Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When Your Soul is Faint

Hebrews 12 NASB
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

It seems to me that generally when we think of the sins talked about in verse one we, or at least I, often think of "BIG" sin. Sin we would never consider ourselves tempted by: criminal acts, acts of anger or violence, sexual immorality, even lying, cheating, or stealing. We think to ourselves, "Phew, don't have to worry about that." But last night as I read this verse that word, "easily" stood out to me. For most of us, or at least I hope this is true, we don't easily fall into those "big" sins. So that made me start to think about the "easy" sins. What do I get easily entangled by? For me it looks like worry, anxiety, disappointment, insecurity, self doubt or self loathing, feeling like I'm unworthy or not good enough. Oh and then there is bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, fear, and discontent. Am I alone in that?

All of those things really are easy to fall into. They do easily entangle and I think that's because for the most part we can hide them. I really believe these are the things that the author had in mind when he wrote Hebrews. I believe this because in verse three he goes on to say, "For consider Him who has endured...so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." In the foot note of my Bible it says, "fainting in your souls." Wow that so perfectly describes some of my feelings lately. I've felt overwhelmed and have found myself so easily entangled in those easy sins. My soul is faint. But he says to put aside those things, to fix my eyes on Jesus who endured the cross so that I would not have to be ensnared by those sins.

But. How? How do I set those things aside? I know my stuff is nothing in comparison to Hebrews 11:32-40 but how do I keep from being consumed by my world and my situations? 

For consider Him... 

I love what the AMP Bible has to say in verse 3: Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds. 

So today instead of letting myself become consumed, ensnared, and entangled I reckon I'm just going to reckon up and consider all that He has done. I'm going to think of Him. Just think on Him. He's always the answer. 

I'm going to let my heart take courage and find strength. Today I'm going to live out verse 12:
1So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees,
13 And cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.

I love those words "cut through." They so add to the imagery. Picture yourself walking that path. It becomes thick with undergrowth, the vines seem to crawl around your ankles, entangling you. It's not you, it could have happened to anyone. It's the path we walk, but you have to fix your eyes on Him, be determined. Don't give in. Cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. He's made a way for us. And He is the Prize.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I really wanted to title this post "The Gift of Foresight" but didn't want you to think I meant some kind of  psychic powers or something. What I mean is I really do think having foresight can be a gift. Take my son for example. He's 3 and we're still working on potty training (although recently we've had some major break-throughs!!). You may remember this blog post, where I mentioned the difficulties we've been having. Recently, I pondered a loud to God, "Why can't he just understand that doing his business in his pants, though it may seem easier, takes much more effort?" I realize that foresight is not something children really get until they are older, which is why parents have to be so patient. And when they still don't get it we have to be even more patient. It takes a level of patience similar to the way God is with us. He reminded me about this while I was talking with Him. Foresight. It's something many of us, especially in American culture, struggle with.

Why can't we understand that taking the easy route doesn't always lead us in the right direction and often ends up being more trouble then it's worth? We see this in finances. A. Lot. We spend money we do not have because we lack foresight. Too often we make decisions without much foresight. We can't look past the now to down the road and foresee the consequences.

Me: Alex, why did you go potty in your pants?
Alex: I dunno.
Me: Was it because you didn't want to stop playing long enough to use the restroom?
Alex: Yep.
Me: Are you playing and having fun right now?
Alex: Nope.
Me: Why?
Alex: Because I went potty in my pants so now I'm dirty.
Me: And you can't play while you get cleaned up huh?
Alex: Yeah.
Me: Wouldn't it have been easier to just use the potty?
Alex: Yeah but I wanted to play. But don't worry momma I will next time...I pwomise.

This is a conversation we've had many, many, times. It's not dissimilar to the conversation I've had with God upon occasion.

God: Katie, why did you do that?
Me: I dunno.
God: Was it because you didn't want to stop playing?
Me: Yep.
God: Are you having fun now?
Me: Nope.
God: Why?
Me: Because now I'm a mess.
God: Wouldn't have been easier to do things My way.
Me. Yes but I wanted to do things my way. But don't worry Papa, I'll do it Your way next time.

Foresight. If only we could look past the now and the temporary and see what God has in store for us versus what the consequences of our actions would be on our own. I think it really has to be a gift from Him sometimes. It's hard when we're in the zone, doing whatever it is we're doing and having a great time. But when the time comes, it's always better to get up and go to Him before we find ourselves in a big, ugly mess....Trust me.

And just like I desperately want Alex to avoid those messy situations, I think He's even more desperate that we avoid our messes. The beautiful thing about the gift of foresight is that He's just as willing to give it to us as we are in need of it. And oh, how He is so faithfully patient with us. Praise Him.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Deeper Still

I keep having this picture in my head. It's tough to describe but I'll try.

It's basically just of me holding the Father's hand.

And He's leading me.

I'm not sure where, but it feels deeper somehow. He's taking me deeper.

We go up, over mountains and around obstacles.

Sometimes we go around the mountain...and then again...and sometimes again.

We go through things. Like tunnels filled with spiderweb like netting. They tug at my clothes and try to hold me back. But I notice as we go through my load is lighter on the other side. I left a heavy burden back in those webs. And I don't miss it. And I trust Him even more.

We cross rivers. Sometimes they are deep, nearly over my head and I loose my footing, but He pulls me along. He never lets go. I step out much cleaner then I was before.

It rains sometimes. And inevitably there is mud. And my feet sink in. He tells me to rest in Him but how do I rest and walk at the same time?

And occasionally we stop. Mostly because I can't keep up. He says it's easy but why does it feel so hard?

Because I've forgotten that He's the power pulling this train, not me. But He doesn't get too annoyed about that.

He waits.

And I breathe.

He speaks to me. In the dark places. He tells me He is near.

And not to fear.

He reminds me once again that it's not on my own strength that I'll walk this path. I remember the tunnels, and the rivers, and how far we've come. And I trust Him.

His hand lifts me up and I continue on. Following. Trusting. And suddenly the rain doesn't seem all that bad.

Many times the sun is shining. I have to shield my eyes as we walk into it. With light in His hair, He smiles at me and I see He is delighted to be on this journey with me.

He sings sometimes, and dances as we go.

He takes me to secret places. Places only He knows about. I wish I could stay there. Camp there. Live there.

But I know what He'll say.

Deeper still.

Never letting go. That's what love is.

It never lets go.