The title of this post sounds a bit “Yoda-ish”, I know. But, just as Yoda brought sound wisdom in attention-getting ways to generations over the last 50 years, so the Words of Scripture have brought wisdom to generations for millennia.
I have had a hard week. Hard in trying to cope with a multitude of demands on me. Hard in trying to shake myself out of the funk my ineffective coping has wrought. Just hard. It seems to be a cycling around of the grief process once again that has engulfed me over and over since October 10, 2018 when Hurricane Michael strained all the resilience within me. The recent COVID-19 stresses have reignited the emotions that had just begun to subside, it seems. But, thanks to a friend’s gentle admonishment, I am realizing that God has put some wonderful people in my life who bring encouragement and the right word at just the right moment. In fact, as I think about the ways in which those individuals came into my life and the ways in which they have popped in and out at unexpected times with just what I needed to hear, I am increasingly led to understand how God has “angels unaware” stationed in my life, and in all our lives, to serve the purpose of periodic “attitude adjustments.” They are “messengers”, angelic envoys, who bring the refreshing “breath” of God and at times also “flames of fire” to refine us as they bring the wisdom of God to our frail, tired and fading human capabilities. (Hebrews 1:7 God said about the angels, “He makes his messengers winds. He makes his servants flames of fire.” And I am reminded again why wind, fire, and dove are the three symbols of Pentecost and how out of admonishing wind and the refining fire, the peace of the dove is restored.
They restore proper perspective in moments when ours has become warped and skewed by the stresses of life in a broken world.
YOU HAVE BEEN ON A LONG, UPHILL JOURNEY, and your energy is almost spent. Though you have faltered at times, you have not let go of My hand. I am pleased with your desire to stay close to Me. There is one thing, however, that displeases Me: your tendency to complain. You may talk to Me as much as you like about the difficulty of the path we are following. I understand better than anyone else the stress and strains that have afflicted you. You can ventilate safely to Me because talking with Me tempers your thoughts and helps you see things from My perspective.
Complaining to others is another matter altogether. It opens the door to deadly sins such as self-pity and rage. Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me and talk it out. As you open up to Me, I will put My thoughts in your mind and My song in your heart.
Regret nothing. Not even the sins and failures. When a man views earth’s wonders from some mountain height he does not spend his time in dwelling on the stones and stumbles, the faints and failures, that marked his upward path.
So with you. Breath in the rich blessings of each new day–forget all that lies behind you.
Man is so made that he can carry the weight of twenty-four hours, no more. Directly he weighs down with the years behind, and the days ahead, his back breaks. I have promised to help you with the burden of today only, the past I have taken from you and if you, foolish hearts, choose to gather again that burden and bear it, then, indeed, you mock Me to expect Me to share it
For weal or woe each day is ended. What remains to be lived, the coming twenty-four hours, you must face as you awake.
A man on a march on earth carries only what he needs for that march. Would you pity him if you saw him bearing too the overwhelming weight of the worn-out shoes and uniforms of past marches and years? And yet, in the mental and spiritual life, man does these things. Small wonder My poor world is heartsick and weary.
Not so must you act. (Shared by Patti 7/3/20 who said a childhood neighbor from “over the fence” had shared it with her long ago.)
From: Cathy Byrd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, July 3, 2020 9:19 AM
To: Patti P******atti S. Sunday <email@example.com> lon
Subject: Re: word
Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.” John 6:43
Patti, Your corrective and cautionary Word this morning is altogether necessary and timely. I have been exhausted by circumstances lately. Unfortunately, when that happens I am prone to “murmuring”. I learned years ago how dangerous that is, but I seem to have forgotten or just gotten lazy. Thank you for your discerning wisdom and your gentle admonishment. The following is from a recent communication with someone with whom life has been difficult for a number of years. I was writing a letter to that person since we can no longer talk or communicate via text or social media without conflict.
The reference to which I refer in this is about an uncle of my husband who, along with my mother-in-law, lived with us for nearly a decade after he became disabled by a stroke. I had tried to explain to my difficult friend why I focus on trusting in God so fully to the exclusion of trusting in people (to a large degree) because of how deceitful and untrustworthy the hearts of people can be. Any person can disappoint or hurt us. We have to accept that and be merciful and let it go. Sometimes I forget to do that last part!
“I doubt that I ever told you about the night I sent my mother in law to bed and sat up with Uncle * myself. . She was dead on her feet. She had already been diagnosed with breast cancer the first time at that point. I experienced a time of extreme stress and near-panic after her cancer surgery and feared that she would die and leave me with him to take care of. I sat up and sang hymns to him and read scripture to him while he thrashed and cussed until he finally fell asleep hours later. I, in my exhausted state, sat and pondered how easy it would have been to just put a pillow over his face and suffocate him and put us all out of our misery. Yes, indeed the heart is a very dark and deceitful thing and not to be trusted, ever. With the Bible in my lap, the Lord lifted a verse off the page, backlit that said, “Do not murder.” (in John 6:43) and I closed it quickly and went to bed, shocked at where my mind had wandered. The next morning I turned to it again. And the verse actually said, “Do not murmur.” Murder, murmur. Jesus said, “you have heard it said Thou shalt not murder, but I say to you if you complain against your brother you are guilty of the same thing.” It was a good lesson. I can’t trust me. You can’t trust me. I can’t trust you. None of us can fully trust one another. Unless Christ is at the very core of us daily and in every decision none of us is worthy of trust in anything. The world applies the letter of the law, but Christ calls for a much higher spirit of the law standard that none of us can even begin to approach short of his own Holy Spirit presence in our hearts.”
Thank you for the reminder.