Be Strong in the Lord

As I wondered why in the world did I decide to change jobs just now…I asked God…“So what do you want me to learn from all of this?” “What’s your purpose…what’s your plan Lord?” God answered…humility!

I knew even before I applied for the job…that there would a day in the not too distant future where I would feel real uncomfortable…and have doubts as to whether I had chosen wisely and done the right thing. I knew that going in. Some sage advice…that I’ve given to others and that was drawn from my own experience was to never evaluate a new job in the first six months to a year. Even when it’s a job you like…you are going to have to learn things and will not feel comfortable and enjoy a new job for a while.

I know that…I’ve been there and done that. Yet at the same time…I had felt God strongly opening that door and leading me in the path to take this job. A job completely different from any others that I’ve held. A lot to learn…from terminology to new tasks and programs. So it was with eyes wide open that I made that change…following the Lords leading.

Well…it took about three weeks for me to really have that week that wiped me out and made me have some doubts. Something I knew would come. This time…it was delayed a bit with the 4th of July holiday…my surgery and people’s vacations. But this week…my training began in earnest…and I had a few days where I just wanted to cry because I felt so inadequate and spent.

Thankfully the formal training was for about 2 ½ days. The thing that makes training so draining is that I have to concentrate so fully during that time. My attention has to be very focused and I need to interact with my trainer non stop.

Since this job is so different than other work I’ve done…and I’m not yet comfortable…there are times I feel like a real dummy. At the same time…I remind myself, “Susan…you’ve been there before. In time…you will come to know the terminology, the programs and the job. Stay focused, learn and do your job well.”

This week I started to see why God had moved me in this direction. But that didn’t stop my discomfort and questions for both God and me. Not exactly sure when, where and how God might answer my questions…but I felt drawn to pick up a CD album by Beth Moore which I had purchased not too long ago. I had picked it up at the recommendation of my friend Ruth and had listened to the album shortly after I had received it. In fact…I listened several times…and God had used it to minister to and helped me be encouraged to forge ahead into the unknown of a new job.

The thing I love about God’s word is how fresh it is…and able to minister to me fresh each time I pick it up. How many times…I’ve picked up the Bible and read a passage…one I’ve read before and I’ll see something I’ve never noticed or paid attention to before. But this time it jumps out at me.

Beth Moore’s studying “Crossing Your River of Fear” held a different message for me this time. This go around…God used it to answer my question as to His purpose in taking me down this new path. The answer was to better learn humility. To learn to humble myself under the mighty hand of God.

In this study Beth shows us in God’s word that He wants us to “Take Courage”. Not be courageous…or suck it up…and be courageous on our own strength and power…but to “Take Courage”. He offers it to us just as He did Joshua when he as about to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Just a Jesus offered it to the disciples when they were in a stormy sea about to go under.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – Matthew 14:27

As Jesus had sent the disciples out in the boat ahead of him…and He knew a storm was forthcoming…He knew I would feel quite overwhelmed in my new circumstance. Just as Jesus knew He was God Almighty and He was able to still the seas at His command…He knows that He is able to still the stormy seas of my life and circumstances.

He also has a purpose in these circumstances to cause me to look to Him for help. Not turn to myself and muster up the courage I need. But instead to fall upon my knees before Him and take my fears and concerns before the throne of God…take them to the God who cares for me. The God who knew each day of my life…before the foundations of the world were laid. The God who knit me together in my mother’s womb. That God. That same God…who sent His son Jesus Christ to take my sins upon Him and die upon the cross…so that my sins might be forgiven. That God…my Savior who willingly died upon the cross so that one day I might be with Him in heaven…where He went to prepare a place for me. That God…the very God of the Bible.

He desires a relationship with me…and He will use my circumstances to draw me to Himself. Now this will sound sacrilegious to some…but please know in now way is it intended to be that. But if something similar was done by a human being we would consider it kind of sick…kind of like “Munchausen’s Syndrome”. But it’s not.

I can be assured that God is good and what He does is good. That He has a purpose and a plan. Like a parent who allows their child to fail…so that they learn humility and character that they would never learn with success…God allows me to get in over my head into something that is His will…so that I will learn that I need to turn to Him. That I can be strong in the Lord. That God alone is able and sufficient to sustain me and uphold me in all circumstances.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. – 1 Peter 5:6

God desires that I be humble so that I will listen to Him and turn to Him. If God is to use me…it is imperative that I be humble and learn to follow His instructions. It critical that I not take the glory for myself…but instead turn any praise, honor and glory over to God.

I can see quite clearly in the past year…God has used circumstances in my life to bring me to and end of myself. He has used recent events to help me learn to be obedient to Him and to seek to hear Him and follow His direction.

Well…here I am again. Thankfully I have a recent example in which I did it right. The question is…will I do so this time? Will I have an ear to hear God? Will I desire to follow His lead…even if it takes me through some uncomfortable valleys?

Yesterday I was struck by the thought that life is really learning about letting go…and accepting losses. The sooner I can do that and do it gracefully…the better. The sooner I can let go and trust God…even when circumstances don’t make sense from a human perspective…the better. The more I can reach out to God…taking my needs and hurts and pain to Him…the more He can use me. Will I resist being shaped by God? Or will I submit to God?

Willingly and knowingly submitting to God is so much easier and less painful that it is to be humbled by God and being made to submit.

“His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?” – Job 9:4

Make no mistake…there will come a day in which God will demand our submission. The sooner I can learn to trust God and submit when He calls me to…the better off I’ll be.

It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ – Romans 14:11

So it is with gratitude that I humble myself under the mighty hand of God…and seek His wisdom and help for my current circumstances…knowing that my God is a big God and is more than able to handle what concerns me today. Praise God!

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. – Ephesians 3:20

Psalm 18:1-6

1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.

2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.

6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.

1 : not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive
2 : reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission humble apology>
3 a : ranking low in a hierarchy or scale : insignificant, unpretentious

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