Sunday, January 20, 2013

Never Runs Dry

Have you ever known, without a doubt, that God was tugging on your heart?  This last week has been that way for me, although not always with pleasantries.   As I've sought to carry out the commitments I've made to people and my responsibility to the Lord, I've come up short, not of desire or effort, but of ability.   God continues to keep me dependent on Him, especially in the areas where I think I am strong.
I taught a class this week about a widow, in the time of Elisha, and her oil filled jars. (2 Kings 4:1-7) I don't think the message was so much for the kids as it was God seeking to reveal Himself to me in very practical ways.  Over and over I was brought to the end of my strength, my resources, until I was desperate for God's sufficiency.

I was challenged with areas I do not normally struggle.  My daughter needed assistance with a song she'd been assigned for piano lessons.  We fought it together, at last conquering, but I was left feeling helpless.  I was asked to play a flute piece for praise team which had me stumped.  I thought, no problem, I will just go home and practice. I studied, listened, and fought, but still couldn't get it.  Helpless.  I've been preparing lessons for our upcoming youth retreat, but felt behind and inadequate.  Helpless.  Even as I sought to prepare the story of Elisha and the widow, I wrote out my notes three times and finally ended up with a few unsatisfactory index cards.  Why couldn't I get it?  Helpless.

One night I struggled hard with depression, a weighing down with ugly thoughts of comparisons and ungratefulness.  I knew it was wrong but the lies bombarded and I joined with the accuser in crushing my spirit.  It finally culminated the next morning as I walked my daughter to school and we got in a squabble.  What a rotten way to send her off!  Even my parenting was pathetic.  On my way back home, all the helplessness and heaviness of the last few days gushed out in frustrated angry tears.

It was clear to me.  I could not do life without God's enabling.  All my self-sufficiency just whooshed down the drain.  I needed God.  No, I was desperate for Him.  Yet, he "knows what I need before I even ask it of Him"  (Matt. 6:8)  And like the widow's oil, God sustains for "[His] love never fails, [never runs dry], never runs out on me.  And on and on and on and on it goes, for He overwhelms and satisfies my soul..."  (lyrics by Bethel)  The song was on the radio as I drove home from teaching that afternoon.  I cranked it loud and sang my heart out.
As many jars as that woman could find, whatever she brought, God filled.  The wrestling of this week produced empty hands, void of abilities I thought I had, things I assumed I was capable of, and God has shown Himself to be more than enough.  (The flute piece mentioned above finally came to me the next day, after total depletion of myself, letting loose of my tight grip, surrendering it to God.)

The struggle which brings us to the end of ourselves, often precedes a spiritual breakthrough.  Pride must first be crushed so that we know it is truly a work of God and not our own.  I will boast in the LORD my God, none other.  Though I fairly botched the lesson, some children placed their faith in Jesus that afternoon.  I cannot help but wonder if this is why the fight over the past week was so prevalent, so intense.  Or perhaps it was resistance by the evil one to abort God's birthing of his children.  Defeat the messenger and hack the message.   Yet, God is big enough to take even our feeble offering and make it effective.

Through it all I'm left with this stretching.  The offering never comes easily, but I know God's purpose will be accomplished through it.  He is faithful.  My heart is filled with praise for the oil that never runs dry, this life giving Spirit.

Spirit of the Living God, breathe your life in me.

p.s.  Did I mention that when I came home from teaching I learned that a very large grant had been placed in my son's account, quietly, unexpected, and from an unusual source?  That news was oil to my soul, oil extended not only to the widow, but also to her sons.  Wow!  Isn't God amazing?  

1 comment:

  1. :-) "When you are His - it's from him" - Steve Brown