By Kay W. Camenisch
Life has been filled with challenges lately, mostly health related. My own health has been less than ideal. In addition, my 91-year-old father-in-law, whom my husband and I care for, fell backward down the steps 10 weeks ago.
He didn't break any bones, but has had a series of set-backs in his recovery and has been in hospitals and nursing homes since he fell. Our schedules have revolved around his care since then.
In the midst of it, I've found myself asking, "Lord, what's the best way to care for him? What do you want from us? Do we need to bring him home?" Informed decisions were impossible because his future was too uncertain. All options seemed to involve hardship at some level, but it is anybody's guess what tomorrow will bring.
At times, it felt like we were being asked to sign a blank check, offering our lives for an unspecified commitment—both in daily requirements and number of months—or years—of service.
. . . But isn't that exactly what God asks of us? He's the potter; we're the clay. We sing, "mold and make after Your will." That is asking Him to direct our lives.
I need to trust Him. I need to sign the check.
Why is it hard this time?
I think it's hard because I have an agenda—work God's given me to do.
If I get tied up in another direction, how can I finish what I've started?
I also have things I want to do. If I commit to this, I might not have time for what I want. What if it costs me too much?
But, if my present agenda is making me hesitate—is it really for Him? If I'm not willing to change directions, is that a sign that I've now claimed my activities—my life—as my own? Am I living for God—or for me?
I know the Lord's always been faithful. He will be with me, and He promised He won't give me more than I can handle. His grace is sufficient, and so forth. I know the promises.
But, sometimes it's hard to surrender. Hard to lay it all down. Even when you know it's what's being asked of you.
The Lord is gracious. He doesn't leave us alone in our struggles.
For me, this time, peace came through verses from Ecclesiastes 3. "He has made everything beautiful (appropriate) in its time." "There is an appointed time for everything." "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance" (vv. 11, 1, 4) –and a time to serve.
I can trust the Lord with my agendas, strength, and time requirements, . . . with my life.
He makes everything beautiful in His time.
Indeed, He has made everything beautiful. I just haven't seen it yet.
I love the life testimonies of Joseph and Jesus. Our God knows how to use hardship and suffering—even injustice and cruelty—for His purposes and His glory.
My "hardship" is nothing. My problem is my desire to be in control of my days. I need to yield to Him.
It's all about surrender. And about watching to see how He makes something beautiful out of my life.
We brought Dad home a few days ago and will be caring for him ourselves now. We're grateful for his determination to embrace life and care for himself as much as possible. Now, we're all in the process of finding a new normal.
But, I know that in God's time, it will be beautiful.
He "causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Through the "things" in life, He molds and makes us into "the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:28-29a).
Now, that's what I call beautiful!
Copyright © 2013 Kay Camenisch, used with permission.
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Kay W. Camenisch is the author of Uprooting Anger: Destroying the Monster Within. She has been published in The Upper Room and The Lookout. Contemporary Drama has published one of her plays, and she is a regular contributor to a newspaper column. Send Kay your comments.
Kay is also a pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother. She has worked closely in ministry with her husband, including in local churches, as missionaries in Brazil, working with a church school, training young adults to mentor troubled youth, and establishing and directing a ranch for troubled young men. Visit Kay's Web Site
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