As May rolled around, school started to wrap up for my children, and friends started talking about summer vacation plans, I found myself saying to my husband, “I could really use a vacation”. Not in an off handed way, but sometimes whining, sometimes exasperated, sometimes almost crying. A particularly hard autumn, rolled into an even more complicated winter, and steam rolled into a hectic spring. The cycle had no end in sight. Our family schedule leaves us breathless at best and doggedly tired on most occasions. As a ministry family, we take our family vacation at odd times (churches don’t care for pastor missing Christmas or Easter), and we have until autumn before vacation would come again.
But as has happened many times, I’m held convicted by a sermon of my husband’s only too late to hold my tongue in check. Recently, the Sunday sermon was on Psalm 84, and it struck only too close to my sin and my heart. Verse after verse held me captive as I read it through, but the end particularly fortified me.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
12 Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
God gives us all good things. He does not keep anything good from us. He doesn’t give us too much or too little, just the perfect amount. When I feel my strength is failing He gives me that too (v5). I felt convicted to reflect on the blessings he had bestowed upon me instead of the hard things that had come to pass.
The Lord had been our shield and kept my family and I safe through some situations that could have brought more harm. We had seen little miracles happen in our household and in our ministry. He had allowed a wayward youth to rededicate her life to Him and be baptized, He had guided me to a doctor who believed and aided me in atypical symptoms I was having, He had developed and strengthened important relationships within our church and amongst us with other families in ministry.
Through those hard seasons, I often remember putting my feet on the floor in the morning, feeling haggard, and my heart would whisper, “Today, Lord, You have to come through, because I just can’t.” Again and again the Lord did. He came through, He fortified, He shone and protected.
At the time it felt like a bitter but desperate prayer, but looking back it feels a little more honest and trusting and blessings flowed from it. The Lord heard my prayer as I stayed the difficult course He set before me, and, as always, it was worth it.
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