I don’t do this very often because I like keeping my blog focused on issues, but have some life stuff to share. Do you remember the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? I had a week like that a couple of weeks ago. Ironically (or providentially) I preached from James 1 the Sunday before.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing, (James 1:2-4, ESV).
So now you have the context for the beginning of the week.
My 1999 Ford Contour (I know you are jealous) had a problem. I couldn’t get it into gear (it’s a manual). My first thought is… great the clutch went out. I
take ithad it towed to the shop, and they at first thought – no it was just the master cylinder (by now some of your eyes are glassed over – this is about as detailed as I’m going to get) which wasn’t a convenient repair, but doable for us. They called me back and said, nope we were wrong, the clutch needs to be replaced. The grand total… likely worth more than the value of my car and not in our budget.
I’ve shared before that Cheryl has a mild form of rheumatoid arthritis called palindromic rheumatism. She was getting flare-ups that would happen more frequently, that were more intense, and after seeing her rheumatologist she was diagnosed with full R.A. This means stronger medications which means we have some personal decisions to make regarding the medication.
We were informed that week about Serve Our Youth Network’s financial position. Which will likely mean my family’s medical insurance will be cut and the ministry’s future is uncertain. Not good news coupled with the above point, and some pre-existing conditions my daughters have.
So my first inclination was to have a pity party (aren’t you glad I didn’t write this post right away?) go off in seclusion; wear sackcloth and pile ashes on my head. But then that passage above came to mind. I know that God will use these trials in our lives for our maturity and growth.
Though I can’t see the direct outcome from here, I know that I know that I know He is good and that will never change. Later in the passage James writes, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change,” (James 1:17, ESV).
So a pity party won’t do any good. Paul reminds us in Philippians (writing this from prison mind you) that anxiety shouldn’t be my default either.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 4:4-7, ESV).
“Rejoice in the Lord”… “with thanksgiving” I don’t need to be happy about my circumstances, but I can rejoice in Christ. I can be thankful for who He is, what He has done, and who I am now in Christ. I can respond with thanksgiving to all of this because:
I got up this morning. Not very profound, but very true for “in him we live and move and have our being,” (Acts 17:28).
For my beautiful wife and kids.
That I, at least for the next few weeks, can drive my dad’s truck and have had other offers.
Praise God that we had two cars before this happened.
For having a roof over our heads and still having an income.
For Jesus dying for me while I was yet a sinner, (Romans 5:8).
For what I read in Ephesians 1 and 2.
That I am a child of God, (John 1:12).
For the full, abundant life that Jesus gives, (John 10:10).
And I could go on and on, but this post is starting to go on and on. So we are praying and being thankful. If you could pray too we’d appreciate it. We remember that God is our Provider and Supplier. I am also reminded of something Oswald Chambers once wrote that I shared on this blog awhile back.
“Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God? Put all ‘supposing’ on one side and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about that thing. All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.”
We certainly don’t want to move forward doing that. So pray for wisdom, (James 1:5) for us in the days ahead as we have some decisions to make. Please also pray for God to use this in our lives for greater maturity and a strengthened faith. Pray for my wife’s health and strength. Then of course please pray for His provision.
Thanks for letting me share. I appreciate you!