“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ…” (Phil. 3:8) And so, we respond as Much Afraid did in Gloria’s recent favorite book, Hinds’ Feet in High Places, “I am thy handmaiden, Acceptance—with–Joy. Do with me as you will.”
(-Grace’s words. as she requests prayers for her difficult situation-Gloria, her daughter recently passed, and she and her husband in prison in the middle east somewhere on false charges. a grandma has flown in hoping to be given custody of their remaining two children while awaiting the outcome. i’ve never met Grace. please join me in prayer for her?)
this is the verse that stopped me short.
the realization that i do not in fact consider everything a loss in comparison to knowing Christ.
the list of things played through my head and then the lyrics came as i stood there washing dishes.
and in this interlude-i grieve.
You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm 86:5
and i am calling.
i have followed this far. am i just tired? is my love growing cold?
i glance up on the wall, and am reminded…. “since i am surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, strip off every weight that slows me down, especially the sin that so easily trips me up. and RUN with endurance the race God has set before me.”
endurance: the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially : the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity <a marathon runner’s endurance>
i ran once-a half marathon. that year. that year of training. i remember. it was……. excruciating. i hated the training for the first 30 minutes-and then i loved it. but not only that, while training for this marathon, i also was given an assignment from the Author and Perfecter of my faith. it was…… excruciating.
i still bear, both the scars from the assignment and the 13.1 bumper sticker from the race.
but i have forgotten.
i have forgotten the huge crowd of witnesses who are on the sidelines, cheering me on.
i have forgotten the Author and Perfecter of my faith is not me.
i have forgotten that the race requires endurance and endurance requires training…..and sacrifice.
i have forgotten to pray.
i have numbed myself with Foyles War and blogs and books and chia tea.
i suppose i could have chosen worse things-it’s not the point.
i am sorry my Lord. please restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.
and i am sorry dear reader-whomever you are-that if you are looking for some fresh lesson, i can only offer re-learning the same ones over and over and over again.
i am still Much Afraid. but there is hope. there is hope!
the base and guitar play on.
i’ll get there. He has promised. i’ll get there.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation
He is my God and i will praise Him,
The LORD is a warrior; YHWH is his name.
Who among the gods is like you, O LORD?
Who is like you- majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
In Your unfailing love you will lead
the people You have redeemed.
The Lord will reign forever and ever.
rest. rest is needed to do the work. and remembering. remembering is key.
i knew that. training for that ½ . good nourishment. good rest. and then one could endure. i ran that race using a 3 minute run (jog) 1 minute walk. my family decided to join me in that method. we finished-and could still function! that was important, for i’ve not the life that is such that i could kill myself in a race and spend days recovering. no, i needed to run the race, and still function. and the 3 min/1 min was the key. plus the advanced training/practice with it. i didn’t go from 0 to 13.1 miles that weekend.
i have forgotten-Who my God is.
majestic in holiness
awesome in glory
the numbing is not nourishing or replenishing rest.
taking my 1 minute walks-i’ve stopped doing that. praying, sitting in Your presence, remembering.
and giving thanks
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