If you've read my blog before, you might be aware that I previously purchased a few new books in an effort to accumulate some good summertime, poolside reading material. A short week later, I received the books that I had ordered and have since delved into the first one, a book entitled Pilgrim Heart by Darryl Tippens.
Unfortunately, the rain received over the past couple of days has put a damper on my poolside reading plans. But that hasn't stopped me from curling up under the covers in bed for some quality reading time! So it was this evening, as I have just finished a chapter of that book which looked at the idea of emptying oneself and letting go. He spoke of how we need to be willing to let go of things that this world values and prizes, such as wealth, pride, self-reliance, etc., in order to be filled with God's Spirit.
Yet this just seems to me to go against our human nature. It can be such a struggle to deny oneslf and take up one's cross daily and follow Him. It's exactly that for me, in many ways. Not necessarily anything that can be easily pinpointed. I feel this struggle in many "little" ways, in all the areas of my rather mudane life; there's sometimes just a struggle to have the right attitude. And sometimes I admit I feel like Paul in Romans 7:15, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."
But I'm thankful that we serve a forgiving God, whose mercies are new every morning. But more than that, He doesn't just forgive us when we mess up, He helps us to keep from messing up! Indeed, in emptying oneself and being filled His with Spirit, we allow His Spirit to work in us; HE is the one transforming us. We just have to "be still." Tippens reminds us this command, found in Ps. 46:10. In the accompanying study guide to his book, by Angela and Keith Brenton, we are guided to Ps. 46:10; then, we are also guided to a verse in Exodus, which spoke to me this evening in a powerful way, because it takes the command of Ps. 46:10 one step further.
I appreciated this verse even more when I remembered the details of the context of this verse, found in Exodus 14. If anyone was ever on a pilgrimage, it was the Israelites, as they left a land of slavery, led by Jehovah Himself, en route to a Promised Land. Here, even at the very beginning of their pilgrimage, they run into an obstacle. They have a sea ahead of them and Pharaoh's army of Egyptians behind them. They even become so discouraged that they look back on their old way of life, "We were better off back there..." In verses 13- 14, "Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.'" What a blessed thought! I don't have to struggle, become weary, mess up, ask for forgiveness, try again, struggle, become weary, mess up...God will do the work for me!!! He will fight for me, if only I let Him!
"Lord, please help me learn to be still, to let go and let You. You promised so many years ago to fight for your people, now please fight for me when I can't. I get tired in the daily struggle of life. Help me to experience even more what an awesome God you really are, as I learn what it means to rely on You rather than self."
What about you? Any Egyptians you're running from? Just remember not to ever look back from whence you came and dare to think that you were better off before. How could you ever be better off enslaved to the things of this world than you are with a God that promises to fight for you, as long as you are still and quiet long enough to recognize Him for the awesome God that He is? He is, after all, the Savior that promises rest for the weary. Just trust in Him to fight for you as He leads you on your pilgrimage to your Promised Land.