Saturday, April 17, 2010

Face down

2:55 p.m. Today's project is to encourage our youngest son Steven in the last week before his bodybuilding competition on Saturday, April 24th.
Each year, as he trims down to his competition weight, the strain of eliminating nerve-coating carbohyydrates (i.e, comfort food!) causes a lot of emotional stress for him. I have learned to keep it very calm during the last two weeks, and we all make it through to a very good showing for him. His dedication to his art is exemplary, and it shows.
But this year, Steven is very overwhelmed with school, working three jobs--one at a business of his own; church ministry twice a week; and his track team's daily practice. These obligations have left him figuratively "face down on the floor." I am reminded of my lesson today in Jennifer Rothschild's Me, Myself and Lies workbook where she came upon her son lying on the floor beside a mess of undone homework, having given up completely. Like any mother would, she urged him to just get started. The longest journey begins with the first step, and that is what we have to remind ourselves when any daunting task confronts us.
There were some verses on the page that I hope to share with Steven from Exodus 14. With Pharoah's army on their heels, the Israelites had come to the Red Sea. God told Moses in verse 21 to take action. "Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east the children of Israel went into the sea on dry ground..." (v. 23) And we know that Moses' staff later went over the sea to bring it back over Pharaoh's army.
The other example from my lesson was the crossing of the Jordan River during flood season with Joshua as the captain, Joshua 3:8-17. In this very similar situation, action was called for again. The priests bearing the ark of the covenant had to step into the high waters at Joshua's command. V. 17: "Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry gound in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan."
The Israelites would have been wiped out if not for the miraculous work of the God who spoke the earth into being! As the disciples said when Jesus stilled the storm, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!" (Mark 4:41, NKJV)
We serve a mighty God who loves us like no other! God could do all of Steven's homework for him and have him pass his finals without studying--just like He could speak my house into cleanliness and put dinner on the table while I take a nap! But He loves His children too much for that. In His wisdom, God calls for our effort and participation, be it ever so slight, while He Himself moves heaven and earth to make the work of our hands fruitful. We know He can rain down food from heaven, from the experience of the Israelites' wilderness journey. But I would not suggest that an ablebodied person test the principle given to us in II Thessalonians 3:10: "If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat."
May I have the wisdom and right words to encourage my son, challenge him to put his tasks in order of urgency, occasionally say no to an obligation, and find that the Lord was making a way for him all along!

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