Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hard Lessons to Learn

Today I took my boys to their first official stroke class for swim team.  My oldest son, Matt, was able to keep up fairly well with the class even without fins.  Unfortunately my youngest, Jake, was a little over his head.  For about 30 minutes, I had to watch him try his best but his best just wasn't enough to handle the lesson.  Since we just signed up the day before neither boy had fins- this caused them to trail behind the group for most of the class.  Not a bad lesson for my "over-confident at times" Matt but for Jake, who could benefit from stealing a little confidence from his brother, he ended with hidden tears. 

As their mother (that's me!) I know that a little hard work is good- everything won't be easy, sometimes we won't like what we have to do.  Lessons learned like this when we are young make it much easier to digest life as we get older.  BUT how much I HATED watching Jake go through this struggle.

Oh, how much more did God hate to discipline Moses after his disobedience at the waters of Meribah (Numbers 20).  I am sure God sat by watching the whole scene transpire, hoping that Moses would not strike the rock, though knowing the whole time that He would.

I wonder what God's tone was like when He said "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them." (Numbers 20:12) 

Was He angry?  Was He stern-faced & finger-pointing?

Or was He sad, disappointed for Moses as much as with Moses?

The scripture doesn't give us tone and inflection but I do know the heart & character of God- I bet He was disappointed that He had to discipline Moses for this disobedient act.  He loved Moses, called Him His friend but God also trust Moses with LOTSLuke 12:48 says "From everyone who has been given much, much more will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." 

Scripture also says "my son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." (Proverbs 3:11-12) Just like we discipline our children when they are disobedient, God disciplines His children as well.  Discipline is a symbol of love though the one receiving it doesn't always see it as such.  This is one way that God demonstrates His love for us- sometimes we need that "love pat" to get us back on track.  Hebrews 12:10-11 says "our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." 

Moses' disobedience halted his journey into the Promised Land.  God had a younger man in mind for the job- Moses' young apprentice, Joshua.  God did show Moses the Promised Land from a private seat atop of Mount Nebo.  On the mountain top, God sat beside his sweet friend and showed all the land that would belong to the nation of Israel.  I wonder if He pointed out Jericho and said "they are going to have to march around that city 7 times then I'm gonna knock those walls down" or showed Moses the city of Jerusalem and said "someday the wilderness tabernacle will be a glorious temple in that city".  Only God and Moses knows what was talked about that day but I have to think that they shared precious moments recalling the many times that Moses had been faithful and trusted God. 

As for my story, we will go back to stroke class WITH FINS- thanks, Angela!  There might be more tears and frustration but hard work builds character.  Also I don't want them to end up swimming like their momma- someday they might want to compete in triathlons and I would hate for them to struggle with swimming like I do. 

Three tris completed- swam the first on my back, the second with back & breast, and the third with mostly free!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Want Rest?

In my bible study, we are overviewing the Book of Numbers for the next 2 weeks.  The DVD from "The Amazing Collection" on Numbers zeroed in on 2 key points: 
  • Belief brings rest.
  • Lack of trust brings unrest.
The Israelites came out of Egypt promised by God to entered a "land filled with milk and honey".  For one year they were provided daily manna & quail for food and cloud & fire for direction from God.  Though their needs were met daily, they still struggled with worry, discontentment and lack of trust. 

Sound familiar? 

I would bet that you too struggle with these issues on a daily basis.  Though we do not have as many tangible reminders of God's daily presence and provision, we do have the Holy Spirit which indwells each person who believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  The Bible also provides daily guidance and nourishment for us. 
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the (woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17

As godly women we need to stop worrying about everything and trying to control all things. Our lack of trust in our heavenly Father only produces a spirit of fear, anxiousness and unbelief.  We are limiting our own entry into our Promised Land when we don't "be still" and let God be God. 

Recently I have been going through a trial in my life.  For the first time I truly chose to "be still" and let God get me through it.  And He did- God showed up in the chaos and confusion in ways I didn't think was possible.  As I was finishing up week 2 of this trial, I felt very weary and tired- my spiritual tank was drying up.  I also was finding less time to sit quietly with God- distractions, obligations, noise- all filled my space, edging out the peace of God.  I became so angry with myself- I felt so close to a spiritual victory but so tired from the journey I had already traveled. 

I thought about my experiences with running and training for a marathon- the race only really brings at mile 20.  By mile 20, the excitement has worn off, the tiredness has set in and the mental capacity to keep going has almost run out.  BUT the key is to keep moving forward- to not stop- continue to push through the last 6.2 miles and reach the finish line. 

The same applies in our own struggles and trials- even though the journey ahead looks impossible and the will to go on seems bleak.  If you don't keep moving forward, believing and trusting in God as you go, you will miss out on your own finish line- your own Promised Land victory. 

Remember, belief brings rest!

Isaiah 26:3-4 "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal."