Thursday, May 17, 2012

For the Faint of Heart

I thought that I was convinced that life is not for the faint of heart - for those who cannot endure hardship and tragedy and pain. That we must be strong enough to push through the hardships of life and strong enough to even doubt and deny the pain that we are going through just so that we can be seen as "fearless" or "courageous" or perhaps even more "spiritual" than those who obviously struggle through the pain of life.

Then I realized that life really is for the faint of heart, those who are too weak to fight through the battles of every day and those who are too tired to press on through the struggles, tragedies, temptations, and despairs of life.

For Jesus says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9); I echo Paul, "For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10). And I rest in Christ's promise to me: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

Life can be hard. There is no reason to deny the heartaches and the struggles that we all face. It is not a more "spiritual" act to deny and ignore the struggles and the pains of life. No, I am convinced that it would be more "spiritual" to admit, with Paul, that we are weak, that we are tired, that we need the Lord's grace and strength to fight the daily battles of life and to press on without giving up.

""Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Change can be hard. There is no reason for me to deny that the changes that I have come home to are not sometimes hard or painful or a struggle for me. I am convinced that it would be better for me to admit that I am faint at heart, that I need His grace and His strength to not only accept the change, but to embrace it without cynicism or fear or doubt of His goodness and graciousness towards His own.

It is in relinquishing the control that is already His that I find freedom. It is in opening up my hands and letting go that I find an inexpressible peace. It is in taking those now open hands and embracing my Father that I find an insurmountable joy that my heart truly cannot contain. Sometimes my heart overflows its joy into what I call "excitement chills"; they happen once in a while, as those closest to me can attest to. It happened tonight as I was driving through the beautiful country, reminiscing about the past and dreaming about the future that the Lord has for me. I was thinking of all of the "broken puzzle pieces" that seem to make up parts of my life and how those very things are being used to create a beautiful picture of redemption and of love and of hope - His redemption and His love and His hope. I cannot see the big picture; I cannot see the heavenly realms and what the Lord's purposes are in what He does and in what He allows. But I can trust that He is sovereign over all and that He uses broken and humble and weak and tired people to accomplish His purposes - for it is in these kinds of people that He is able to reveal His glory most... for all will know that it is His grace and His strength that deserve the credit. Amen. May all glory be given to Him, to Whom it is due.

Yes, life is for the faint of heart. There is hope in the despair. There is a constant in the change. There is a foundation in the earthquakes. There is love in the loneliness. There is strength in the weakness. There is rest in the exhaustion. There are hands that hold the world. And there is a God who loves us and desires to call us His own.

By His grace, I am His own. And that makes all the difference in all of my life for all of eternity.

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