I have been told, once or twice, that I am hard-headed. I’mm not sure that this is strictly true. I say this because its not so much that I resist being taught as it is that I sometimes take a long time to fully implement newly ralized things into my life. This has never been more true than with the lesson that I must relinquish control of my life – all of it – to the sovereignty, grace, and control of my God.
There has to be a balance between faith and reliance on God on the one hand, and a diligent work ethic on the other hand. I believe that God has called us here at this time to do a specific work. I want to know that at the end of the day I can always say that I worked as hard as I could at my task. That I didn’t slack off. That I gave myself fully to this work. Yet at the same time, I want to rely fully upon God, not my own devices to accomplish my task. I cannot bring glory to God that he does not bring to himself.
Lately, though, I realize that I have been exerting so much effort into doing all that I can, that I have failed to allow God to step in fully and bless me the way that he wants to. As a loving father, I believe he has used the past 24 hours to reprimand me, and to remind me of my need for him in everything.
I started this week with a lot on my plate. I have been diligently working to keep up, but simply have a huge workload this semester. I watched the baby during the day Monday, and had my evening set aside to work, work, work. But just as I was getting started, everything came to a crashing halt. A stomach bug has been floating around. Sarah had it over the holiday, and several people around campus have had it. Apparently, this virus chose the exact moment when I thought I most needed to work to attack my system with full force.
So, with 150 pages to read and summarize, a paper to write, and a Hebrew vocab exam to study for, I found myself relegated to a quivering mass (after hugging the toilet) on the bed at home. My first thought was one of panick. How am I ever going to get it all done? I’m going to fail!
And then, as so often happens, God spoke to me through the quiet countenance of my wife as she said, “It will be ok. God will take care of it.”
She was right, of course. I spent the entire night “spilling my guts”, and praying for God’s sustaining grace this week. And you know what? When I woke up this morning, feeling horrible, I spent a few minutes memorizing vocab while choking down some water. And then I went to class and scored a perfect on the quiz. Not only that, but I finished reading, writing my summary, and wrote my whole paper with time to spare before class tonight. Baruch HaShem! Blessed is the Name!
I am feeling much better now, though I still have some recovering to do, but I have been taught a valuable lesson. Take your head knowledge and make it heart knowledge. In other words, if you say you trust that God will sustain you, then stop trying so hard, or your “faith” is fruitless.
I am grateful that we have a God who is willing to love us, sustain us, teach us, and when necessary discipline us. Thank you for this important lesson. But if I have my choice, next time I would prefer that He use something other than a stomach bug to get my attention.