Some of the words I've lived by in the past week (and for quite a while before that, actually) seem worth sharing:
"Never give up." I remember the sermon title more than I remember the sermon, based on 2 Timothy 4:6-8, which includes: "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." The spiritual reminder, which also was the focus of the midweek "Seeking Hour" Bible study, was especially timely as my Dad's recovery from lung cancer has hit some plateaus and a setback or two. It seems the Scripture called out to me right as I was starting to get frustrated and have doubts (and fears) about his health. It bouyed me as I prepared to go to visit my Dad, while I was there and since then as he has returned to the hospital from rehab care. In less serious matters, the words of the sermon title have come to mind as I've watched the Texas Rangers struggle and come back in their playoff run and now slow start (down 2-0) in the World Series; dealt with a sick cat; dealt with continuing work difficulties; and as I've gotten more and more tired. (I have to confess, as well, that the most familiar Scripture that comes to mind when I think of "never give up" is Philippians 3:12-14, including: "I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." Obviously, there are many, many good words of faith and assurance available in the Bible. I'm grateful for growing faith in those words of God.)
"Ask for wisdom." This was the heading for the Oct. 18 reading of my "Truth for Today" daily devotional book by John MacArthur. "For the Lord gives wisdom" (Proverbs 9:6) was the Scriptural reference. "If you lack wisdom, you're commanded to ask God for it," MacArthur wrote. For some reason, these words unlocked something I'd been missing spiritually. I typically pray for help, I pray for healing, I pray for courage, I pray for strength, and yes, I pray to know and do God's will, which could be a blanket request for wisdom, I suppose. But something about this passage and the devotional, as well as the ones MacArthur offered in days to follow, really helped me a few days later when my kitty got sick. It's so hard for me to deal with that, and I really just wanted to ignore it or put off doing anything about it. Taking her to the vet doesn't seem to work; the vet's answer is to prescribe medicine that neither the vet nor my husband or I can get her to take. But again, I knew I had to do something. So, I prayed for wisdom. And an answer that came was to call the vet -- sooner not later, especially since I knew my husband would be headed out of town pretty soon after that. I realized I could take Bridget to the vet and leave her there if I needed to. But instead, they prescribed pills. And somehow, since my husband and I were both here this time, he was able to give her almost all of the pills and she seems to be doing much better. That may seem like a small deal, but considering how that's gone in the past, it was huge for me. I've had similar answers come in other cases where I've prayed for wisdom since that time.
"What am I going to do about it?" The text studied at my 12-step meeting last Saturday was from a story called "Acceptance Was the Answer." The story of experience, strength and hope of someone who recovered from alcoholism is packed with words to live by. "What am I going to do about it?" was part of the paragraph in which the author accepted that, as much as he didn't like it, he was an alcoholic and that he had decided he was OK with that. "When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away." Sure, that's an oversimplification, at least in most short terms. But in the big pictures of life, I've found it to be true. I need to acknowledge the reality of a situation, and then pray for wisdom to know what I can do about it. It usually involves action, but sometimes it involves sitting back; letting go and letting God.
These aren't the only words I've lived by, but it's been interesting how they've come into play several times. I'm grateful to keep learning. May I never give up on God!