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This is a sort of continuation, of the devotion on Psalms 42 and 43, after receiving personal notes from friends who are struggling… some to the point of giving up.

It’s a bleak existence we mortals occupy.

Hours, days, years spent writhing against the unavoidable, between the first moment we enter this world and the last moment of departure. Too many times my flesh twists and flails in refusal of what life hands me, the demands it makes of me.

What did I do to deserve this? Take it back… I don’t want it. I never asked for this!

Then, after a time… sometimes a very lo-o-ong time… the wrestling ceases. Taking a deep breath, I resign myself to what I know to be true—God can be trusted. And I can learn it one of two ways: either I submit and reap the good… or I take matters into my own hands. It is later when I look back and realize, Ouch. Not such a great idea after all.

Then I have the consequences to deal with. Life is complicated enough without my adding to it by not trusting, not following God’s leading.

I’ve come to learn, in these wrestling matches with the Divine, winning is dependent on my perspective. And while God may not always convince me He’s right, He is always right. I will learn of His rightness one way or another. I can bow the knee now, or later. But there will come a day when every knee will bow, like it or not.

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In my wrestlings, I ponder the words of my Maker… principles, warnings, instructions I have read numerous times… My spirit sways, back and forth, between God’s way and my way… I am amazed at how stubborn this contemplative girl can be… and even more amazed at His patience…

When I finally do submit (a process which, gratefully, seems not to take quite as long as it used to—but that could change at a moment’s notice, given my fickle nature!), goodness comes in one form or another. Goodness is not always revealed, though, immediately, or even in ways expected, so be forewarned.

Thanks to Adam and Eve, some of the ugliness in life is the fault of our first parents. For some, I am solely to blame. While other times the disfigurement comes courtesy of another’s decisions, responses, rebellions… Thanks, guys!

Yet, I am then reminded by the Holy Spirit’s tapping on my shoulder, that many of my own failings have affected those around me. If I expect mercy I must extend that same mercy to others, and in generous quantities… Ouch (again!) Sorry, guys!

However it comes… whatever shape or form… wherever the occasion, whenever the timing… I have a decision to make: what will I do with the jumbled, tangled mix of the good and bad, life continually hands me? Especially when the good seems only to visit temporarily, but the bad long outstays its welcome!

Women often confide: their Disillusionment and Disappointment with life, with marriage, with family, with God… I too have experienced the double “Ds” and still at times struggle to understand.

I’m doing all the right things… but why aren’t they working?

Most of us live with great expectations… noble, lofty ideals (or purely selfish ideals) rarely met, if we’re completely honest. Yet it is to these next-to-impossible ideals that we constantly devote ourselves to… insisting that they work, no matter how unworkable they prove to be.

So… is this vain life nothing more than a test of our endurance, requiring us to make the best of unwanted circumstances… pushing us to the limit of human durability?

Or is it one lifelong obstacle course, designed to prove how clever and agile we are? Only by dodging the cones, zipping over speed bumps, jumping hurdles, climbing ropes, avoiding booby traps, are we able to gain or lose points…

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And only if we can somehow hang on to enough points, at best we’ll not only make it to Heaven… we might even win a prize… or at the least, we hope not to end up miserable, like that other poor soul down the street, or sitting across the sanctuary.

Just maybe we’re nothing more than pawns in a cosmic strategic contest, a match of wits between mythological god-like beings to determine who will win domination of the universe?

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Thankfully, none of the images above accurately reflect the goings-on of this earthly sojourn. But more about that later.

Still, we can’t help but wonder, what happens when the circumstances of life beat us down with little or no relief…?

When challenges appear, enemies seem always on the attack, relentless, coming one after another after another…?

When progress seems minimal, nonexistent, two steps forward, three steps back…?

When I begin thinking, I’ve been jinxed, cursed, by some cruel wizard from a land long ago and far away…?

When we’re left bruised and numb, dazed, waiting, wondering, Where in the world are You, God?

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Because we’re the faithful ones, seated in church every Sunday, listening to the expositions of the men of God, taking notes, highlighting verses, memorizing, meditating, trusting in childlike confidence in what we’ve been taught.

And what about all those verses… the promises of God?

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart… Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass… But the wicked shall perish… into smoke they shall vanish away…  –  Psalm 37

How long must we wait for God to keep His end of the bargain?

And when will the blessings start raining down on me, instead of incessant trials?

 

To be continued…

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