Pulling dead flowers from the gardens one afternoon last week led me to tears and a couple days of raw emotion. I knelt by the phlox and day lilies praying something like this:
Lord, I have tried to take good care of the gifts you’ve given me yet they could be taken away from me at any time. By next spring, will there be someone else mowing this lawn or watering these plants?
It’s been 14 months now since Larry was laid off from his job. And while a contract consulting position has helped, he remains significantly under-employed. As a result, we are not strangers to the kinds of fears, concerns and questions that many are facing today. How are we going to make it financially? Will we need to move? How bad might things get? What will people think? What does God think? Are we doing all we can or should? Will it ever get any easier?
Does anybody care?
Disability can wreak all kinds of havoc. For one thing, it has an insidious way of storming against a family’s earning power. I’m not making excuses or trying to stir up sympathy. I am attempting to build awareness among the naïve and reassure those who face similar challenges that they are not alone.
We remain in a season of waiting. While we wait, we are busy and grateful. We are grateful most of all for relationships — a strong marriage and family, friends who are standing with us in prayer, Jesus. We are busy trying to walk obediently with God, busy renewing our minds with reasons why we can trust that He cares, busy resting in the fact that God is sovereign. While we are tending to our responsibilities and trying to steward our resources well, God is working out His glory and our good — even though it is challenging and may take a long time before we fully understand His higher ways.
Some days (or moments) are harder than others in the battle against fear and worry. The Bible tells us to keep knocking on the door of God’s heart asking for His peace, strength and protection from fear. The Lord teaches us to fight back against those arrows of fear by saturating our minds with God’s truth. Here are some verses keeping my heart and mind firm in the battle:
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. Psalm 91:4-6
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 1 Peter 3:12-13
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39
There are many more jobs on our weekend chore lists yet for this fall. It’s tempting to let them go. After all, it’s not the end of the world if we just have more to do in the spring. And just maybe it will be someone else’s job by then anyway. It’s easy to get discouraged, slough responsibilities or give up completely.
Keeping a faithful heart and mind is hard work. It’s also a gift of the Holy Spirit when we ask Him for it. Why do I know it’s a gift and not something we can conjure up on our own? Because, on our own, we are unable to muster up things like the reassurance that we are valuable to God, re-shaped perspectives about what is truly important, and daily diligence for things outside of ourselves.
What is the Lord asking you to tend well while you’re waiting for His purposes to unfold?
A child you are parenting?
A career (or job search)?
A relationship with a family member?
Your relationship with Jesus Christ?
SOVEREIGN LORD, please calm my fears and show me how to steward my resources well. Help me slow down and meditate on what I read in the Bible so that I recognize Your voice and respond promptly and wholeheartedly to it. Prompt me with promises and truths from Your Word so that I can stand firm against these arrows. AMEN