It was supposed to be a couple weeks of rest and exercise away, with ample time for planning and looking ahead to the new year. Life, as you know, doesn’t often work out how we envision it. Instead of heading off last Sunday morning to visit a missional church in the area we had sequestered ourselves away in, we found ourselves driving to the ER so I could get some medical intervention and pain management for a foot so swollen it could bear no weight. Remember those carefully made plans for our 2 weeks away? A gale force breeze blew them right out the window.
Last month I wrote that “People of Hope are contrarians”. Seems like the lesson God gave me this week – and it wasn’t a lesson in my plan – is to focus in on the source of my hope. What gives us resilience is not that we have hope based on our circumstances, our position, our abilities, our status, our bank account, our intelligence, or any other aspect of ourselves, rather, our hope in HIM, who, in 2 Samuel 22:36 “stoops down to make me great”.
One could choose to grow bitter over the setbacks of life. We each, in our own history, could dredge up plenty of fodder for self-pity, or for some, self-loathing. Or we could let go of all this stuff we cannot control and focus on Him who is in control. Not only is God in control, and not only is He eager to stoop down to make us so much more than we could accomplish ourselves, but as Isaiah records in 62:4, he also takes delight in you. God is motivated to bless you.
It was a quiet week of nursing my body back to mobility, but the reflection time was rich. Despite all my physical challenges, God is granting me a wonderfully fulfilling season of ministry. I’d rather not have my list of medical issues, but I would not trade away the ministry of my life that God has given me.
We finally made it this Sunday to the church my missionary colleague had recommended. They had a guest preacher, Rene Schlaepfer, who is the author of the book Chasing David. It was one of those Sunday mornings where you realize the sermon is tailor made just for you as he preached out of 2 Sam 21-23. As he illustrated, an old (maybe decrepit) King David joins in the latest round of battle with the Philistines, but finds himself “exhausted”, and is barely saved from death by an Israelite warrior. After the battle, the warriors basically tell David he is too old and infirm to ever go into battle again. Hang it up, old man!
2 Sam 22 contains David’s last psalm, in which he recounts his near-death experience (or maybe more than one) in verses 5 and 6, and then praises his great God and recounts how God delivers him from verse 8 to the end of the chapter. Take a moment and read those verses of intervention. Schlaepfer points out, however that God did not physically intervene when David faced Goliath. He did not physically intervene when David was cowering in caves as Saul hunted him down. Rather, David is reflecting on his trust in God that gives him strength far beyond his own ability.
We’re often not very capable in and of ourselves. And sometimes we’re downright decrepit. But He… He stoops down. He makes us great. And He delights to do so. And that allows us to continue the ministry of our lives in unshakeable confidence.
Give Hope. Give Life. Give Bibles.