[This is from a Facebook post from Bethany Collins, houseparent at Exodus cottage at Joy Ranch from December 6, 2022.]
Been reading Psalms with the girls. Found this amazing tidbit last night. We are reading from “The Voice” – which has a great way of making things ‘hit home’.
Psalm 16: 7-8
I will bless the Eternal, whose wise teaching orchestrates my days
and centers my mind at night. He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand.
Doing what Gene and I do, especially during the holidays, with all the emotions they stir up, it can be pretty easy to feel overwhelmed and much like moving the beach one grain of sand at a time. What’s the point? Does it truly make a difference when trying to overcome generations of distrust, misuse and addiction (to name only a few)? One’s efforts can begin to feel futile – unless we focus on the right things.
We teach the kids: what you focus on grows. The mind FEASTS on what it focuses on. So, at this time of year, what will I (we) focus on? What I’m trying to do – and seem to think I have to accomplish on my own – or what God has already done? He *came*. He showed up. He didn’t have to. I know He doesn’t think His efforts with me are futile, I also know it would be fair if he did.
So, I will “center my mind” on “his wise teaching” and not “abandon my calling”. This is the phrase which caught my attention – “abandon my calling”. How often this leads to downfall – failures (moral and otherwise) – those that surprise us, and those we saw coming. Purpose (calling) has been abandoned in the pursuit of what feels good now, in following short-term fixes to issues requiring long-term solutions. The easy traded for the valuable; the good-enough for the priceless. Our birthright, for a bowl of soup. The mind begins to feast and focus on the unfair so we veer off the path because immediate gratification starts to outweigh eternal reward and benefit. We forget this abandoning effects not only ourselves, but those we were meant to reach. Jeremiah stated: “But when I tell myself, I’ll never mention Your name or speak for You again, it’s no use. The word of God burns in my heart; it is like fire in my bones. I try to hold it all in, but I cannot.” To abandon our calling is to assume that silence is never sinful. That we are the only one who will pay the price.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Voice) So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. Consider the life of the One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart.
The Voice adds this ‘note’: We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn.
Sometimes we need a reminder to run OUR race. Not our neighbors or the race we would have preferred had been set before us. Don’t let the current terrain distract you from rescuing and reaching those that God has gifted you to help.
How then shall we conquer if we do not fight? If it is true that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”(Edmund Burke) How can we do nothing and yet feel justified in remaining frustrated that evil triumphs? Yet another reason God asks of us that we treat others as we ourselves would wish to be treated. I, for one, have no desire to be abandoned, deserted or cast-off and will do my best to make sure the kids entrusted into my care don’t feel that way either. No matter how messy the fight.