Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHALLENGE (08/17/17)
- TITLE: Nine Letter Sentences
By Lynda Schultz
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Hope is the expectation that what I say, and write, will find its way through the maze of fear, anger, disappointment, doubt, and rebellion that is in us all. Within me lies the hope that the Spirit of God will penetrate those walls. I hope that His word is not sullied by mine. Only His can change anything and anyone. And always there is the hope that the words He plants will change me first.
Action follows direction, or desire. Procrastination is a soft bed and a beckoning pillow. It beguiles, promising a better day tomorrow. But it is the enemy of the mission. I will do what I promised God to do, not hastily, but neither laggardly nor lazily. I must do what He commands, obedience being the ultimate end of love. I will not wait for others—neither for their companionship on the journey, nor for their affirmation. I will take the steps He orders and speak the words He commands.
Leaning doesn’t come easily. The past necessitated independence and initiative—a product both of heredity and environment. Now, decades later, with habits entrenched, it is hard to rest in the Lord, on the Lord, because of the Lord, and trust Him to do His work in me. It is not a question of doing nothing but of abiding in Him and allowing the “being” to morph into the “doing” that will bring Him glory.
Listening for His voice among a myriad of other voices, including my own, might be the greatest goal of all. The world makes too much noise, as though more volume could overwhelm the sickness that eats the soul. Then comes the still whisper of the only voice that matters, the only sound that counts. He speaks, sometimes in volumes, sometimes just a word—JESUS. When peace ceases, when hate rules, when sadness overwhelms, I will listen for His voice. I will listen hard.
Encouragement, even its smallest grain, spurs me on though I hesitate to seek it. Somehow that seems too self-centred. But as a plant needs water to thrive so does the soul need encouragement to blossom, to strive, to find meaning. It seems that every time I want to quit, God comes along and send me just a smidgen of “Keep going! Don’t be discouraged!” I am so slow to catch on, too easily distracted and too easily disheartened, too overcome by fear. But I take what He has repeated over and over again and hug those words close to my heart, plant them in my head, and fortify my resolve.
Nourishment to my soul is Your Word, O Lord! It satisfies even the deepest needs. Yet how little time I truly spend at feeding from the bountiful table that You have laid out. I nibble when I should gorge. I pick when I should finish a full plate. I turn my nose up at the servings I don’t particularly like, forgetting that they too are all part of the same dish of “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.”* Make my hunger for You more acute that my hunger for anything else.
Grace takes me back to that spot on a hill where, shadowed by a cross, I am told everything I need to know. The debt is paid, the account is closed. I am forgiven. I am free to be everything His sufficient grace has designed for me. Grace lifts me onto my Father’s knee.
Excellence, not perfection, is the endgame. Perfection doesn’t happen here, but excellence does. I will do my best with all that He provides. I will do my best, not to bring myself glory, but to bring glory to Him by bringing others just one step closer to Him. I will strive for excellence because He is excellent. Though the brightness of my efforts amounts to the barest twinkle of the smallest star, I pray my life will be a reflection of His.
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