Plea for Grace

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Psalm 13:1-6 ESV - 
1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 

3 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, 
4 lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him," lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. 

5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 
6 I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

One thing I can count on with a rare and progressive disease, is that the “goal posts” seem to keep moving. By the time I adjust to a new schedule or find a way of (once again) easing symptoms — it’s time to adjust again.

Usually I can just be flexible and adjust. It’s a lesson that is learned over time (and through much being humbled) but must confess that this week has been “one of those days” . . . .

I burned several fingers on my hand last week (not the tips but around the knuckles) and they are slow in healing. It is still painful to hold a crochet hook so I have some projects delayed in finishing until my hand heals (and now I find it could be a couple more weeks);

Retinal spasms have been more frequent (that goal post thing) so reading and computer time is minimal. Delayed projects there as well;

I read Psalm 13 yesterday. Yes, I know that God has not forgotten me; I know that I am not left to my own wisdom and left to stay in my own grief. Yes, I even know that this progressive disease has an end point. Guess what — David knew it, too . . .

In exhaustion, in disappointment and frustration, “feelings over facts” seek to rule the day. Any one of these delays and distractions are annoying; but they pile up . . . and so, I follow the psalmist’s example (which is inspired by the Holy Spirit so it is actually the example God gives for what to do in this situation)

Own the feelings. Yes, I’m frustrated. Yes, I’m more lonely when I have nothing to do and talking is exertion so phone calls and visits are contraindicated. No, I don’t see much purpose right now; my mind is going full steam but my body is at dead stop.

Cry out to God, my Sovereign Lord. Ask Him to renew my hope. Ask Him to Psalm 119:29 ESV – 29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!

Trust in the Lord. Trust in His faithfulness. Trust in His Word. If I can’t read, I listen. If my brain doesn’t absorb easily, I listen again. I ask the Holy Spirit to glue His Word to my brain so I can remember what I need to resist temptation and remain steadfast under trial (see James 1; 1 Corinthians 10)

I listen to classic hymns and sing along in my head. An advantage of being a music minor in a small Christian Bible school and singing in touring groups — I know quite a few hymns by heart (even verses 2 and 3, not just first and last). I listen to these hymns, am reminded of the lyrics, and rejoice in God’s steadfast love and bountiful care. He truly has been good to me, far more than I deserve, and he is good now and will be forevermore.

Now that I have “calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child” (Psalm 131), I can think of what I still can do rather than only concentrate on what I cannot do. Many things must be done differently now, but they can still be done. I can still do laundry, still make supper, still pay bills, still enjoy my grandchildren, still pray, still be an encouragement to others.

Even if my singing is only in my head, I can still sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me!

Psalm 23:1-3 ESV – 1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

I return to this psalm often . . .and think of this hymn as well. What a comfort that God leads me! I can trust Him to lead me according to his righteousness and where He leads me will serve to glorify His name.

This knowledge of God’s good leading is why I chose the image of the work boots for this blog. There is a quote from Corrie ten Boom that accompanies the picture — “if God sends us on stony paths, He provides strong shoes.”

God does not always make our paths soft grass or smooth sand. Often the trail is confusing or overgrown; there are sticker bushes and exposed roots. Sometimes there are also “others” on the trail who make for a difficult path (it’s quite a heart-stopper to come around a corner and see a moose on the path ahead; or look down to see a copperhead enjoying some sunshine). God’s promise is that He will lead me.

Oh Father, I want to be content in Your leading, whether the path is stony or smooth. You will be with me always, and one day You will lead me to my eternal home with You. Amen

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

Refrain:
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.

And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.

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