Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Sacrifice

Painting my house is so therapeutic for me.  I love the silence, the nearness of the rafters, and most of all, the transformation of a fresh coat of paint.  I like to see results, neat and crisp.  The strained neck and sore muscles are so worth it. 

Seeing results carries over into other areas of my life as well.  I know, I know.  Faithfulness is what God requires because in reality it is His work, the outcome His business, not mine.  I am but an instrument in His hands, only the paintbrush.  But lately as I've expended myself to great degrees, I've come up empty    . . .disappointed . . . discouraged.

It is one thing to labor and see results, but quite another to labor and see . . . nothing. 

Failure shouts blatant in my face, mocking, always there.  I give and give but still, it is not enough.  Will it never end?  This drought, this trodden ground, the Word tossed to the wayside, choked by lesser things.  I crave rest and long to see fruit . . . results.  Yet in this barren land I cling even tighter to my Shepherd who has for some reason led me to this place.

Is this a test?  From God?  Is this the enemy wearing me down?  I don't know for sure, but I do know that God is faithful.  That He who started a good work in me will complete it.   Yet some days I feel I may crumple. 

How we need each other!  Just showing up, the presence of another, can build and strengthen in the Lord.  Obedient and faithful, yes, but it sure is easier when we support one another.  But to encourage we have to expend ourselves in personal sacrifice.

Thinking of others above ourselves, loving when there is no response, denying ourselves rights to our time, giving at our own expense . . . all this is sacrifice.  Yet, compared to the extent of God's love poured out on us, how can we speak of sacrifice?  

The day marches on and does not often follow our agenda.  It meanders to the place where we must give of ourselves for another, even when we are tired, when we have already reached the end of our strength.  God's idea of sacrifice is extreme compared to our interpretation of it. 

So I'm asking God to give me perspective, eyes to see, and endurance to continue, even when I can't see.  I want to pass this test of faith.   I may never realize results, but it could be my heart is not ready for them, or that I was never meant to have them, for they are not mine for the having. 

Yet I do know that in heaven it will be clean and crisp, a pure picture of what went on down here.  Then I will know, and then I will understand.  So I carry on, believing His Word "will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it.  Instead of the thorn bush, will grow the pine tree and instead of briars, the myrtle will grow.  This will be for the LORD'S renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed."  Isa. 55:8,9)  

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