The Lord knows the weakness of my frame and I have seen Him carrying me through this even though I have often failed to cling to Him. In those times of greatest weakness, where I was too faint-hearted and cold-hearted to flee to Him, still He carried me. He is showing me how much more tender-hearted, compassionate, and gentle He is. How, now that I am His child, He does not condemn me. I keep thinking that this situation isn't so bad, that I should be stronger, yet still He treats me with such compassion. He is opening my eyes to how compassionate and gentle He is in new ways. Rereading Mark, suddenly I see as if I had been blind to how often it says Jesus had compassion. He is not like us. He is so gentle.
For instance, last night, I felt myself sinking into loneliness again. I laid down on my bed, not sure why I felt so drained. I wondered how I could be sinking again. I thought I was through this. I talked to God. I cried out to Him to help me. Just then, the phone rang. My friend, Jaime, was calling to wish me a happy birthday. It was so good to talk to her. I cried a bit when she asked me how I was doing. We talked briefly about that, but I find nowadays, when I talk to people it's not that I need to talk about how I'm feeling necessarily. More than that, I like to travel into their world. Find out funny things that have happened to them or even if things aren't going so well for them, I still want to hear about it. Sometimes, when I feel so weak, the Lord uses another believer to encourage me. How we truly need the brethren.
I'm thankful for the fellowship God provides over the phone. How hungry I am to hear what the Lord is doing in other people's hearts, to find encouragement in that. To hear what God is teaching them, thus reminding me of truths about the Lord. And to hear that, yes, God is at work. To be reminded how powerful He is as He does miracles in people's hearts to grow them more into His image.
It was really encouraging to receive a card from our Sunday School last Sunday. Nearly everyone who signed the card said that they were either praying for us daily or multiple times throughout the day every day. When I saw so many people saying that and all on the same card, it helped me to see more clearly that God truly is at work through this trial. That if He is getting so many people to be so prayerful, to feel so burdened for another brother, then He is definitely at work. It is one thing to know that during a trial, God is making you more holy. But it seems so much more necessary to go through it when the Lord is also using it to make many others more holy. Then, the trial really seems to have purpose. Then, we really feel like we have to go through this, for others' sake.
This week, I've been helping A.J. learn how to pray before bed at night. At first, I told him just to repeat after me. We thanked the Lord for each person in the house and then prayed for Papa's healing. By Wednesday, when A.J. got in bed, I told him again that we were going to pray. Before I could start, he suddenly said, "Dear Lor, Papa? feel better?"
When I see the children, I just can't get away from the fact that they are sooo wonderful and so enjoyable. I cannot get away from the fact that the Lord has so blessed us with them. And then the Lord brings to mind so many of the ways He continues to be faithful and gentle with us. I mean, with Job, not merely did he suffer physically. All of his numerous children died along with all his livestock, his riches. Then, his wife, the one he was most vulnerable to, was the most discouraging of all, telling him to curse God and die. And as if that were not enough, his friends would not stop railing about how all of his misfortune was his own fault. It was one unimaginable horror after the next.
And yet, really, all that we have to deal with is only one of the miseries of job - his physical pain. Yet, in everything else, the Lord continues to pour out such sweetness. In every way, the Lord continues to be faithful. Faithful by pouring out good things and faithful by blessing us with the suffering He promises His children will go though. "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:3-4.