Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Without suffering, happiness cannot be understood. –Dosoyevsky

My God who is sufficient in grace and power and who gives these things generously.

Open my lips, LORD, and my mouth shall proclaim Your praise. Psalm 51:16

Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ. I can even enjoy weaknesses, suffering, privations, persecutions and difficulties for Christ’s sake, For my very weakness makes me strong in Him. 2 Corinthians 12:10

What I desire: To move into deeper levels of experiencing the all-sufficiency of God’s grace and power, especially in my areas of weakness and deficiency.

If we know that God’s thoughts and way are not our ways, then we recognize our need to hold our thoughts and ways loosely and to be open to God’s corrections and guidance.

Two lessons: First, that God’s grace is always sufficient to sustain us in our weakness and suffering. God’s grace does not automatically mean your weakness and suffering is eliminated. Rather it means weakness and suffering are transformed into stepping stones for a deeper experience of God.

Second, that weakness and suffering can be used as the means to create a willingness for ruthless trust in God. We are naturally self-sufficient and independent. Our great need is to be God dependent in all things, both where we are weak and where we are strong. This ruthless trust has been defined by de Caussade as “self-abandonment to divine providence.” -Rice

What are my thorns in my flesh? I know that one thing that I feel like I have tried to turn over again and again is that blurting tongue. If one can control the tongue, the tiny flame that can set ablaze a great forest, one can control it all. I do want every word that pops out of my mouth to be edifying and true. And those words come out of my heart, so it is a heart issue, pent up angst. I leap into the fray of life, tongue a-wagging, wrenching control away from a quiet trust in the Spirit to work. A silent trust.

Yet silence can pierce as well.

Therefore, You, oh LORD, open up my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim Your praise.

And there are those words “cheerfully” and “made up my mind.” And it’s kind of a goofy image, but every morning the thing I make up is my bed. Really it’s the first thing I do, make up that bed smooth and tidy. And somehow, it helps me feel cheerful. Getting off on the right foot every day. So…maybe, part of that routine of making up the bed, can be making up my mind as well, cheerfully, to let Him be the bit in my mouth.

And when I was a little girl, I used to daydream about being a wildly beautiful horse galloping across big mountain fields under bright blue skies. And I would gallop through the woods around my little two-room schoolhouse, imagining strength and freedom and delight. Longing for self-sufficiency and independence, perhaps. Because honestly, I was alone in my fields of delight. But wonder if I had the sweetest of masters, sitting lightly and straight, guiding me with but a gentle touch, as we raced through the dappled forest light?

And a friend sent me this good word this morning: Patience fortifies faith, is the pilot of peace, assists charity, establishes humility, waits long for repentance, sets her seal on confession, rules the flesh, preserves the spirit, bridles the tongue, restrains the hand, tramples temptations under foot, drives away scandals, consoles the poor, teaches the rich moderation, overstrains not the weak, exhausts not the strong, is the delight of the believer. -Tertullian

Prayer: Do with me whatever it shall please Thee. For it cannot be anything but good, whatever Thou shalt do with me. If it be Thy will I should be in darkness, be Thou blessed. And if it be Thy will I should be in light, be Thou again blessed. If Thou grand me comfort, be Thou blessed, and if Thou will have me afflicted, be Thou still equally blessed. –Thomas á Kempis.