Tears drip onto my paper as I journal-pray. Life is out of control. I’m frustrated to the point of disconnecting the phone, the internet, switching off the cell phone, locking the door and hiding under the blankets. Only I know that last step is foolish. It is to you, Sovereign LORD, that I must flee. Oh dear, I sound psycho. Really, I’m still within the limits of normal. I’m just a little person who is trying to do her best for you. Only her own strength isn’t enough.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV)
“When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.” (Psalm 73:21-22 NIV)
The expectations on me are too high. I wish I were like the agnostics who just have a nice life. Can you handle me confessing that, Lord?
It was that email from dear Joelina that tipped me over the edge. Why should I be pressured to contribute to Guangming’s Bible college education. Joelina shouldn’t have asked me directly … to say ‘no’ is a big loss of face and the fact is that I KNOW how brilliantly he’ll do both in his studies and in the flow-on to others in life. But I’m barely ending each month in the black as it is. It’s asking too much. How dare she even suggest it?
Then there is work. You gave me this job which is ‘ministry’ and ‘service’ combined. It is meaningful. I am grateful. But it is just too busy. The expectations, perhaps which I put on myself, soar as high as Taipei 101. You know that building with 101 floors, in groups of eight for prosperity, with a pagoda style base and a tapering top, God? Of course you do. Am I trying to be like those people in Babel and get to heaven by my own ability? I’m not consciously doing that with my head, but are my actions proving that I’m trying anyhow? It’s not just about me.
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms…. … you should do so with the strength God provides so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:9-11 NIV)
The Wang family next door have a good disposable income. They don’t give much away. Their time is their own. They watch movies, go shopping for fun, play games with a Wii, make lovely crafts, play footy, learn music. It is SO not fair.
“My feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold, For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked….
When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny….
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” (Psalm 73:2-3,16-17, 21-28 NIV)
Thank you for Joelina. Please provide for Guangming’s Bible college education. Give me your mind regarding what to take on and what to put off concerning commitments of time, energy and finances. May I not be swayed by external pressures of others and internal expectations on myself, especially when they’re unreasonable. Grant me the ability to cheerfully do what you’ve called me to do in your strength. May it result in praise to YOU.
And please, in your mercy, save the Wang family.
It's all about YOU.
Help me to keep making you, Sovereign LORD, my refuge.
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