Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

July 09, 2004

1.1 steps forward, 1 step back . . .

A friend from church called me up the other day, ostensibly to see how I was doing. This is the guy that prayed for me at the beach last week (I mentioned it here). But I think he really wanted to tell me just one thing. He wanted to tell me he wasn't doing so okay. He said he was struggling with temptation. And he said he keeps praying that God would take this temptation away from him. But He doesn't. And my friend is "sore afraid."

Well, we talked. I mentioned something about Paul's thorn in the flesh, assuming it to be a temptation (rather than an infirmity, such as stuttering). Remember how God answered Paul: "My strength is perfected in your weakness."

I don't know that my words helped my friend at all. I think he just needed to preoccupy himself for a few minutes. It's people like him who remind me not to be glib about the life of faith. And it's people like him who prompted my recent "life is hard" meditations.

All of which reminds me of another friend. She was a Believer, yes, but the battle was exhausting her. Her husband was out of work and into drugs. She had three kids (one of them apparently borderline autistic), and another one on the way. Well, the DEA raided their apartment. Then her husband missed a court-date and got thrown in the county lock-up, all this during the 7th and 8th month of her pregnancy. And that's only the tip of the iceberg, by the way. During one of her frequent panic-attacks some of us went to her place to pray for her. We said all the usual things, some of the very things that Rebecca and Lucy have been saying in their comments, and indeed our presence and our prayers seemed to have a calming effect. Somebody, probably me, mentioned something about patience and being strong. She said, "Bob, I'm tired of being patient. I'm tired of being strong."

Well, that kind of thing is the context of these life-is-hard posts. And of course, this kind of story is not exactly the rare exception. I mean, if patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit, that's probably because in this life, this walk, we're really going to need it, right?

But hey, yesterday I promised, with reckless abandon, to get to the upside! And as Paul Newman said again and again in Hudsucker Proxy, "Sure-sure." But before I do I just want to say that I really love my commenters. These people form a small band of Mr. Standfast readers, and they always make my day. Greg Burnett stops in every once in a while, and I especially appreciated his brief comment yesterday. So much so, in fact, that I want you all to read it again. Greg wrote:
Hey, let the chips fall when you speak/write from your heart. Following Christ is not the easiest life, but it is REAL life! I had a quote for June 28 that is apt:

"Jesus promised his disciples three thingsĀ—: that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble." - G.K. Chesterton

Ah, leave it to good old Gilbert Keith! You see, I don't want to just rush to the pat Biblical "God-is-in-control" answer. If you ask me, "How's your walk," well, I just want to be able to answer that my steps-forward number is at least fractionally larger than my steps-backward number. Get my drift?

Okay, on to the upside. Let's see, how to do this. I could blog on and on about the incredible and supremely sufficient grace of God. Or I could wax poetic about His awesome sovereignty. Hmmm, let me think about this. . . .


Post a Comment

<< Home