Work in Progress – December 4, 2015

I like what Joyce Meyer says frequently, in her talks and in her writing.  She says, “I’m not where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.”  That about sums up my thinking today.

Do you ever feel woefully inadequate to do what you feel like God is leading you to do?  Or do you wonder what it is exactly that He is leading you to do?  If so, you’re not alone.  With me, it’s a little of both.

Sometimes when I write, I don’t know exactly what I’m gonna say, or I look over what I’ve just written and I think, “Can anyone make sense of that?”  Yet, writing is something I really enjoy, and I especially enjoy sharing my studies of the Bible and what I’m learning as I read.  I’m also working on a fiction novel, which has been decidedly slow-going.

Another quandary I find myself in is wondering exactly what it is I’m supposed to do as in career-wise.  I graduated back in May with my MBA, and when I started school originally, had all of these big plans about how I was going to try and get a high-paying job that would help us get the house paid off quickly and save up money so that we wouldn’t have to worry about finances anymore.

I resigned my full time job last November so that I could focus more on my school work, as a lot of it was very time-consuming, and I was getting close to the end, where I was going to have to write a lengthy report for my capstone class.  Not to mention, the classes on math and finance were challenging to this English major, to say the least.

Then, in December of last year, and for the next several months, we went through a major crisis with our teenage daughter.  She has asked me not to go into detail out of respect for her privacy, but I’ll just say she struggled with depression and had a really rough time, and really needed my care and attention, so it ended up being a blessing in disguise that I quit my job at the time that I did, even though it ended up being for a different reason that what I thought it was going to be.

Throughout that time, my husband and I were driven to our knees in search of answers, and had to lean heavily on the Lord to get us through.  I went through a period of asking God, “Why?” and at the same time, begging Him to please help my little girl.  It’s a strange thing, being powerless.  When you get to the absolute end of anything you can do, you get your loved one (or yourself) all of the help that you can, and then from there on out it is between them and God.

And God is faithful.  My daughter received inpatient help for her depression a few times, and during her last stay, she met a tech there who encouraged her from the Word of God, and even bought her a Bible with her name on it.  The tech told her that though it was against policy for her to distribute Bibles to the patients, she felt like it was something that the Lord had laid on her heart to do for these kids, and that she was willing to risk losing her job if found out.  As far as I know, that lady is still employed there, and I am so very thankful that God put that angel in our daughter’s path.  You see, my daughter was a Christian, but was, much like I’ve been at the lowest points of my life, really discouraged and in need of being reminded that God was still there, that He hadn’t left her alone.

And He was reminding her of exactly the same thing that Paul was speaking to the believers about in Philippians chapter 1.

So, when I was reading from this book today, and thinking of the uncertainty of my future career, and how far I still have to go before I’m anything like Joyce, for example, I read where the apostle Paul wrote in Chapter 1, verse 6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  No matter where I falter, or am unsure, or feel that I lack the resources, it says He who has begun a good work in me (and in you) will complete it.  It says it won’t get done by my (or your) strength, but through His.

Because of this, I don’t have to worry about knowing exactly what I’m to do next month or next year, but just to follow where He leads.  I’m His work in progress.

Further on in the chapter, Paul writes, “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear (vv 12-14 NKJV).”

Paul saw the bigger picture.  Yes, he had been imprisoned, but many saw the power of God working in Paul’s situation, and this gave the believers of that day more courage to be outspoken for Christ.

Sometimes, I can look back on things that happened in my life, and I can see God’s hand in the situation.  I can see how God was there for me and for our daughter earlier this year.  I also see that though I am now only working part time and am nowhere close to the big salary that I had dreamed of when I started school, God has given me this gift of time.  Time for me to take a break from the rat race, and time to think about what’s really important in my life.

Paul didn’t know how things were going to turn out for him either.  But he was able to say, even as he sat imprisoned, and even with the possibility that he could lose his life, “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain (vv 19-21).”

No matter where you or I are in life, God has given us through His Word, the great hope of Jesus Christ.  He promises that the good work He begins in us, He will continue until the day He calls us home.  He gives us the hope that no matter our situation, things are going to turn out all right in the end.  And, like Joyce, we can thank Him that even though we haven’t arrived yet by any means, we can look back with deep gratitude at the things that He has brought us through so far.

“Father, I thank You for Your provision in our lives.  Lord, I pray that I would give You the glory in all that I do, and that I would seek Your will day by day.  Take our feeble human efforts and use them for Your glory and Your praise.  Help us to look for ways in which we can encourage one another today.  I thank You for the testimonies of other believers, including the words and the testimony of the apostle Paul, and of course, for Your life and Your example.  I pray that we as believers would depend on You, knowing that You are faithful in all things, and that we would not worry about provision from one day to the next, being confident that You are able to open doors no man can shut.  Thank You for all of the ways in which You have been faithful to me, to us all.  I love You Lord, and I praise Your holy Name.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”

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