Four-Word Progress part 3: Ten Times Fast


There are times in my life when I hate, hate pressure. Well, what am I to do when there’s just so much to do? People depending on me to do my job (writing is my passion, I’m not referring to that), to provide for them and see that their needs are met. Family, friends, acquaintances, strangers. The sea of humanity. It would seem my actions count for so little in this vast world, yet if I didn’t do the things that I’ve been tasked with, it wouldn’t just be my life that fell apart. When seen from this perspective, you rise above the mountain of toil and trial (and laundry) and begin to see your position as one of privelege. People depend on me? That’s awesome. I’m not gonna let ’em down. Service with a smile? Maybe. But at least I’m not frowning anymore. The Israelites, when enslaved to the Egyptians, were made to “serve with rigour” (Exodus 1:13). So much so, that it “made their lives bitter” as it says in the next verse. The Hebrew root for the English word rigour, or “rigor” as it’s spelled nowadays, connotes severity and literally being pushed to breaking point. I must confess, I’ve felt this way many times. Where my anger smolders and there are times I just want to quit. Reality can be a harsh taskmaster.


But reality doesn’t seem to care. Neither does anyone else. I look at people in the car next to me, passing in the fast lane and realize that they probably feel much the same way. And my heart goes out to them. I don’t mean to sound condescending, but I hope yours does the same. This isn’t the highest to which I can appeal in getting this point across, but, there’s always someone who has it worse than you, than me. This is reality. And anytime we would be so inclined to shake our fist at Heaven and shout at God, please take a deep breath and let your thoughts cool down. They’re boiling over. This notion is not reality. I’ll explain: gratitude fixes everything. This thought is true and if we feel so harried and hurried that we can’t slow down and notice the fine details that are so wonderful to behold, then we’re probably going nowhere fast. Acts (3:19) speaks of the “times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord”. Look for them. Because God wants to give them to you. And I know that you’ll enjoy it more if you’re grateful to start out with.


Time marches on. The difficulties might seem to much to bear (they’re not, you’re still alive). But what about love? What about justice? And mercy and truth and a hundred other outmoded ideals that seem to have been forgotten long ago? Our tears are in God’s bottle (see Psalm 56:8). God sees it all. One of the most subtle yet pernicious lies that I’m tempted to believe is that nobody—God included—understands what I’m going through. How could that be? It might feel right. It might sound like the truth. But then again, am I in a position to judge these matters? The only way that I could know that nobody cared or understood was to have a question and answer session with everyone—everyone. And then hope and pray that their answers were honest. And as I am not omniscient, omnipresent nor an arbiter of truth, this is impossible. Nor do I have the time. I mean, if I really wanted to wear myself out, I’d go around thinking and caring what everyone else thought. (Wait a minute!) Here’s the thing: God does understand. He’s the one taking you through this. Really, He’s carrying you: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11) Rest in His arms. He’ll shore up your weariness and replace it with strength. “For when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) Says Paul.


So what do I have to worry about? Try this on: when we take on one or all or a mixture of any of these characteristics, we are saying that we know better than God. This is the unspoken, wordless thought that seems to empower worry. I thought things were supposed to be a certain way. I end up comparing present circumstances with future expectations and then I’m out for the count. Whatever it is you might be worried about “your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things” (Luke 12:30). Please trust Him in this today. God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). And if I’m not willing to ask or think along those lines, then He just may not.

But He wants to. Let’s not disappoint Him.

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