Tuesday, February 3, 2009

God Is My Strength

This morning in my quiet time, I read about the children of Israel leaving Egypt under Moses' leadership. God didn't take them the shorter but more dangerous route through the land of the Philistines. He led them right into the wilderness to the Red Sea. Back in Egypt, Pharaoh and his people felt the effect of losing their slave force. So Pharaoh gathered his army and pursued the Israelites. When the Israelites saw the army coming up behind them, they cried out in fear, blaming Moses for bringing them out of Egypt to die in the wilderness.

Speaking through Moses, He said, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. . . . The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."

God told Moses to stretch his staff out over the waters in the sea; then He moved behind the camp and prevented the Egyptians from getting too close until He could prove His continued protection for His chosen people. We all are familiar with what happens next. Moses stretches out his staff, a mighty wind blew and parted the waters, and the Israelites walk across the sea on dry land.

When God let the Eygptians see the dry path through the Red Sea, the mighty army followed them. But they didn't get very far. The Bible says that God caused the muck and goo of the sea bottom to gunk up the wheels of the chariots. And as soon as the last Israelite crossed over safely, the water came crashing down on Pharaoh and his entire army.

The last few weeks and months have been difficult ones for me, mostly in little ways. Even though I know that this testing is because of my prayer of the last two years of "Whatever it takes to be more like Christ," it still is hard to allow patience to have it's perfect work in me (James 1:4). Yes, there have been times of great blessing and the realization of long-held dreams. And I rejoice that I can see growth in my life.

Still, when a guest speaker spoke at our church a week ago on 1 Peter 1:3–9, I could not stop crying. Not because of the pain of being broken, though that certainly was part of it, but because of the encouragement I received from realizing once again that I'm not going through this breaking process without reason or alone. God has a purpose for everything He allows into our lives. Through breaking He draws us closer to Him . . . and that has long been my primary desire.

Since then, my laptop's hard drive crashed with no warning (or I didn't recognize the warning signs in time), and while I had all my files in several applications backed up on Mozy, I'm now learning that the newly installed applications don't always recognize them, nor did all the new files I added in January get backed up. Oh, did I mention that all my work is on this computer? So now I'm into day 4 of trying to restore my files and catch up with deadlines. Then last night I fell onto the entry way tile (I'm in our condo rental in Phoenix) when I missed the bottom step. The light wasn't on over the stairs, and my depth perception in my right eye is really bad as the cataract continues to grow. I landed on my left side, on the knee I hurt in a fall last summer and made contact with my elbow. Shook me up, skinned my knee and elbow, bruised the same, and now I'm generally achy and stiff all over. Can't wait until the full twenty-four hours to feel the full effect! Ha! But otherwise I'm fine.

I'll have to admit that I woke less than anxious to face yet another day of computer recovery and extra pain. No energy. A little gunshy of what could possibly happen today that would continue the breaking process. And God brought me the story in Exodus 13–15. So far this morning, everywhere I've turned I've received assurance after assurance that He will give me the strength, the ability, the victory. All I have to do is be obedient—stand still, be quiet—and allow Him to work through me.

LOL I just now opened an online devotional I get from Proverbs31 Women titled "You Are Not Alone." Guess what? The author tells the same story I opened with in this post.

I get the point, Lord! You alone are my strength. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am not alone. While I'm sure the breaking process is ongoing, today I'm rejoicing that God loves me enough to accompany me each step of the way.

And I'm reassured by the gospel song that it truly "will be worth it all when we see Christ." (Though I still can't sing it without crying.) For then I will be tried and tested and only the gold will remain.

“Be strong . . . work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 2:4

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9


Jan Parrish said...

Margie, I'm so sorry to hear about your fall. I'll be praying for a total and complete recovery.

I see we are going through similar things. There's nothing like having your whole world shook up. In times like this, total and complete surrender is all we can do. Cling to the Rock and hang on tight. This is going to be a great year.

((((h))))) Thank you for all your help with ACFW group. You are such an encouragement.

Kathy (sister) said...

Exodus 14:14 was a verse God gave me just last week for the MC in my WIP. How cool to see we're hearing the same things at the same time! So sorry to hear about your fall, though. I'll be praying.

Margie Vawter said...

LOL I have to laugh when I see (sister) after Kathy's name. . .never thought of this when I named my daughter for my sister. :)

Jan, you're an encouragement to me, too. Thanks for your friendship.

And thanks for the prayers, both of you. I'm painfully learning exactly what muscles got stretched and twisted when I fell. Sigh. Why do the women in my family have to inherit the "graceless" gene? I publicly apologize to Kathy (daughter)! Ha!

God is good . . . and yes, it will be a great year. :)