Do Not Lose Heart

>> Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today my husband and I went to the early service at church.  They were honoring firemen, EMTs, policemen, and military of the community.  Since Jim is Fire Chief of Beason Fire Department, he wore his dress uniform (even though he didn't really want to- these guys are very modest) and we went to church.  One other fireman from his department met us there.  It was nice to see them both standing side-by-side.

Anyway, we went to first service.  I said that, right?  That means that not only was it at 8:15 but that there were quite a few people I didn't know. Really, it was like being a visitor.  First service and second are truly different.  Not only the people but our styles of worship.  I'm not complaining though.  I was ministered to and this is what I'm writing about.

The first song we sang, It is Well, with my Soul, I almost couldn't sing it because all was not well with my soul.  I had a rough week.  Man, those old hymns have hard truths tucked in those verses!

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

The song goes on to say...Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come...

Satan's been buffeting me this week. Trials have been hitting me from all sides but I haven't been doing what this song says. I haven't been saying, "It is well, it is well, with my soul."

I got through the song, but not without noticing a woman behind me, singing nice and loud and off-key. That made me smile. I'm not the only imperfect one in the building. But then, here we go. Ugh. Blessed Assurance.

Perfect submission, (Are you kidding me?) perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight; 
angels descending bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love. 
(I certainly wasn't feeling the love this week.)

Perfect submission, (submission? perfect or otherwise.) all is at rest; 
I in my Savior am happy and blest,  
(us two? me and God? don't think I was walking in step with Him.)
watching and waiting, looking above, filled with his goodness, lost in his love. 
(I was lost, alright- ugh.)

This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long; 
this is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.
(Honestly, I wonder if anyone in church could sing these words?  
Who went around all day praising God? Come on!  
Was anyone but me listening to what they were singing?)

And then this song, He Leadeth Me:

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be, (I'm following but I'm not too faithful)
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine; (Huh? Never?)
Content, whatever lot I see,  (Content?)
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.

Okay, I got the message, already.  I remembered that I prayed at the beginning of the week for God to be with me, direct me, guide me each step of the way.  He was there.  I know He was.  It's just that so many battles seem to be in front of me; so many foes in the way.  Are those battle lines in the sand or just scuff marks?  Am I tired and making more of things than what I should?  Something that happens on Friday maybe wouldn't be so upsetting if they happened on Monday?  Am I letting pride get in my way?  You know all those questions....

Our pastor preached about finding hope when evil happens but I related his sermon to my week, of course.  Finding hope in a horrible, mixed-up, rotten week.

2 Corinthians 4

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (8,9)

"All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God."  (15)

"Therefore, do not lose heart." (16)

I guess that's what hit me the hardest:  DO NOT LOSE HEART.  Don't give up.  Don't throw in the towel.  I've thought about it.  I have these thoughts of, 'I'm not cut out for this.  Someone else wants it, someone else thinks he can do a better job - let him go for it. Let him put in all the long hours of preparation and headache...for what?'  But God put me here for, "such a time as this." Esther 4:14. I have to stick it out; finish the race.  Most days are awesome.  I can't let a few knock me down and keep me there.  

It's hard.  The enemy wants me to think I'm all alone.  Alone is a terrible place to be.  In this high-tech world, we depend too much on cell phones to text, no good old phone calls anymore.  We depend on FB to keep up with each other.  I love the techy world.  It's fast and perfect for most things but it's easy to get lost in too at times.  When you've been kicked around in the 'real world' and feel at a loss as to what to do, it's so very easy to feel utterly alone and abandoned everywhere.  Sometimes I want to hear a real voice.  I want to know a friend has taken a few moments out of her day to come find me.  Meet me where I happen to be, like hiding under my covers. Scared to come out.  

Satan knows how to play me, yet when I'm better, I know his tricks and I can outmaneuver him to help others.  Why is it, when I'm the one getting kicked around though, I can't see it?  I can't help myself?  That's why God gave us friends.  To come alongside each other and pick us up.  Check on each other.  Pray.  Send text and email prayers.  Listen...Wipe away tears...

We need each other and most probably even more as life heats up.  Tomorrow is a new day.  A new week.  A time for me to try to get it right once again, but I know I'll fail more than once. I only hope that I will be able to say that I invited God to be with me every step of the way and that because of that I can sing, It is well, it is well with my soul.

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