Each summer, I plant zinnia seeds harvested from the previous year’s planting. Butterflies and hummingbirds swarm the tops of the flowers, seeking the sweet nectar presented in little 5-pointed yellow flasks. Goldfinches pluck petals while clinging to the stems just under the flowers; treats in the form of seeds present themselves at the base of each petal. Small piles of rejected petals collect on the leaves as evidence of a goldfinch satisfying his hunger.
My tears have fallen frequently as I attempt to absorb the losses that keep coming. As I write, I am thinking of the dilemma that currently tests me. The vertigo I experienced following the surgery to remove my tumor has lessened significantly, but I am still unable to lie in any position except on my right side without dizziness. My right hip is complaining, making sleep more difficult. I was thinking today, “Something has to give. Either my hip has to stop hurting or I have to be able to lie in other positions. I have to sleep in order to heal and fight cancer!”
A Song of Ascents, of David
1 Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.
Several times in my struggles of the last several months, a friend has recommended that I reflect on Psalm 131 for comfort. To be honest, I found it hard to understand how a weaned child related to my situation until she and I discussed it further. She reminded me that a nursing baby is restless and searching for food, but a weaned child is easier to just hold. He trusts in the mother to provide for his needs and doesn’t need to keep fretting in an attempt to resolve his problems. As a result, he can rest peacefully.
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
An interesting thing has happened during these years of my physical affliction; my desires have changed. At one time, I had a strong desire to go back out into the workforce once our children’s needs didn’t require me to be at home full time. I had visions of contributing to our household income so that we could live the way we thought we wanted to live. The prestige of the positions I had trained for called me to keep the pace going by striving to attain even more. Requests from customers and previous coworkers for me to return to this course stoked my pride and kept my head turned to what seemed most desirable at the time. As a result, I didn’t see the alternative, cooking and cleaning at home, as something that would be satisfying at all.
God’s patience with me not only causes me to want to imitate Him, but it also creates in me a desire to express my gratitude to Him by obediently being patient with others. This is the second point made by Jonathan Edwards in his sermon on how to meekly bear with others with a loving and forgiving heart.Read More »
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
There was a day recently when I was feeling inclined toward bitterness regarding a particular doctor’s ill-treatment of two of our children. My babies have suffered greatly for a long time while seeking help for a medical issue, help that hasn’t been helpful after all. Despite objective evidence to the contrary, this doctor insisted that the prescriptions he ordered were doing what he said they do. Even the ineffectiveness of doses beyond the standards would not sway his steadfast opinion that his methods were correct.
As He prepared to tell a series of parables, Jesus said to His listeners, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Luke 14:35). When I reflect on this, I think of the love He was showing. He wanted people to draw near, because He wanted to teach them something. God cares that we understand what He has to say to us.
From “Our Lord’s Question to the Blind Men” by Charles Spurgeon
Sinners are not half as sensible as sparrows. David said in one of the psalms, “I watch and am as a sparrow alone upon the housetop.” Well, have you noticed the sparrow? He keeps his eyes open and the moment he sees a grain of wheat or anything to eat down in the road, he flies to get it. I never knew him wait for someone to invite him, much less to beg and beseech him to come and feed. He sees the food and he says to himself, “Here is a hungry sparrow and there is a piece of bread. Those two things go well together—they shall not be long apart.” Down he flies and eats up all he can find as fast as he finds it. Oh, if you had half the sense of the sparrow, you would say, “Here is a guilty sinner and there is a precious Savior. These two things go well together—they shall not be long apart. I believe in Jesus and Jesus is mine.”
Block quotes are from “Contentment” by Charles Spurgeon
“I know how to abound.” There are a great many men, who know a little about how to be abased, who do not know at all how to abound! When they are put down into the pit with Joseph, they look up and see the starry promise, and they hope for an escape; but when they are put on the top of a pinnacle, their heads grow dizzy, and they are ready to fall!