"Why now?', was the question. Why are the tears falling so quickly today without a specific provocation? What turned on the faucet to release the liquid evidence of my hurting heart? That was the question.
The question I ask myself is, "How have I been so successful in the charade that presented as a person who is 'okay' with her life?" Of course, that is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit and the joy of that Spirit within me.
It is the greatest of all wonders that, somehow, while in the midst of living a life of lamentation, I can possess the joy of the Lord. I find it a marathon challenge to live this double, 'groundhog day' life - waking to another day of praising, thanking, and praying, then going on to live through another day followed by a cloud like Pigpen in a Snoopy episode. I go out into the world presenting as this 'strong' woman doing just fine, despite the loneliness and disappointment that eats away at my heart. And the indescribable anger at those who chose theory and personal agenda over evidence and truth.
Still, I can remain joyful - if not happy.
As I look in the mirror and see the torment in the reflection looking back at me, it's beyond my ability to understand how emotional anguish and a joyful heart can reside in the same body at the same time. And yet they do. Some (of the very few) who are close to me may believe they know 'how hard it must be' for me. But these shoes that I wear walking this rocky, briar-laden path aren't shoes you can look at on a shelf and know how they fit.
They are my shoes. The shoes are ugly and uncomfortable and hurt all the time. But the 'in-soul' in the shoes I wear walking through life cushion and support me on my journey. My joyful soul enables me to keep walking even though I am lonely, weary, hurting and incensed at the injustice of the briars I must walk over.
No one knows this daily internal struggle - because I don't tell them.
I am growing angrier with myself and my inability to share this the way I want to. My story is an unlikely one. I know God can be glorified through it, but I have to be faithful to share it. But I don't.
I'm angry at being patted on the head - patronized by those who 'know better.'' I'm angry at the injustice system. I'm hurt by and angry at the waste of my life.
I'm angry at myself for not managing to share my miserable yet incredible story despite wanting to do so. And knowing that is what I am supposed to do.
Maybe it's just a season of anger - at myself.
Even so, I will get up and joyfully go about my day.
Because...the joy of the Lord is my strength.
March 29 Lesson The Loving Pray-er
John 17: 1-21
Again I am at home having solitary Sunday School. I miss being there—the youngest in my class of fellow followers. I miss the opening with prayer requests. The joining with others praying for their concerns and praising God for the week's blessings. But I'm an introvert, and if I am candid with myself, THIS is where I most love to be.
Alone with God. Reading His word. Praying and listening to His Spirit speak to my heart.
For this reason, I find it challenging to argue with the "I don't have to go to church to believe in God." defense for those who choose not to attend. Because I know that it's TRUE -- It is not necessary to be within the walls of a church to believe in, or pray to, or worship God.
If I never stepped inside my church again, I could remain in fellowship with Him. I would be satisfied to pray and read all day, just like the monks. But God calls us to fellowship with other believers so that we can gain strength in Him through the faith of others. He doesn't tell us, "Everybody has the right to believe what they want." (Of course they do. He never removes our free will.) - He calls us to GO and to TELL others so they may believe too, knowing the world would hate us for it, just as they hated Jesus.
He prays in John 17:14-18 for our protection because He has sent us into the same world that rejected Him. He prays that we are sanctified by His Word - the Truth.
I can live as the content introvert, happy to enjoy His presence at home during this quarantine. Pray in my devotions room. Study my lesson in my living room. Type messages on the computer at my desk and reading His Word in bed before rising in the morning or falling asleep at night.
I could say, "Cool God. Now, THIS is something I could get used to." But this is not what He wants. This time is a gift of time, time to rest, rejuvenate, and reacquaint ourselves with Him. It is a gift to those who choose to see it as such. But it is not permanent and is not how He wants us to live - isolated (though with the internet, we're not.)
He wants believers engaged in the world because He wants all to know Him. He wants His believers to deliver the message that we received to others so that they may believe as well.
In Gethsemene, Jesus prayed for those who believed - and He prayed for unbelievers, that they may believe and be saved as well.
Key Verses: John 17:20-21 (TLB)
20 “I am not praying for these alone but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these. 21 My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me."
Sharing God's perfectly timed March 22 Sunday School
His timing is always perfect, always good. And always better when they are shared with others.
16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Have a blessed day!
What if: This global coronavirus is God's answer to the prayers of His people?
What if: We would see ourselves as He does - as rebellious children, refusing to listen to the wisdom of our Heavenly Father.
What if: We would open our Bibles and discover, or re-discover the wisdom contained within its pages.
What if: His people who are called by His Name would collectively humble ourselves before Him in repentance, and pray.
What if: The vaccine and cure are right in front of us but remain hidden in the Bible that we neglect to pick up and read. Or could be discovered in the churches that we have been too busy, tired, or uninterested; or too distracted by the deluge of various entertainments and activities that occupy our time.
What if: We were as attentive to the Creator of the universe as we are to the daily coronavirus updates delivered by 'experts' who merely study the science of His creation and create 'models' to forecast that which they do not know.
What if: We would learn to listen to Him before we fall to our knees, begging for rescue from the desperate circumstances in which we find ourselves.
What if: We give Him the attention He deserves before we are in need.
What if: I would do what I feel Him leading me to do without apprehension or inhibition - consistently sharing the story He's given me so that He may receive the glory for His mighty works?
What if: I would just do it? Boldly. Courageously.
What if: Other believers would join me?
What if: Skeptics and those of little faith would turn to Him and trust Him with their lives?
What if: We would learn that we can trust Him, and learn to obey His commands?
What if: I commit to sharing His word. Every. Single. Day.
What if we all would?