Treading a Rough Road…

12 Mar

It has been a daily and continual struggle of spirit versus flesh. Though I could not be more thrilled that my Father in His faithfulness has closed doors, blocked paths, and gently nudged me in a direction so much different from that which I so desperately wanted, there are days when I find it difficult to tread this road.

I try to squelch the urge to look around at others who have the things I’ve longed for since I was a little girl. I try to turn my head and ignore the sting in my heart when what they have reminds me of what I don’t.

And I find that this battle against discontentment has also become a battle of another sort. A battle against jealously, against coveting what belongs to my neighbor and becoming frustrated with how they respond when given such gifts.

As I sat down for time with the Father that has so lovingly brought me to where I am today, this passage from Charles Spurgeon’s morning devotional, pricked my heart.

“Love thy neighbour.” Perhaps he rolls in riches, and thou art poor, and living in thy little cot side-by-side with his lordly mansion; thou seest every day his estates, his fine linen, and his sumptuous banquets; God has given him these gifts, covet not his wealth, and think no hard thoughts concerning him. Be content with thine own lot, if thou canst not better it, but do not look upon thy neighbour, and wish that he were as thyself. Love him, and then thou wilt not envy him.

So often, I have focused on the estate of my neighbors. Wishing I had been given the gifts that God has given them.

And in doing so “hard thoughts” have invaded my heart.

Thoughts of “It’s not fair!” and “Why do they get what I want so badly?”

Bitterness begins to rear its ugly head, and I find it hard to truly love my neighbor when I’m so consumed by discontent with my own circumstances.

The struggle becomes particularly great, when it seems that even though they have the things I want, are in the season of life I am so impatient for, they don’t treasure it like the treasure it is.

Sometimes it even seems like they don’t want what they’ve been blessed with, and yet I long for it with an intense longing that is overwhelming at times.

It is hard not grow bitter and frustrated with them as I see them neglecting to use what they’ve been given to glorify the God who gave in the first place.

Reading farther,

But, perhaps, you say, “I cannot love my neighbours, because for all I do they return ingratitude and contempt.” So much the more room for the heroism of love. Wouldst thou be a feather-bed warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most, shall win the most; and if rough be thy path of love, tread it boldly, still loving thy neighbours through thick and thin.

Recently, I have found this road I tread to be a rough road.

A rough road because to move forward I must constantly battle the sin that brings a discontented heart ridden with jealously and covetousness.

I haven’t been doing a very good  job of treading boldly lately.

My attitude and actions have shown clearly that I’ve been losing the battle more than I’ve been winning it.

But this morning, the Someone who allowed the pricking has also spoken peace.

Assuring me that He will make my “rough places plain” (Isaiah 40:4) and give me grace to “tread boldly.”

Reminding me that my eyes are not to be on my neighbor, but on my Saviour who has withheld giving the things I want because He loves me and wants the VERY best for me.

No the things I long for are not bad things, but since He hasn’t given them yet, I can only assume that He has a more perfect time in mind.

He hasn’t let me settle thus far, and He doesn’t plan to.

This rough road is His gift to me right now  because the rougher it gets the more aware I am of my desperate need for Him.

As much as I long for marriage, motherhood and a greater more effective ministry, I have a greater longing.  

And as I wait for the things that aren’t yet mine, I have been given this rough road and it is the perfect place for allowing Him to develop a deeper more mature relationship with Him.

As I walk, I have His promise that He will “hold (my) hand” (Isaiah 42:6) and “keep (me) from falling.” (Jude 1:24)

That He will “never leave (me) nor forsake (me)” (Hebrews 13:5) regardless of how rough it becomes.

And who better to walk this road with than the One who walked a rough road on His own, carrying splintered timber upon His back, some two thousand years ago.

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