“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness…” Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God…” (Hebrews 3:7-8,12)
This morning, as occurs many mornings while preparing a pot of oatmeal, my thoughts wandered to my deceased grandmother. She loved oatmeal, however, her version (in hindsight) resembled candy more than a nutritious bowl of goodness. Grandma used the quick cooking variety, and added in (lots) of sugar and margarine. This recipe wasn’t healthy for any of us, but we ate the oatmeal because initially it tasted good.
On this snowy, cold winter morning – one week after Christmas 2017 – I am glad to have been brought a needed “fun” memory of my family. The oatmeal is a bit symbolic and maybe it was God showing my tender heart a moment of mercy, after hearing recent prayers. This particular Christmas season has been hard on me for multiple reasons. Some I’m grateful for despite how they look and are impacting life, such as, simply feeling the loss and distance of people I love, or the pain I am privy to knowing others are experiencing. Then, there is my trying not to look too closely at the world in which we live.
Honestly, there is sadness in my heart I haven’t wanted to deal with because I’m tired of looking at it. Even through the day-to-day joy I have in the Lord, the undercurrent of life around me just sort of stinks! Normally, it is that I’m seeing into the lives of people in my life that has me feeling heavy, however, right now it’s also a personal issue I’m keeping my chin lifted toward God with, and trusting He has this!
The Lord led me through Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 this morning and I realized that part of what He has been forcing me into over the last several weeks, is rest. “Therefore since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” (Heb 4:1) Rest from…? Warfare. Work. Stress. I was sent back into the wilderness to rest from the constant battle between yet another Jezebel spirit that came into my life, through a job. A job I am no longer at, and as unprepared financially as I was for sudden unemployment, I am praising Him.
One thing the Lord has shown me in the past week is how I am sometimes too loyal to people who don’t treat me well. This has been the case my entire life and something I’ve gradually worked to overcome with the Lord’s help. I try, like my grandma, to inject life into something with no flavor (oatmeal, or in this case a job). Ironically, as an adult I went my own way with how I prepare oatmeal – a much healthier version! Now, the Lord has shown me I also need to keep all of my bowls full of good , healthy meals; that it is okay to reject something that isn’t good for me.
I was actually trying to relieve myself of the situation at work, responsibly and patiently. I had many other opportunities come up even weeks after taking the position (when all was well), yet, as I searched for another position I was putting finances above my need for a healthy work environment. Because the enemy likes to attack my finances, I am always very careful in this area and very good at saving. Well, lo and behold, out of the blue, God allowed the job to go.
I stand firm in knowing this act was for my good and God’s glory. My health was rapidly declining (again) and issues the Holy Spirit made me aware of there, were tearing me apart. But, for once, I wasn’t being put in a position to act, outside of prayer. At the same time, I was spending my evening hours pouring into the book that is about to be published and unable to truly focus out of sheer exhaustion – and of course, the enemy pounces when we’re tired and weak.
But, with the strength of the Lord lifting me up with wings like eagle’s, I walk through this season enveloped in a deep peace, despite what might seem negative to others, and yes, at moments to me (I am human). Then a literal plague of winter’s cold set upon my mind and body for over a week; yet, despite, I managed my way through job interviews, divine assignments, and the difficulties this world can hand us…God speaks to me:
“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:7c)
God had a message for me as I sat down to eat my oatmeal – warm and healthy – because a longing for grandma’s version washed over me and I honored her by sprinkling her love into the nearly empty bowl. I savored it as a singular tear of joy rolled down my face and thanked God for the moment and the lesson.