Sunday, November 18, 2007

You learn something new every day. Today I learned to kick a football, and I’m not half bad, I suppose. At least I can kick it straight.

The D and S Families all headed out by two, leaving us with an entire afternoon to rest, catch our breath and simply enjoy living. It was one of the most restful Sundays I can remember. We had a family round of football tossing, followed by a motorcycle ride for Mom and Papa, with vigorous football training for me, from Josiah. By vigorous, I mean he instructed me (with gestures, since his throat hurts) and expected me to perform correctly, which done, I was rewarded with an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

Papa taught this morning on Christian Freedom. Really good, and very convenient, too, since I’ve been talking with Lauryn about legalism vs. obedience. I can’t wait to pass her on his FREEDOM principles—a great acrostic with seven scriptural principles for deciding how to exercise Christian liberty.

Today, as Josiah and I walked in silence and I pondered legalism, purity and trust, it struck me how long it’s been since I’ve daydreamed. I can’t even remember the last time those plagued me. A momentary victory until I plunged back into a morose thought of this period of my life—that feels strangely lonely and dark next to the truths I’ve been unearthing. I believe the enemy has changed his tactics. I’m no longer airing floating daydreams and life plans, instead I’m succumbing to depression and slipping into despondency.

Simply put, I’ve been lacking in joy and rejoicing. I sing praise songs, and I say “thank you”, but I’m allowing myself to be overtaken by discouragement. Instead of giving thanks in all things, rejoicing in the Lord, focusing on His goodness, His worthiness and His ability, I’ve been focusing on my inability to be good or worthy. Facts of the gospel for sure, but still with the focus on self—a focus that leaves me forever lacking.

The Lord is good. His lovingkindness is new every morning. His compassions never cease. Those who are His are safe in His hand and He can keep them, regardless of whether I can get through to them on the phone. I can please Him through a heart surrendered to Him, regardless of whether my father is pleased by my floundering attempts. I can come to Him in stark reality, open and unashamed of my helplessness because only He understands it even better than I do. I know that my adversary only spends his time opposing those in whom the Lord is at work, so I trust that the Lord is at work in me. When Satan sifts, there is only one result—purification. Any frustration that drives me to my Savior must invariably mold me more into His image. Any emptiness that man leaves, leaves more room for my Provider to fill. Any wound inflicted to my pride is a beautiful opportunity for the God of grace to heal me of my selfishness and grant me to cloth myself in the garments of His humility.

Lord, when I am sifted slowly

I know that Thou wilt make me holy.

Thou removest dross and dust,

Adversity will teach me trust.

And trust will have its perfect part

In granting me a perfect heart.

A heart that wholly leans on Thee

Will find true joy eternally.

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