I have had several things happen in the past three weeks at work that have been particularly difficult for me. I have also had some situations at home that have been equally troubling. And as you know from yesterday's post, I have lost several friends this week, including the one on Monday who I can't seem to get over. My grief is surprisingly debilitating and exhausting.
On top of all that, we are in the midst of some pretty intense spiritual warfare at our organization. I never used to talk about spiritual warfare until I came here and see it play out every day. We recently received our license to be a Child Placing Agency, something the enemy was not interested in. I'm not sure why I thought once we had that he would let up and leave us alone, but he has amped it up and has begin to attack people in many different ways. The work we are doing here and the work we are about to do is so important and so powerful that there is great opposition.
With all this in mind I'm realizing that my performance is compromised. What is being required of me, on top of everything else I'm dealing with internally, is becoming more difficult by the day. Maybe you are feeling this too in your life ... that you are being attacked in some way and you aren't able to be the mom, husband, teacher, parent, employee, church member, friend that you want to be.
When I look at what I am currently facing I realize that in comparison to many in the world I am not struggling. I am never without food or shelter. I'm not in the middle of a hurricane or worrying I will be, and I am not watching fires burn uncontrolled around me. It is not one of my family members who has died. And yet my stuff is my stuff and what I'm dealing with is hard right now.
There is a story in 2 Samuel 22 where David needs to sacrifice something to God to regain God's favor for Israel. He goes to by a threshing floor from a man to prepare the sacrifice, and the man offers him all that he needs to make the sacrifice. The oxen, the wood for the fire, all of it. But David responds, "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
I woke up thinking about this story because there are times in our life when what God calls us to do is easy. He provides us with what we need and He gives us what we need to do it. But there are days when what He is calling us to do is just awfully hard. It's at that point in time where our sacrifice costs us ... a lot. And it's at that point that He expects us to do our very best.
Before sharing a song that clearly articulates this point, I want to challenge you to do two things:
1) Whatever you are facing today -- even if it is something really hard or even if you do not have the energy or strength -- offer God your very best as a sacrifice of obedience to Him. I believe that our doing our best during the hardest times of our lives are the greatest sacrifices we can give to God ... because they cost us everything we have.
2) Recognize that you may be surrounded by others whose very best does not look all that great to you, but you don't know their complete story. Pray for them, give them grace, love them. This very act -- giving grace to someone who does not deserve it when their performance is less that what you would hope -- is a sacrifice that is very pleasing to God.
If you have never heard this song (and even if you have) I encourage you to listen to it today and make the same commitment I am making today -- to offer a sacrifice to God that costs me everything that I have, to give Him my very best, and to give grace to those around me who may very well be giving their best as well.