Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sharing in Troubles

While slicing my homemade bread, I inadvertently sliced open a finger and my thumb. I just hate it when that happens. I hurried to wrap bandages on the two fairly deep and throbbing cuts, and began to feel very sorry for myself. No one was even home to give me pity. Remaining optimistic is a moment by moment thing for me. It is so easy to let the little sliced open fingers of life pull me into a funk.

I ran into a friend at the grocery store that I haven't seen in months. She is one of those friends who no matter how many moons have slid into the ocean since last talking with me, we always start back in with conversation as though we had just seen each other yesterday. She was feeling stressed with life. Too much to do, too little time, too little reward. And yet, she told me, for now, if this is where God wanted her to be, then she would remember that pleasing Him was the most important thing for her to keep her focus on. We talked a long time, while the cashier glared at us. My friend had just finished checking out, and her cart was pulled out of the immediate way of exiting customers, but they did have to stream around us. We were rocks impeding the swift flow of the grocery clients out of the store and the cashier was clearly annoyed. My friend and I stood there for a half hour, talking about keeping our focus on pleasing God, not men. This was a good thing to keep our focus on, since now the customers and the cashier were shooting dagger looks at this chatty duo making them walk ten extra steps to veer around them.

"But it is day by day for me," said my friend, "I keep thinking if God would just put me in a better job, I wouldn't have all these temptations of anger and stress! But for now, this is where He seems to want me. And so each day, I find myself blowing it, and having to pray to God for forgiveness and strength."
I laughed, "It is moment by moment for me!"
And I went away encouraged by my friend, and her reliance on God. I felt buoyed by her reminder of where my focus should be. Then I sliced my fingers open, and my focus was on the pain and trouble again.

Philippians 4:
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

Deuteronomy 11:
8 Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 9 and so that you may live long in the land the LORD swore to your ancestors to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey.

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