Monday, March 31, 2014

Waiting and renewal . . .


Sunday is often called a day of rest, but it isn’t always restful. I had a part in the worship service that I could not do in my own strength, a part in the lives of friends during fellowship brunch, a part in the life of an unsaved friend in the early afternoon, and a part in the life of my brother later in the day. In all of these, I needed God’s grace and all of them involved a sacrifice of some part of me. By the end of the day, I was tired but didn’t realize it was spiritual fatigue, the kind that comes after trusting the Lord for His grace to do what He asks.

The Bible promises that God will renew the strength of those who wait on Him. This need for renewal is not satisfied by a nap, or by watching television, reading, eating, or relying on other people, yet I foolishly tried those things. They were of no help.

This morning I felt even more tired and God gave me Psalm 16. As I read it, I realized that I was guilty of a form of idolatry. Instead of waiting on the Lord, I relied on empty solutions, and as the psalmist says, “The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply.”

Instead, he adds this example and how God blessed him in what he did: 

Their (the other gods) drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:4–11)

Bad habits are hard to break; good habits are hard to form. Add age, demanding to-do lists, and more than a bit of stubbornness that says, “I can do this myself” and I stare at my slowness to learn and wonder how long it will take me to consistently remember what I know and apply it consistently to my life. Then I have to remember this slowness and frustration should not be shocking . . .  after all, it is part of the reason I need a Savior.

Instead of running out of steam like Elijah did after obeying God (1 Kings 18-19), I can see today what I should have done yesterday. Instead of refueling on fumes, I needed a fresh shot of time spent with Jesus. Here is the example of the psalmist . . .

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High . . . Be gracious to me, O Lord! See my affliction . . . you who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation. (Psalm 9:1–14)

In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word . . . Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law . . . I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. (Psalm 119:14-16, 18, 162)

Reading the Word of God and prayer is vital before obeying Him, but it is also vital to help avoid the crash after doing what He asks. As Philippians 4:4 says, I need to “Rejoice in the Lord always” and wait on Him for everything.


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