Sometimes the best answers are hiding in plain sight.
It had been one of those days where irritations piled up like derailed train cars. When finally the children were asleep in their beds and exhaustion oozed from my every pore, I collapsed in front of the computer. To be consumed with distractions and just to relax. Jeff's farming hours are long and this was one of those times I had just "had it."
I saw a friend was online and we began chatting back and forth through instant messaging. Her words always encourage me, her home filed with many children and a husband who works evenings too. I knew she would understand, so I began unloading my day's irritations.
Something annoying happened. [Enter]
And something worse. [Enter]
And then it was something else. [Enter]
You wouldn't believe this, but it was even worse. [Enter]
It was one thing after another and I lost it. [Enter]
I acted like I said I wouldn't. [Enter]
I failed so badly today. I feel so defeated. [Enter]
This day just sucked. [Enter]
And silence from the other end of the chat. My words stared back at me and my mind raced. Why was this day so horrible? Yesterday wasn't any better. There wasn't much hope.
Finally a popping sound signaled my friend's reply.
Have you been reading your Bible? She asked.
Insensitive? Preachy? Holy-er than thou? I wanted to cling to those feelings as I read her question again. But I knew the answer. No, I had not been reading my Bible. My rushed prayers (if any) led to unpleasant, impulsive actions and it all ended in a day that "just sucked."
No, I haven't had time, I replied.
You can't do this job on your own. Let God feed your soul. When you read your Bible every day, you have strength to act in obedience, she said.
As I was thinking, "I know all this... I just haven't done it," her next sentence arrived saying, "You know it is true. We all just need reminders sometimes."
Part of me still longed to hear "Oh, that's okay. Life is out to get you... you poor dear," but I needed that kick in the seat of my pants. I left the chat to go find my Bible.
Ironically (or maybe not), my Bible was sitting on the hutch in the dining room and a fruit basket sat on top. One lone pear in the basket had rotted and left stinky juice to run through the basket and on to the leather cover of my Bible.
How long does it take fruit to rot? Maybe about as long as it takes my weary soul to realize I can't do this on my own.
The difficulties of this life are inescapable, but God provides the answer.... in plain sight.
"In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world."
My pastor is preaching through the book of Mark and a verse leapt off the page while I read the passage during the sermon. ..."The whole crowd was amazed at his teaching" (Mark 11:28). This isn't talking about awe-inspiring miracles. Just "teaching." Yet, the people were AMAZED by the simple truths they heard from Jesus. The pastor expounded on that verse by saying, "Open your Bibles and read. God has amazing things to show you. When you are reading and seeking, you will be encouraged."
You. Will. Be. Encouraged.
We serve a God who has all the power. His strength is perfect, when ours is gone (II Cor. 12:9). But we can't just wear around power-ranger suits and expect no effort on our parts. This "easy" answer will take some work (I had to clean rotten pear juice off my Bible first). Open the pages. We need to learn and practice by reading the Bible and we will be encouraged. And as my friend said, we'll have the strength to act in obedience when those sucky days come.
This post is featured on Drops Of Living Water today (Monday). :)