Three little words. Hard words. In. Due. Time.
I have been holding on to this scripture:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 emphasis added)
Yet I wait, and trust, and over and over give my anxieties to him…holding to the truth that he cares for me…even when I am tempted to doubt that truth. I’ve had plenty of anxious thoughts—especially because the nerve tingling physical pain I’ve experienced also brought on shivering and anxious feelings—and thoughts that would at times go to worst-case scenarios. Note to self: Don’t google your symptoms.
I’ve struggled to find the words to pray, so I’ve prayed through the Psalms—which have become more and more meaningful to me through these weeks of pain. I cherish the love and scriptures that friends have sent, texted, and written in cards. They really help.
Over the past six weeks God has put me back in the “school of trust”. I know that one day I will be able to share about all the things I learned about God, myself, and others through this time but right now I just feel humbled, under God’s mighty hand…and eager to be lifted up.
I’m humbled by the complete lack of control I have over my situation and my utter weakness. I’m humbled knowing that others are fervently praying for me. I’m humbled to be on the receiving end of meals and help from family and friends—instead of the giving end. I’m humbled by love.
I know many of you have been through more difficult times than I–though I’ve had my share. Many of you have lived with chronic illness or shared a loved one’s pain. Some of you have gotten back tests or x-rays that were not normal. I’ve been in extreme pain for six weeks and have had seemingly every test and picture imaginable which have all come back normal, giving no answers except—“this must be some strange viral infection.” Fortunately, most of the intensity of the pain has now morphed into muscle soreness, weakness and extreme fatigue. So, there’s progress. I am getting better. Meanwhile, my husband’s legs are getting worse and I feel more helpless in being able to help him right now. God, when is due time?
All too often, when I’m preparing to write or teach I receive more life lessons and illustrations than I want. At the time I prefer to “pass” on these lessons. Right now I’m working on a new book entitled, “An Aging Grace”. I guess I should have known better than to pick this subject! I don’t really feel like I want to learn hard lessons about God’s grace in aging. Perhaps I should write a cook book instead.
However, I know that it in these “in between” times…before the lifting up part…God’s mighty hand is still there. Though at times I may feel squished under that hand, I remember it is a protective hand…one that cares for me.
Lessons of love are often learned in times of pain…during the time before “due time”.
In many of my books I’ve shared lessons I’ve learned from God and his word through some crazy, some funny, and some difficult life situations. In “My Morning Cup” there is a little coffee cup icon printed in each chapter that separates the crazy situation I experienced from the lessons I learned. What the little cup does not tell is the many things that went through my mind and heart before those lessons learned “in due time.”
For example: I share lessons learned about God’s faithfulness after waking to discover someone with a knife in my back. However, I did not share about the nightmares that followed, or about the fear that came into my heart every time I heard a motorcycle (since the guy rode off on one.)
I share a chapter about a junior high teacher who lost her mind, threw my books and shook me against the lockers while spouting off about a scheme I had to “get her”. And I was one of her favorite students! The coffee cup icon separates the situation from the lessons I learned, but doesn’t tell of the fear I had of going back to school and wondering when the proverbial shoe would drop again. It doesn’t tell of times I transferred the feelings from that moment to unrelated situations where authority incited fear. Life lessons are learned “in due time”.
So…I’ll keep reading in 1 Peter 5 as the passage describes our inward battles before “due time” comes.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
(1 Peter 5:8-11)
Never forget that God’s hand is with you, as he cares for you. He will himself make you strong, firm, and steadfast. In. Due. Time.