It is the nature of man, to bolt when God puts the halter of suffering over our heads. We toss about and fight against the tide of conflict and sorrow in our lives. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
Keeping a positive outlook on life is pretty hard when nothing much positive seems to be happening in your life. Let’s face it, when things are going bad, really bad, there is nothing worse than a confrontation with an eternal optimist. That’s the last thing you really need. At times like that you would much rather hear “You poor thing!” than “It could be worse!” Sure, it could be worse; it could always be worse. But, at the moment, you don’t need to be reminded of the fact that there is still more trouble that could be hidden somewhere and it is just a matter of time before it catches up with you. When you feel like that, you really would prefer some sympathy. Or, in the very least, if they don’t feel your pain they could pretend?
Here’s a story. “One of the greatest evangelistic hymns of all time was written by a woman who knew well the release and peace that come from confessing one’s sins and failure to God. ‘Just As I Am,’ a hymn frequently sung at the close of evangelistic meetings, was written by Charlotte Elliott, who at one time had been very bitter with God about the circumstances in her life. Charlotte was an invalid from her youth and deeply resented the constraints her handicap placed on her activities. In an emotional outburst on one occasion, she expressed those feelings to Dr. Cesar Malan, a minister visiting her home. He listened and was touched by her distress, but he insisted that her problems should not divert her attention from what she most needed to hear. He challenged her to turn her life over to God, to come to Him just as she was, with all her bitterness and anger. She resented what seemed to be an almost callous attitude on his part, but God spoke to her through him, and she committed her life to the Lord. Each year on the anniversary of that decision, Dr. Malan wrote Charlotte a letter, encouraging her to continue to be strong in the faith. But even as a Christian she had doubts and struggles. One particularly sore point was her inability to effectively got out and serve the Lord. At times she almost resented her brother’s successful preaching and evangelistic ministry. She longed to be used of God herself, but she felt that her health and physical condition prevented it. Then in 1836, on the fourteenth anniversary of her conversion, while she was alone in the evening, the forty-seven-year-old Charlotte Elliott wrote her spiritual autobiography in verse. Here, in the prayer of confession, she poured out her feelings to God––feelings that countless individuals have identified with in the generations that followed. The third stanza, perhaps more than the others, described her pilgrimage: Just as I am, tho tossed about––With many a conflict, many a doubt,––Fightings and fears within, without,––O Lamb of God, I come! I come! Many years later, when reflecting on the impact his sister made in penning this one hymn, the Reverend Henry Venn Elliott said, ‘In the course of a long ministry I hope I have been permitted to see some fruit of my labors, but I feel far more has been done by a single hymn of my sister’s, ‘Just As I Am.’” (Ruth Tucker, Sacred Stories)
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” It is the nature of the natural man, to bolt when God puts the halter of suffering or inequity over our heads. We toss about and fight against the tide of conflict and sorrow in our lives. We sputter and spew forth the negative in hopes that God will hear us and recognize the injustice He has visited upon us. We long to stand before Him perfected, not in this imperfect state. “Just as I am? Does it really need to be this way Lord? I want to be like him or her, not like me!” Yet, when the negative invades our lives, whether that be personal illness, a handicap or just plain bad fortune, if we would be but still for a moment, perhaps we might hear that still, small whisper of hope that God most surely puts in every sinner’s heart––true happiness is not a product of living; rather it is the result of the attitudes we embrace while we are alive.
We pray. Heavenly Father, we long to be better, look better and feel better. Yet, Lord, there are days when nothing we do or that which is done to us makes us feel good. Lord, help us to overcome negativism in our lives and gives us a willing heart and spirit to accept ourselves Just As We Are.In Jesus Name we pray. Amen!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
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