Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Strength to carry on!

Colossians 1:11-12

     We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people, who live in the light.


     Many times, just getting out of bed and facing a new day can be challenging and difficult, especially if we’re dealing with overwhelming situations and circumstances. But as Christians, we have the upper hand because we have the enabling power of Jesus Christ to help see us through. What’s unfortunate is that, most of the time, we don’t take advantage of that power. We would rather feel sorry for ourselves, whine, complain and manipulate sympathy from others, rather then go to the One who can supply us with His power to walk through our situation and come out the other side unscathed.

     Do you long for patience, strength and endurance? Well, the only way to receive those attributes is to be put into situations where those attributes are tested. How will you ever learn how to endure if you don’t get the opportunity to practice endurance? The same goes for strength and patience. God always works in ways that we don’t understand or want to accept.

     For years, I was very verbal about the fact that I was not very strong in the area of long-suffering or endurance. I’m a “get to the point” type of person. I don’t want to hear a sales pitch for an hour, I'd rather you be up front and tell me what you want me to buy. In medical situations, I don’t want to drag the decision making process out, let’s just do what needs to be done, and be over with it. This type of flaw in my personality would often cut God out of the picture, in certain situations. I would make a quick decision out of my own wisdom and judgment call rather than go to God with my situation and rely on His wisdom and guidance.

     A few years ago, God saw fit to step in and change this unhealthy character flaw in me. As my mother bravely battled lung cancer, we exhausted all man-made attempts to rid her body of the dreaded disease. We finally came to the place of total reliance on our Heavenly Father to either heal her on this earth, or give her the ultimate healing and take her home to be with Him. It was during that 7-8 week process where I learned about endurance and long-suffering first hand. I fought God tooth and nail nearly the entire time, begging him to “get to the point” and make a decision. He lovingly ignored my temper tantrums and pity parties, choosing to take my mother on to her eternal reward in His timing and not one moment sooner. I questioned God for a long time afterward, wondering what good could come out of such suffering and grief. He has since shown me the rough, ugly character flaw that He is continuing to mold out of me. During the final weeks of my mother’s life, I came to a place of complete brokenness before the Lord; a place where I had to rely completely on Him, instead of my own wisdom and decision making. It was in that place where I found the strength to endure and carry on, and it only came about through His mighty power.

     It’s crazy that He can take something so painful and ugly and work it all together for our good, but we have to understand that His number one goal and priority is not for our comfort, but rather that our life is a shining light and example for others to see and be drawn to the Lord. He’ll use whatever means possible to chip off all the ugly, rough places of our character and fill it in with His character and love, knowing that in the long run, it’s only for our good and His glory.

     What specific character or personality traits do you struggle with? Do you fear asking God to help you overcome them because you know it will be too painful? Are you walking through a present circumstance where you believe you are being challenged by God to make changes in your character? Consider relinquishing total control to the Lord. Lay it all at His feet, allowing Him to take full control of you and the situation. Stand back and watch what the Lord will do with your offering.

Have a great day!

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