Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Small Steps

When I come home from a retreat I know what to expect--slippery slopes of depression.  Yet, the knowing does not usually prepare me for the battle of my emotions.  The more of my life I invest into an event, the harder is the coming down.  Aware of this, I sought prevention by delegating more responsibilities of the retreat than I ever have in the past.  I opened my tightly clenched hand and let fall my will and my way.  And in the letting loose of the treasure, God gave it back to me in fullest measure.

So why was the depression so intense last week?  I don't have all the answers but am well aware that I have an enemy and I must actively fight against him.   You may tire of hearing about the little stories I teach for children each week, but I have to say that God knows what is going on in my life.  It is no accident that these children's lessons speak so firmly to my own heart.  This week it is to "be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power."  (Eph. 6:10)  Hmmmm.

My body was exhausted from the retreat (being on the planning side of it, not the receiving end), and I felt like I may have slept for days, at least as much as I could.  And in those cat naps I dreamed of thirst.  I could not get enough water.  I woke up craving potatoes and bananas and of course water.  I think I was dehydrated.

Then my pastor spoke of David's mighty men risking their lives to quench his thirst for water.  David recognized their endeavor coming at great cost, even their own lives, and so David poured that water out on the ground, refusing to drink something so costly. (2 Sam. 23:15-17)  I don't think this was coincidence, that my own body longed for water all week.

Lately, I feel like my life has been an offering poured out to the Lord.  I honestly don't think I mean that pridefully, but rather simple faithful obedience.  In the pouring out of the offering, my need for God intensifies.  Oswald Chambers in his book, My Utmost for His Highest states, "How many of us are willing to spend every ounce...of mental, moral and spiritual energy we have for Jesus Christ?  That is the meaning of a witness in God's sense of the word...Am I willing to be broken bread and poured out wine for Him?"

In the pouring out of my life, I need God even more.  Jesus, when He hung on the cross cried out, "I thirst," an amazing statement coming from the One who is the river of life, the thirst quencher.  (John 19:28 and John 4:14)  God asks me to give, to never stop loving, to embrace 'my cross'.  The sacrifice is the offering of my life and in that offering my soul cries out, "I thirst".  I need the living God to sustain me, to fill me with His supply.

It is not kosher for Christians to be depressed, and I feel the depression takes me three steps back while seeking that one step forward.  But my eye is on the goal to hear the words, "well done, good and faithful servant". (Matt. 25:21)  He only asks that I be faithful.  Satan knows how to get at me, but God also knows my weakness and my frailty.  He has me covered, before and behind.  I know He is faithful and will make good these small steps toward Him. 

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