"If you have had a stable and steady job for 5, 10, or 20 years, it’s easy to get the idea that the job that is what provides for you. No, God provides for you. ...You may say—God has provided a small group for me, a dear friend for me, a healthy church for me, a wonderful ministry for me. These are the means of God’s supply. The way God supplies will change." - Colin Smith
Reposted from Rooted Thinking. By Forrest McPhail.
Today is one of my “dark days.” Pain has been relentless for a couple of days, restricting my life and ministry. What I do on such days requires much mental discipline.
For the past thirteen years I have been battling what was first diagnosed as post-viral syndrome following a bout with a debilitating virus. After years of investigation and treatments, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Various symptoms have come and gone at various levels of intensity: headache and sinus pain, painful sensitivity to sound and touch, nerve and joint pain, lack of concentration, fatigue, bouts with discouragement, burning and swelling sensations, etc. These things are now being attributed to my brain signals misfiring and misinterpreting pain. Otherwise I am very healthy!
It has been tough at times. My greatest personal trials during this have to do with how the pain hinders me from doing so much of what I want to do with my family and ministry. To endure pain and suffering on the physical level is one thing. But when the suffering hinder me from doing what I want to do for the Lord, I struggle.
Here are some lessons in grace I continue to learn through this:
Where Must Faith Always Look? I’m sure we all know that the answer is Christ – at least we ought to! I know, but I’m afraid I don’t always live it. I need constant reminders. So this isn’t me sermonizing (I’m unqualified); it’s a confession of my failing, and a passing on of a message from someone else…
That someone else is Ian Hamilton. The message comes from his little book The Faith Shaped Life. In the Chapter Where Faith Always Looks, Hamilton tells us that he has never been in the habit of making New Year resolutions. But he then recounts why he broke the habit of not making a resolution.
The reason he broke his habit was that he’d been reading through the Letter to the Hebrews. Hamilton noted that it was a “fascinating,” “sobering,” “and richly encouraging read.” The Hebrew Christians had come under the influence of false teaching and were pressured to “give up on Christ and return to Judaism.”
Hamilton writes that, “They had become ‘dull of hearing’ (Heb. 5:11).” They had slowly become spiritually deaf. They allowed the (significant) pressures of life to “de-centre Jesus in their lives” and “he was no longer the chief object of their faith and the first call upon their love.” The writer admonishes them to consider Christ (Heb 3:1, 12:2-3)!
This is a human condition I must contend with on a daily basis. It’s a daily struggle for me. And I bet I’m not alone.
"The concepts of common grace (to explain the goodness of unbelievers) and total depravity (to explain the abiding sin in believers) have really helped me. So has C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters. He showed that I need to consider where a sour Christian has come from and what natural endowments of personality a pleasant non-Christian might have been given." - Mark Ward