April 3, 2015

Jehovah-Jireh

It is one of those days, you know, the kind where the "other shoe" hits the floor. You knew it was coming, but you were hoping it would hit on someone else's floor. Still, you knew it was going to happen, and no matter what you did to stave off the truth, you just knew that "soon, very soon" you were going to have to face the reality of the situation. Today is that day for me. It is another "gotcha" moment in a long string of moments where I look at my hands and where I see how empty and useless they are. I mean, I am a competent and capable woman, but today, all I see is futility, hopelessness, and the inability to be responsible. My hands are empty...

I hate this feeling. I hate this feeling more than I hate any other feeling I have had in my life. I hate feeling as though no matter how hard I try, how hard I work, and how diligent I am -- it is simply not enough, not good enough, to handle the things that concern me. I have a strong need to provide, to be responsible for my own life, and to be honorable in all that I do. I stress over not being able to be in control, to take charge of the needs in my life, and to do the right thing. More than anything, I want to do the right thing.

My whole life has been about "doing the right thing." In fact, as a child, I would cry whenever I failed at anything because it struck me so hard whenever I tried and failed. It hurt me, wounded me deeply, and I hated that feeling of being "worthless." Sure, I do understand the power of "life lessons," and yes, I do get the fact that failure is not always a bad thing. Often, we learn from our mistakes, and failure can be a good thing because it can help use learn to endure, to hang on, and to keep on "keeping on." I get it, I really do. The problem is that I am wired, no driven, to succeed. I need to succeed. I need to succeed for a number of reasons, and for the longest time, I thought it was my sin nature gone amuck. I thought that it was borne out of a personality quirk that placed my need for approval above everything else. Today, though, I am reconsidering that point of view. I still see my need to be approved as a psychological issue stemming from my childhood. I think that is part of my make-up, my character, and my personality. However, today showed me that my need to provide, to overcome, and to prove worthy is something far more serious, more grand, and more debilitating. I need to succeed, to be responsible, and to do the right thing simply because I believe to do less, dishonors the Lord. There...I said it. I believe so strongly in being a person of character, of integrity, of honor that to do less than my best in any situation simply shows me that I am not worthy. Of course, I understand that I am only worthy because of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me. And, yes, I do understand that my self-worth, my self-esteem is found in my identity in Christ. Still, there is a part of me, of my wiring, that desires to have the character of my Lord, and to do less, is shameful. I simply cannot fail because then I would be letting Him down. I would be failing to be that person of honor that the Word calls us to be.

I know that in my flawed human flesh, I can never meet His standard. I know this, I know this well. But, I still try my best. I do my best. I still work as hard as I can to be a workman who need not be ashamed (2 Tim 2:15).  I fail all the time, and I don't like it. I do keep on trying, and I always try my best. But there are times when my best is not enough, and it is in those times that I feel so awful, so horrible, and so much like a failure. I simply cannot stand to fail because I don't want to let my Lord down.

Overcoming Disappointment

As I experience the pain of this day, the truth of my reality, and learn to "deal with it," one of the things that strikes me as odd is the timing of it all. Yesterday, I made this grand pronouncement that I was leaving the past behind, pressing on to the goal of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus. Today, here I sit, weeping and moaning because of what I am facing. Why? Why lift me up so high just to let me fall down so hard and so low? Why?

I guess the reason this has happened is because I am at a crossroads, ready to walk out in faith, and ready to move forward with my life. The enemy doesn't want me to move forward, certainly not to where the Lord is intending for me to go. Of this, I am certain. The Lord has a great plan for my life, and while it looks a bit dicey today, I know that He has everything under control. Still, I worry about what I don't have, and how I will do what He is asking me to do. I am reminded of the Easter story told on Palm Sunday -- Jesus tells His disciples to go get a donkey and her colt -- to say if anyone asks "The Lord has need of them." The disciples do as He asks and the story unfolds just as He said it would. The Lord knows what is needed in my future. He knows my needs today. He knows my hands are empty, and that no matter how hard I try to be good, to be responsible, to be honorable -- right now -- I simply do not have the resources to be that person. Instead, I am a person who falls short, not because of a lack of integrity or character, but rather because of a lack of resources. I do not have enough money to meet the needs for today.

I am disappointed in my situation. I am not disappointed in the Lord or even in my son who doesn't have a job and doesn't seem worried or concerned about getting one. I am not disappointed in my parents who could help, but won't because of their own financial fears. I am not disappointed in the way I have handled my finances, my purchases, my needs. No, I am just disappointed in the fact that I am where I am, stuck in this place, on hold, and waiting for a better job, a better life, a better future. I am disappointed in the timing. I am disappointed in the details and how everything has worked out. I am disappointed in the fact that no matter how hard I work at teaching, I am not able to provide a salary to cover my needs. I am disappointed that I may not get to go to Regent this summer. I am disappointed that I may not get to visit my Aunt in Jacksonville or visit my friend in Alabama. I need to go to Regent -- it is a requirement for my degree. I don't have to go to FL or AL, but I would like to do so. My aunt may not live much longer. My friend and I would like to meet each other face-to-face. Yet, here I am today, April 4, and I am desperately trying to make ends meet. I see a long hot summer facing me -- a long summer. My last paycheck for the summer will be in two weeks. After that time, there will be NO income until September 1. I look at that dead space, that long summer with no source of employment, and I look at my bank account, which looks fine today, but will not look fine in two months. I look at my needs and I look at my hands, and all I see is emptiness.

Yet, I am reminded that Jehovah-Jireh is my provider. His Name means "The LORD Will Provide" (Genesis 22:14). When I pray -- no -- when I cry out to Him, I hear Him speak to me "I will provide." I hear His voice tell me that He has me well-covered, and that He will provide for me. Still, I see emptiness, void, lack -- yet the Word says that the Name of the Lord is Jehovah-Jireh, and that He will provide. It is who He is, part of His character, and therefore, He will be true to Himself and He will provide.

Today, I am crumbling under the weight of circumstance. Yes, the reality of life has set in, and there is nothing I can do but accept the truth of the situation. I have great need. I need so much more than what I have and I have no way of getting what I need through my own efforts, through my own hands. I cannot do it. I cannot overcome today. I need Jehovah-Jireh to provide for me. I need the LORD to perform this miracle, this work, and I need Him to do it today. I pray now that the LORD of Hosts will perform, will provide, and will keep His Word and His promise to me. I believe that He will, and I trust that He knows what is best. I look to His hand of blessing this day, and I rest in the security of what I know to be the very character and the very nature of my loving God. Amen. Selah!

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