"Behold, I will do something new,..." Isaiah 43: 19
So many times a day we encounter, "Right here, right now moments". These are moments that give us the opportunity to choose wisely. You know the ones. The ones that elementary teachers talk about when they say, "Sow an action, reap a habit. Reap a habit, develop a character. Develop a character, and earn a reputation."
The opportunity is often subtle but we get to choose. Right here, right now...what will we choose. Sometimes we err in saying or doing the wrong thing. We gossip, criticize, or take offense quickly over the words of another.
Sometimes we err in choosing to say or do nothing. Someone is talking about a weakness in our friend and we stand in silence. We offer no truth or insight into one of their strengths, the beauty of their character. A neighbour struggles with a heavy load, and we offer no support.
Some of us have a plethora of "Right here, right now moments" where opportunity is afforded us to win over a certain sin area. One person's mountain, is another person's mole hill. I have been working at a mountain in my life for a long while. It has been a discouraging battle at times.
Several times a day I feel threatened that the tsunami of needs will wash over me -squabbling children, hungry tummies, grimy hands and faces, full potties, household chores, inquiring minds, and the clock that reminds me that it is time to move on to the next task. When this happens and a cup spills, or an action of my children occurs that requires correction, or a wee one asks a question,it can be like the proverbial "straw that breaks the camel's back." I see the situation and count the minutes it will take to remedy. Then I, too often, react. At those times, I lash out with my tongue. Sometimes I blame or criticize. Sometimes I speak from resentment or bitterness. My words cause strife. They give offense. They wound.
I grieve with God over this sin. I know the torment of regret. I spend much time on my knees.
I am learning new patterns. I'm gaining ground slowly. Sometimes I see the mishap as an opportunity to show God's love. For a spilled cup, I sometimes remind myself that accidents happen to big people and little people and I kindly ask for help to clean the mess. At times when the children have made foolish choices, I thank God for the opportunity to train these little persons for His glory and the opportunity for me to learn patience. At these times I am thankful to cultivate gentleness, and develop compassion. I know what it is like to choose kindness or to "put on" love. In these moments, I bask in the blessing of right choices.
I am humbled by the process of overcoming. It is slow. I toil at the oars. The effort exhausts me and more often than not, I miss the victory. I ache with regret at the hurt it causes me and my loved ones. Sometimes I want to give up and yield to the way I know too well, the way that was modeled for me. This sin is three generations deep. I have cried out to God again and again. Sometimes I feel the mountain is too big and difficult to climb. Sometimes I know, in His strength, I will overcome. How I rejoice when I choose gentleness, patience, humility, kindness, and compassion with Jason and my children. How I grieve when I lash out, blame, and speak from a place of resentment or bitterness. How I weary of the vicious cycle. I assure myself when I am weak, He is strong. I remind myself that it is He that works within me. Sometimes I imagine a future time where I no longer struggle in this area. Will I experience complete success? God is faithful to complete the work He began in me.
This is my mountain.
Last week I was reading from "Streams in the Desert", by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman. The entry on September 3 gave me pause for thought and contemplation. She said,
"Straining, driving effort does not accomplish the work God gives man to do. Only God Himself, who always works without strain, and who never overworks, can do the work that He assigns to His children. When they restfully trust Him to do it, it will be well done and completely done. The way to let Him do His work through us is to partake of Christ so fully, by faith, that He more than fills our life."
To succeed in our "Right here, right now moments", we must be full of Him, not full of us.
To dwell on past mistakes is counter-productive. We need to acknowledge our sin, grieve it with God, confess it and ask forgiveness of God and of the person(s) we've wronged. However, we cannot spend too much time in the quagmire of regret. I have done this for too long. It causes me to stay "stuck".
In the past short-while God has provided three opportunities for me to hear the same scripture. On Sunday I heard a dynamic message on this passage and I'm beginning to get it. I'm so thankful God is patient with His slow scholars.
May this passage put courage into each of our hearts as we climb our mountains to the victory summit. May we learn to fully trust in Him to do the work in us. It will be "well done and completely done" when we encounter those "Right here, right now moments". We shall sing with the saints who went before us, "To God be the glory, great things He has done."
"'I am the Lord, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King.' Thus says the Lord, Who makes a way through the sea And a path through the mighty waters,...'Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. Behold I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.'" Isaiah 53: 15,16,18-19. NASV