself. “I’m a slug next to him.” I can feel like no one needs me anymore.
I was reading the story of Elijah in I Kings 19, about how Elijah ran away from Jezebel and had a big pity party, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
What did God say to Elijah? He didn’t coddle him. He didn’t berate him. He just told Elijah, “Go back. . . ” Even when everything seems like it is falling apart, God wants us to continue trusting and obeying, doing what we are supposed to be doing.