Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Heaven's Chariots

Hittite chariot (drawing of an Egyptian relief)

Image via Wikipedia


“It has been well said that ‘earthly cares are a heavenly discipline.'  But they are even something better than discipline - they are God’s chariots, sent to take the soul to its high places of triumph.  They do not look like chariots.  They look instead like enemies, sufferings, trials, defeats, misunderstandings, disappointments, unkindness.”

Hannah Whitall Smith

I get so tired of the fight.

More than physical fatigue, it's a soul-weariness that sits like lead in my chest; a thick, sticky tar coating the wings of my spirit.

Endless, ugly sniping and bickering.  Tattling and accusing.  Rage thrown in the face of my efforts.  Grating futility.  Disobedience and disrespect so flagrant that they scorn my very existence.  Assaults on the dignity and worth of those I love, and of myself.   

Often I feel defeated before the first five minutes have passed, and yet the whole day stretches before me.  And the next day.  And the next.  And the years yawn like a chasm beyond them, their strength already sapped by the years that have gone before. 

In the face of all of this, I am not supposed to merely survive.  I am to love unselfishly, give devotedly, and rejoice in the Lord.  His love and grace and mercy and joy are freely available to be my strength.

I believe that, at least at some level.  But the lead still weighs heavy in my chest.  Other than its weight, it's more like flint than like lead.  Every time something strikes it, sparks of anger fly.

Here I stand, and it's such a strange place.  Because I do know.  I have tasted.  God has shown me.  All the many words I've written over the past year and a half have come from a place of sincerity inside of me.

And yet…

The joy and peace which fill my quiet moments often seem to flee away when reality claws at them.

I know the joy and peace are real, but the pain feels more so.  At least most of the time.

How can I find the strength to continue?

Part of the secret must lie in repentance.  The Lord has been showing me that my stubborn, faithless self-reliance is the core of my heartache and the cause of my failure.  He points out my self-pity, my bitterness, my self-centeredness, my pride.  He shows me, but I'm slow to learn.

Perhaps another part of the secret lies in the truth that Hannah Whitall Smith expressed above.  Perhaps I could bear the struggles more graciously if I stopped struggling against, and started striving toward.

Not against a child's autistic challenges, but toward God's best for him and for me.

Not against a child's bipolar excesses, but toward God's grace and blessing.

Not against the blows that pummel my soul, but toward the One whose grace is sufficient.

I am exhausted by against.  I can't feel love when I'm against

But toward…there's hope in that.  And there room for more love in that.  Not butting heads with others, but putting an arm around them as I set my sights upward.  Inviting them to join me in this journey toward a closer walk with the One who is our life.

Oh Lord, please help me climb into that chariot!


This post was written in response to the "In Other Words" writing prompt for this week.  To see other writers' posts on this week's quote from Hannah Whitall Smith, please visit Kathryn’s blog, Expectant Hearts.

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Denise Hughes said...

"More than physical fatigue, it's a soul-weariness..." This is very of true of me, this week especially. Soul weary. I too am "exhausted by 'against.'" Thank you for sharing words of hope and comfort today.

Debbie said...

Although I don't know your personal issues and struggles, I can say that in your own strength it is impossible. This is a lesson that I've been learning and am still learning. As long as we're on this side of eternity, we will struggle with our flesh.

But the lesson I've been learning is one of abiding in Christ. It's a moment by moment choice; satisfy flesh or abide in Him. And believe me, I go back and forth all day long. I pray that over time I'll spend more time abiding.

As you face each new challenge, may His Spirit remind you that He is with you and waiting for you to rely fully on Him. Do I understand it all? No way but my understanding is being opened more and more as I study the Word and practice this.

Blessings from one clay pot to another,

Karen said...

"Lord, help me climb into that chariot." I like the picture that left in my heart. Too often we think we just hop on board all excited to go but sometimes it isn't that way but we still need to be on board with Jesus. Thanks for sharing today.

Ed said...

To seek the chariot ride is understandable, but it still goes over big ruts in the road. Thanks for sharing your struggles and insights.

Mary Moss said...

This took my breath away, dear sister-in-Christ!

I join you in my efforts to "strive toward"


Sherri Ward said...

I also truly appreciate the analogy you've expressed - not striving against, but moving toward Him even recognizing that He uses difficult circumstances to bring us to Him.

Gina said...

thank you for stopping by today and for leaving a comment. I loved hearing from you!
Grace to you!
Gina @ chats with an old lady

Kathryn @ Expectant Hearts said...

Betsy, I love the idea of "moving toward" as opposed to "striving against".. I think we all too often try to survive on our own strength forgetting the True Source.
Thank you for sharing on this quote.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Thank you for this Betsy, so real and raw. You are a good mother with a great grace to fuel your heart. I hear your struggle, and I offer you my prayers for the rest of your week.

Blessings and peace, always peace, to you friend.


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