Friday, June 25, 2010

"Stick to to the Knitting"

Just received what can best be described as a 'spiritual kick in the pants.' It was needed, of course. I'm not silly enough to deny it. The substance is basically the title of this post, above. "Stick to the knitting" is probably an old aphorism, but I heard it for the first time only a few years ago. Like quite a few other meaty, worthwhile sayings that tend to reveal all too clearly my self-absorption and sense of entitlement, this one is not about feeling good or being convenient.

In fact, I'd say it fits into the category of that other pithy nugget quoted here before: "When you're not sure what to do, do the hard thing." I note that Elisabeth Elliot, from whose lips I heard these words, is no slouch in doing hard things...and she exhibits the character to prove it.

But, back to this morning's Kick.

Here's the context: I too often find myself faint of heart when it comes to persisting and persevering. It's not so much that I'm a child of this immediate-gratification culture; it's more that I'm lazy and too easily discouraged. I have a situation that has lain and is still laying heavily on my heart. I have prayed for literally some years now for this matter. I pray with a dear sister most Sunday mornings about this. I'm humbled to know that many friends and family members have lifted this matter in prayer for us, and even fasted.

I have grown weary and discouraged by the seeming lack of any answers or progress. I'm not expecting an explosive geyser of answers, although I know He sometimes does that. Just a little glimmer.

As has been said about Job's lament to the Lord {and certainly I do not equate myself with him}, the heavens seem to be brass...with nothing getting through.

Of course, I know that's a fallacy. He remembers our frame(s) and knows we are dust. I remind myself that 'while we wait, God works.' "We walk by faith, not by sight." It was true yesterday, and it's true today. But sometimes just knowing these true things doesn't seem enough. What is the deal here?

On Mt. Carmel, Elijah taunted the prophets of Baal that their god must not have been asnwering them because he was, to put it politely, 'indisposed'. But the God of the Bible is never indisposed. Not slow of hearing. His arm is not too short.

And, sometimes, we can figure out what we DO know, by what we DON'T know. For instance, I have absolutely no evidence, documentation, or other reason to think that God has lost interest and switched to another channel. If that were the case, it might be time to pack up the tent and move on. But, to the contrary, He is the same "yesterday, today and forever."

I am certain that what I'm asking for is in His will. So why is this taking so long? I'd be lying and wasting your time and mine if I purported to have any answers to this question of the ages. As another wise woman told me only a few years ago, "Some things God just doesn't give us to know." He's allowed to do that because of Who He is.

But the sharp kick I experienced was the reminder that my part of this communication transaction is not to faint, not to rant, not to allow myself to tumble into a vortex of doubt, and--certainly--NOT to give up. What I'm asked to do, I am made able to do.
As I've heard myself say too often, "if it's important enough, you do it." So is this matter important. Unquestionably. Have I been relieved of my assignment? That would be a 'no.' What am I to do? Keep at it. For the duration. Ask for strength and encouragement when my own supplies run low. But press on.

I think for me, it has been One Thing to hear and give intellectual assent to the myriad places in Scripture when we are exhorted to persevere. Yes! Keep at it! And, unfortunately, a Very Different Thing to connect the dots between that clear call and the virtually unbudgeable situations I often confront. "Open sesame" doesn't apply here.

How do I know I need to keep at it? Because it hasn't been accomplished yet. The answer is still in the offing. I don't even know how close it may be to looming on the near horizon. I don't need to know. I don't even know how it will be answered, or if I will even occupy my 'jar of claly' long enough to witness it here. And, thankfully, I am not responsible for the outcome. But, it's important, so praying for it is important... and when it's important enough, you do it...

Note to self: resolutely refuse to glance down at how tired I am of this, how discouraged I get or how impervious the situation appears. ESPECIALLY, refuse to gauge the attention or concern of the Answerer by focusing on the prayer object. This is an effective stratagem of the enemy.

The treasure has yet to be keep digging. As hard and as well as I can, and no more. But persist.

Stick to the knitting.

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