I have to admit to you I’m feeling tired and worn out. Since the beginning of the year I have been taking pain killers for a hip that needs replacing. My body is also aging and is tired from being racked by the effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis. As I have shared before I also suffer from the effects of post traumatic stress disorder which causes bouts of depression and at times an unwillingness to deal with certain situations. Come Lord Jesus, come! Should I give in and just give up? Lie down and die? Many in our society today would say it’s my right. Do I finish the race that is before me with a sigh and a whimper? Or do I go on and do the best I can with what I have until my final breath?
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor. 12:9 (NKJV)
How many times have I been reminded of that verse by God’s Spirit? We forget that many are watching us. They want to see how we will finish the race and observe how we face our trials. Many will make the decision to follow Christ themselves based on what they see. I have seen so many give up and feel they can’t go on. They don’t understand that in giving up they have been a poor witness to those that have been watching them. Souls that could have been saved now may have been lost.
But then there are those who even though they are under tremendous pain and suffering, continue on til they have nothing left to give.
"It Is Well with My Soul" is a very influential hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss.
This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the S.S.Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.
Bliss called his tune Ville du Havre, from the name of the stricken vessel.
The Spaffords later had three more children, one of whom (a son) died in infancy. In 1881 the Spaffords, including baby Bertha and newborn Grace, set sail for Israel. The Spaffords moved to Jerusalem and helped found a group called the American Colony; its mission was to serve the poor. (1)
I also had a friend whom I’ll call Marc who served as a deacon in our church. He was in his late 60’s and he and his wife were faithful servant’s who would do whatever they were called upon to do in service to the King. All they did was because of the love they had for Lord Jesus. One day Marc was diagnosed with cancer. You think that with receiving news like that it would cause him to despair and scale back the things he was doing in service. Instead it seemed to strengthen him in his resolve to be a witness for Jesus. Until he breathed his final breath in the cancer ward he witnessed about Christ’s love and brought many others who were dying with him into the kingdom.
I also saw it in my mother-in-law who because of obesity and other problems was confined to a senior’s hospital with others much older then she. In spite of her struggles to get around, she would go around the hospital witnessing to others. She often asked for many Gideon bibles to give out. She continued to do this until her final breath. How many souls were won to Christ through her efforts? We will only find out when we get to glory ourselves.
Each of these could say along with Paul in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NKJV)
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
They did not let their physical impairments stop them from serving Jesus. They recognized that is was God who was getting the glory. They knew they possessed a treasure which was Christ in them, the hope of glory.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Cor.4:7 (NKJV)
So don’t look to see me giving up this race anytime soon. Even though I am tired, I will continue in what God has asked me to do and share Christ in what ever manner I can. Not for my glory but His. I hope that this will be your attitude as well. Believe me when I tell you, the only strength I have comes from the Lord and not myself. It is because of Him I press on.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NKJV)
1 – Wikipedia, It Is Well With My Soul. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Is_Well_with_My_Soul