I asked the Lord to search me, and see if there were any wicked ways in me. What I really wanted was a pat on the back and an A-okay sign. Every day He digs up some new weed-of-thought that I’d been walking past, imagining a flower. Nasty habits, unkind thoughts, selfish reactions, harsh words. I sit here, crying, “Lord! Why don’t You work faster? I need to be perfect now!” The Lord must shake His head. As if He delays my perfection because that is His desire. Those weeds remain in the ground because I keep replanting them or even jealously guard them when He begins to pull them up. When will I ever stop getting in the way of my own cleansing process? I say I want to be pure, undefiled and set-apart. Where is my zeal against the sin in my own life?
The specific weakness which came to my attention started as a habit formed in family discussion—that of evaluating others and their mistakes. Papa has always made an effort to teach us wisdom from observing the world around us—a good thing. But what the fathers do in moderation, the sons may do in excess. What can be discussed for the sake of learning, need not take root in my heart and become the words that spill out my mouth. How do I speak of others? Pointing out their faults, their failures? Tainting the perceptions of others? As if I have no faults or failures. How often do unkind or hurtful words proceed from my mouth—the same mouth that claims to bless the Lord? This thing ought not to be. Honestly, the world would be at least an ounce better were I to always keep my mouth shut. But my heart would be just as deceptive. How can I forever keep before my eyes the command to encourage one another and build each other up?
The trip to Kansas came up almost suddenly, when we realized how much Grandma was hoping we’d come “home” for her birthday. Good intentions of finishing Joshua in the back seat of the suburban died in their youth, as my eyes crossed themselves in a feeble attempt to concentrate on the bouncing words. Instead, Josiah added a splitter to his CD player and we enjoyed Aaron Shust. Doctor James Vernon MacGee joined us later in the afternoon, teaching from the book of Ezra—a man who set himself to understand God’s law. Ezra told the Babylonian king that Yahweh would protect His people and begged that they be allowed to return to their homeland of Israel. As he viewed the congregation of Israel, full of women and little ones, his heart tumbled to his toes, realizing how vulnerable they would be. But this man of God refused to ask the king for a company of soldiers to protect them. He’d put Yahweh on the line, insisting He could protect them. How could he disgrace Yahweh now by admitting his fear of man? Instead, he called a solemn fast to beg Yahweh Himself for divine protection—and he was heard. I trust the Lord. Don’t I? Or do I fill my mouth with big words about trust and follow through by asking protection from the world? If I will cling to the promises of Yahweh, through myself completely on His mercy before the eyes of the world and humbly beg His protection through life, I will see Him vindicate His name. As Joshua told the Israelites, God works great things “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of Yahweh is mighty, so that you may fear Yahweh forever.”
Lord, Thou the firm foundation art,
The only anchor for my heart.
The only guarantee in life
Is that I am Thy promised wife.
Lord, teach me such a holy trust
That, for Thy own name’s sake Thou must
Protect and lead me by Thy hand
That I may take the promised land.