Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tender Mercy

All the way my Savior leads me;
  What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
  Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
  Here by faith in Him to dwell!”

The Savior leads with tender mercy.  How often I need that reminder!

I’ve been reading a book by Elisabeth Elliott, God’s Guidance: Finding His Will for Your Life.  In just the first two chapters, I’ve encountered so much to both challenge and encourage me. 

Lately, I’ve felt constantly behind.  Behind on my work.  Behind on my goals.  Behind on making progress toward the future.  I feel like I should be so much farther down the path.  And yet, so often, I’m tired.  I do my best, but the demands of the day often leave me with very little strength to do the extra things that I believe my life requires.

How can I possibly follow God’s path for me when each day rushes past, and I reach the end exhausted, but not discernibly closer to my goal?

When I make decisions, I pray about them.  I know He holds my future in His hands.  I have confidence that the Lord has given me guidance and direction.  But, even still, my progress is glacial.  My strength, it seems, is indeed small.  I want to obey.  I want to forge ahead with alacrity and will.  I want to take the path in leaps and bounds.

My spirit is willing, but my body (and more often, my mind) is weak.  I know what I should do, but I take only the smallest steps each week.  Am I disobeying?  Will my slow progress negate the Lord’s plan?

And then, the words of Elisabeth Elliott helped me hear the Lord’s counsel.  “Following God,” she says, quoting the words of her friend, Eleanor C. Vandevort, “is not like walking a tightrope.”  Mrs. Elliott pointed out, through scripture after scripture, that with God’s leading comes His compassion.

“He who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them.” (Is. 49:10)

“I will lead him and requite him with comfort.” (Is. 57:18)

“My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” (Ex. 33:14)

Then I realized that God is more in control than my anxious thoughts allow.  He plans, not just knowing the path, but knowing my weakness.  Must I obey?  Yes.  Do I have to do more than He gives me strength to do?  No.  His timetable is perfect, even when my execution of His will is not.  He’s powerful enough to use my frailty for His purpose, and as long as I keep heading in His direction, He’ll take care of the outcome.

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