Good Waiting

I recently heard this quote: “Hard is hard, but hard is not bad.” One of the hardest things in life is waiting. Waiting for the stop light to change. Waiting for the winter to pass. Waiting for an intended outcome. Waiting for healing from surgery. Waiting for an ache to stop. Waiting on the Lord for next steps…

Waiting is not bad. One of my favorite books is THE HEART OF A SERVANT LEADER by C. John Miller. It is a compilation of pastoral letters that “Jack” wrote encouraging Christian leaders to fulfill their primary role to be servants. And often, that role involves remembering that God’s plan is bigger than whatever pain comes into our lives. The call of God is for us to stand by in childlike trust, knowing that waiting produces godly character. Psalm 25:21 says, “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.”

I’ve always been most distressed when I am “rushing” in my spirit, not just my body. Wrapped up in squeezing the blood out of time. Full of myself, thinking I can get so much done and that I must. Creating my own overwhelming dance card. Filling up every minute to a frenzy. It may not look like it on the outside, but it is crushing on the inside. And why?

As I overload the schedule and rely on my own strength and competence, I forget that God is in charge. I forget to care for others in the wake of my self-focus. I miss out on joy and freedom in Christ. I make my own prison trying to force things to happen. Yet, when I recognize the God Who is working His often unseen plan through my energies, thoughts, decisions, and circumstances, then I can stop rushing and do some good waiting.

C. John Miller says: “Praise grows out of God-given perception of reality, a seeing that God is infinitely good and infinitely good to me in Jesus Christ in every circumstance. To have that kind of praise, you need to take time, to wait upon the Lord in prayer and meditate upon His greatness and grace and the might of His kingdom…Praise Christ because He has worked to give you a self-forgetting love” for those strugglers whose paths intersect with yours. In the same letter to a struggling missionary, he says, “…The Spirit may be released in a new way when work is done with less haste and pressure.”

James 4:13-15 says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

Good waiting isn’t meant to bring life to a screeching halt. God will reveal His providential will of control in hindsight. We will look back and see that God was always applying His purposes to the story of our lives. His movement will always be in the background in ways we cannot see in the present. However, we are still called to make responsible decisions, remembering that there is good sense in making wise adult choices while having the faith as small as a mustard seed at the same time. This is not about idleness, but about living fully. Live fully by dedicating your life plans to a Sovereign God Who can be trusted to guide you in these. And be intentional about leaving room in your heart and mind for prayerful waiting on God in the midst.

Psalm 39:7 says, “And now Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.”

Photo credit: Ro Seaman

On This Special Day

Psalm 90:12-17 (NLT) says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. O Lord, come back to us! How long will You delay? Take pity on Your servants! Satisfy us each morning with Your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, Your servants, see You work again; let our children see Your glory, And may the Lord our God show us His approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!”

This inspiring scripture came with a birthday card from a dear friend! I have literally been celebrating one of my twilight birthdays for the whole month of February! This is again a reminder of how many wonderful friends I have been given by God! Breakfasts, lunches, and movie dates have filled my special month and have been tied to my special day of birth!

I store away special greeting cards as keepsakes for a long time, especially ones that express the treasure of friendship, the wisdom of God, and the reminder of God’s grace in a world that pushes back against all things that were meant for good and human flourishing… When I am in need of encouragement, I pull these cards from the drawer and read them while counting my blessings! In them I realize sacred treasures – God’s providential care and sweet relationships based on Jesus Christ. And I am thankful.

I saw the movie “Jesus Revolution” on opening night with my friend Sharon. We have vague recollections of the “true story” when we were young (1971-72 ish). But, one truth stands out after all these years. God’s delays are for our extended opportunities for His forgiveness of our sin and for our eternal salvation. A revival back then! A revival now! These pourings out of God’s Spirit at special times in history remind us that God is still at work. In His unfailing love, He gives us hope and gladness and revival!

How encouraging to see how God put His hand on Greg Laurie’s heart as a very young man, called him out of the darkness of his beginning circumstances, revealed Himself as the God of Hope, and then raised him up to be an author, pastor, evangelist, leader, and church planter. His story is depicted in the movie “Jesus Revolution,” but more than that, the story is a larger story of how God does take pity on people, replaces misery with gladness, replaces evil years with good, and replaces lack of hope with His wisdom and unfailing love.

Birthdays remind us of the brevity of life. But, also the great gift of life. And, by God’s grace, the possibility of singing for joy all the way to the end of our lives!

Baby Stages

With the recent birth of my 7th grandbaby (6th granddaughter), I cannot begin to explain the hope and wonder wrapped up in that little bundle, only 7 lbs. and 4 oz., in those first few days – swaddled and resting securely in the various arms of her parents and grandparents. Nothing on earth compares to that joy.

I am reminded that Jesus chose the route of human birth in order to meet the greatest need of the world – the need for redemption. He didn’t start out the journey as an adult, He chose to complete the whole human experience in its entirety. He started out as a baby. Zechariah 4:10 (NIV) says, “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” Zerubbabel was a descendant of David who was born in Babylon during the exile, and as an adult, returned to his homeland (Judah) to rebuild the temple during the time of Nehemiah. Small beginnings led to a great project for God’s glory.

Maturity doesn’t happen over night. All of life begins in the hidden places, beyond our ability to physically see. Psalm 139:15 says, “My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” Hidden from us – yes, but not hidden from all-knowing and all-powerful Creator God. The One Who directs our growth and development. The One Who sees us. The One we can know.

All people, enterprises, businesses, ministries start with small beginnings – fragile, tenuous, and in need of great care to survive and thrive. There are baby stages that are as important as, if not more important than, the more mature stages. With a New Year (2023) and the expected conversations about resolutions, wouldn’t it be very promising to apply ourselves to the tender care of all those things that are in their infancy? Things that hold promise for the future and human flourishing in general? Things that build up rather than tear down? Things that are in their baby stages?

I can think of countless things that need gentle nurture so that they can reach healthy adulthood. However, most urgent is the nurture of our fledgling faith in the God Who created the universe and reached down to us through His Son Jesus to redeem us. All other nurture flows from growing faith. Faith has an infancy, yet God is faithful to place opportunity after opportunity in front of us to develop in us stronger faith in Him. Faith has baby stages, but let us not let another year go by when we let apostasy stunt any chance we have for spiritual maturity and growth.

My resolution is to make sure I don’t let baby stages become permanent and stunt my growth. John MacArthur has said, “An Apostate is someone who has received the Light but not the Life, the seed but not the fruit, the written Word but not the Living Word, the truth but not a love for the truth.” I am grateful for the baby stages when I first received the Light, the seed, the written Word and the truth. But, by God’s grace, I don’t want to remain in infancy. I want to live out the Life, produce the fruit, reflect the Living Word, and have a love for the truth.

New Mercies

Mercy is there. New every morning. Just look.

Sometimes I prefer the King James Version, especially for these verses. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

Thanksgiving will be different this year. A January 2022 idea to expand our sunporch and to add a screened porch materialized, but not until October (it is now November)! Construction is moving forward, albeit very slowly. Although timing has seen delays – there is still mercy. NOTHING will be finished by Thanksgiving Day, but my family will gather together nevertheless (with not completely ideal accommodations). Yet we remember the “not so ideal” also happening during the height of Covid-19 when we served soup and ham biscuits in our garage with the doors open on a cold day. Mercy.

Thanksgiving will be remembered differently this year… By God’s grace, my husband and I were home on September 20th when an upstairs water pipe burst and sent water flowing down through the dining room ceiling. Thankfully, we had the ability to hear the rushing water and to mitigate the flow by turning off the main valve, placing buckets, mopping with towels, etc. What interesting timing! We thought we were prepping for the planned renovations to the house, but now we were prepping for the unplanned restoration and repair of the damage to the interior of the house. By some weird timing, the sunporch/screened porch construction project started on October 10th and has since completely overlapped with the water damage repair. Well, if there has to be a major disruption in our lives, best to do it all at once? And, at Thanksgiving time?

Meanwhile, I took a trip to the Outer Banks with some girlfriends right around the time that Hurricane Ian brought winds and rains and flooding and more leaks to the rental house. Dialoguing with the owner felt a lot like our conversations back home with our restoration contractor. And PTSD. Perhaps our being at the rental was a mercy for the owner. Suppose no one had been there? More buckets and mopping, a familiar scenario, but also less damage. Mercy.

A cascade of health issues put another layer of disruption upon everything. Covid finally caught up to my husband and me. This caused a two-week convalescence. Immediately, friends and family brought us food which was so timely, before we even realized how much we were going to need it. Mercy. I also wrestled with a kidney stone issue during this time. But, a last minute cancelation allowed me to get in to see a urologist very quickly. Mercy.

I am grateful for God’s mercies, great and small. On the first “good day” post-Covid, I went on a short road trip with my husband to get the traditional country ham. We figured we had enough energy to accomplish this task and we did. It actually felt good to be in a car and out in the world! Mercy! Our expanding family is fast becoming more focused on the country ham than the traditional turkey, and by God’s grace, we will be together this Thanksgiving to enjoy it. Counting down to ham!

But, the whole point is gathering, not really the ham. Thanksgiving will really be a time of thanksgiving for us. What didn’t kill us made us stronger (you’ve heard that before). We have experienced many mercies and have not had to look too hard to find them. The demolition of the water soaked walls actually gave us a better look at other items that needed fixing. Outdoors we discovered a gas leak that needed to be repaired. A few crawl space issues were discovered as well. Sure I’d like a completed living space, a lot less upheaval in my life, a pain free existence. But, we are not consumed. Mercy!

The biggest of God’s compassions is my husband! He is an exacting site supervisor with a keen knowledge of building and landscaping. He has been actively involved in all the house projects on an hourly basis – overseeing every single contractor and orchestrating every logistic. He himself has even taken up the hammer, the shovel, and other tools as part of the construction crew. Not sure he is totally accepted as a peer contractor, but he is definitely a master of quality control. Yes, he is tied to the site, sometimes likened to a prison, while I have been free to continue my activities without much limitation. This is mercy on steroids. And, I am grateful.

What we’ll remember about this Thanksgiving is the endurance, the perseverance, the love of family, the determination to gather and eat a great meal no matter what, and to watch a project unfold from its center rather than its end. We are not consumed. God’s mercies are clearly seen. I am thankful that God pulled back the veil for me particularly, so I could see this merciful flow.

Psalm 13:5 (KJV) says, “But I have trusted in Thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.” I am not consumed. God’s compassions do not fail. Great is His faithfulness.

Ultimate Chivalry

I was a new bride 42 years ago. I continue to be blessed by a husband that has many great qualities, but one of the best things is his strength in a crisis. This is ultimate. This is when he is an extreme protector and a fearless solution-finder. When we face crises together, this is when I feel the most safe. Because this is when his safeguarding and sheltering reaches its height.

We live in a lovely area. But, it is truly a swamp-like environment posing many hazards due to large trees, vulnerable power lines nearby, and 6-8 months of pesky humidity. I won’t mention the critters. At least we don’t have alligators. Then there are also garden variety hazards like a recent second floor hot water heater pipe bursting into flooding waters in our house, ensuing mopping and bucketing of water, emergency calls to plumbers and restoration companies, and then life with dust-storming “air movers” to dry out the water-soiled places. In this crisis, my husband’s heroism was and is notable. The picture of heroism that my husband gave me reminded me that chivalry is definitely not dead…

There is a picture of of chivalry in God’s Word (Revelation) in the picture of the Church being the Bride of Christ (the Bridegroom). The chivalry of Christ cannot die, because He cannot die. His kind of chivalry is eternal and definitely not passe, definitely not a flawed human tradition. Christ will present His Bride spotless one day to God the Father, with honor, courtesy, and courage surrounding her. Like a knight in shining armor, Christ is the gallant and compassionate husband of His Bride the Church.

Ephesians 5:28-33 says, “In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the Church – for we are members of His body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the Church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” The feeding and caring and love of Christ is the ultimate chivalry.

Christ bestows honor to believers (His Bride) based upon His Name. He bestows protection to her because of His victory over sin and death. He bestows sensitivity to her because of His great love and compassion. Her holiness is not intrinsic, but derived from Him. Although battered and soiled and fragile and disappointing, the Church-Bride is declared holy because of dependence upon the One Who sanctifies her. This is the One Who covers her with the cloak of righteousness. Prepares her, rescues her, intercedes for her, shelters her in a chivalrous manner, defends her, cares for her.

Long ago when I became a Martin, I knew that I would take on a covering of more than a name. But, I didn’t know how blessed I would be to enjoy a lifetime of knight-in-shining armor moments and seasons. All this to say, my earthly picture at home of the bridegroom-bride relationship has reminded me of the more powerful reality of the chivalrous Christ-Church relationship whereby Christ is the ultimate hero. The chivalrous Rock and Redeemer Who is valiant, benevolent, brave, protective, rescuing. Jesus Christ – the ultimate Shelter in the storms.

Psalm 34:22 says, “The Lord will rescue His servants, no one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned.” The safeguarding and sheltering of Christ is the ultimate chivalry and makes me very grateful for an earthly husband who regularly hints at eternal realities through his protectiveness.

Abundance of Your Steadfast Love

Photo credit: Kim Clayton Lance

Psalm 69:13-15 (ESV) “But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of Your steadfast love answer me in Your saving faithfulness. Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me.”

My personalized prayer as I meditate on these words from Psalm 69:13-15:

But as for me, I am an image-bearer in need of an image restoration. I need a new vision of You Lord God, I need a new life song. My prayer is to You, O Lord. Who else?

At an acceptable time, O God, cement my ability to wait on Your perfect timing and choice for all things. In the abundance of Your steadfast love answer me, make me sure that You hear and that You act according to Your loyal, compassionate, covenant love (Hesed).

Again, show me Your saving faithfulness, Your flawless character, Your unchanging care, Your righteous rule, Your amazing grace. Deliver me from sinking in the mire of fearing failure, being troubled by circumstances, being swamped by anxiety, being consumed by control-freakishness, being pulled under by disappointments and sadnesses, being arrested by joy-stealers.

Let me be delivered from my enemies – the Father of Lies, the spiritual forces of evil, the accusations and expectations of others, my own pride and self-focus. Let me be delivered from the deep waters of aging, illness, heartache, phobias, addictions. Let not the flood sweep over me, the tyranny of the urgent, performance anxiety, the lack of knowledge of Your Truth, apathy, numbness. Let not the deep swallow me up in hopelessness, let not the pit of self pity close its mouth over me, let not my faith be weakened by the challenges of life.

Because of Your steadfast love, I will not be shaken today or any day. Your saving faithfulness is all I need. Remind me of it. Imprint it on my heart. Confirm it in my spirit. Thank you Lord God!


In life’s crises, AKA “life-and-death issues,” the truth of God’s Word most plainly stands out. How? Both saints (believers in Jesus Christ, Son of God) and non-saints seem to call out, “God!” Even if people profess not to believe, the event of being most backed into a corner by life’s circumstances, either in the unmistakable bad choices we make or being sinned against by others, the first thing we tend to do is to cry out to a higher power, either reverently or irreverently.

We find many call-outs to God in the Psalms. Psalm 16:1 (ESV) says, “…Preserve me, O God, for in You I take refuge.” Psalm 43:1 says, “Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!” Psalm 63:1 says, “A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 64:1 says, “…Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from dread of the enemy.” It is not coincidental that many of these Psalms start with verse #1 call-outs and end with exclamation points.

The Psalms also well describe the troubles of the world. Psalm 69:1 says, “…Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.” Psalm 69:5 says, “O God, You know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from You.” Psalm 70:5 says, “But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay!”

It is saints who know they belong to God, whom God’s Name is written upon. The sufferings of saints are not omens of the end of their world, but rather are a context to nudge true hope to life and bring it to fulfillment. Saints are refugees fleeing from a fallen world who find refuge in the Lord. Saints are those displaced, vulnerable, degraded, yet affirmed in God’s glory, strength and hope. Dependent on the Savior for the warmth and comfort of eternal life in Him, saints are freed from the slavery of self-sufficiency and right of ownership.

We see in Scripture that being “poor in spirit” is a means to blessedness. Matthew 5:3 gives us this beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Understand, this doesn’t mean poor as in destitute, impoverished, or empty, but rather “poor in spirit” means perpetually conscious of the urgent need for assistance that only God generously and freely promises when we call on Him.

Isaiah 28:16 says, Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the One Who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ ” How firm a foundation we have in Christ our Refuge.

The Hymn “How Firm a Foundation” includes this verse: “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in God’s excellent Word! What more can be said than to you God hath said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?” The hymn teaches us to need God’s help and to see suffering as a route He uses to get us there. As refugees, we have fled to the Source of Mercy and have found Mercy. We have fled to the Source of Grace and have found Grace. We have fled to the Source of Truth and have found Truth.

At last, refuge.

Summer Musings

There is a little girl who is several months past 2 years old. She is enchanting – not just her sweet little voice, not just her excitement over calling the birds, not just her ginger hair, not just her light-hearted laughter, but her miraculous entry into the world, a world that feels so “heavy and rude.” Our little granddaughter overshadows this “heavy and rude.”

She is a miracle of life, the embodiment of a dream of fatherhood and motherhood, a blessing dropped from heaven, and a great reminder that God is the God of Miracles and is the Gracious God of unspeakable joys. Our youngest granddaughter came to visit for 10 days recently and she wowed us while reminding us of the miracle of life.

Job 33:4 says, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Remembering the Creator and His gift of life is easily made mindful when grandparents consider their grandchildren. Proverbs 17:6 says, “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.” I am thankful for my 6, soon to be 7, crowns (grandchildren)!

Another summer 2022 snapshot from this week. I am driving my oldest granddaughter to driver’s education and I am wondering where did the time go? Now she’s tall. Now she’s articulate and unafraid. Now she’s a beautiful young adult who loves the Lord. Now she’s dreaming of a future. Now she’s thinking about changing this “heavy and rude” world.

The story doesn’t end with “heavy and rude” in God’s Kingdom. My grandchildren remind me that hope is a living thing only found in Christ. Psalm 65:5 says, “By awesome deeds You answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.” And Psalm 71:5 says, “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.”

From the youngest to the oldest, my grandchildren remind me of Faithful God. Hope in Him. Hope for the world we live in. Hope for the future. From the littlest bouncing ponytail-bow girl to the young woman tackling a real estate internship, clad in business casual clothing, on top of a full junior year of courses – I see only hope in both the engine and caboose of my array of grandchildren. I am grateful.

“Heavy and rude” might try to intrude into the world of my grandchildren, but they are becoming part of the world of “delicate and gracious” that overflows out of the hope found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Image of the Invisible God

Who is Jesus? Colossians 1:15-20 reveals the grand mystery. Jesus is Supreme in all things. He is the Son of God, a relationship that bears mystery – yes. He is the image of the invisible God. By faith we come to understand Jesus as God incarnate. There is fullness – the expression of God in all fullness. While there is mystery, there is also revelation.

Lots of “alls” can be found in the book of Colossians. Jesus is Supreme over all things – Creation, heaven, earth, visible, invisible, thrones, dominions, rulers, authorities, the Church. As we dig into the mystery, the apostle Paul helps us to clarity various relationships – Jesus to His Father, Jesus to the Church, Jesus to eternal life, Jesus to redemption.

Colossians 1:21-23 (ESV) says, “And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

These verses highlight the great pivot point of the Gospel. This pivot is where we recognize the depth of our alienation and hostility to God, and then respond in faith to our Savior. As a former math teacher, I love the world of opposites, negatives, positives, what’s in a set and what’s not, what’s above and what’s below a graphed function – these are the 180-degree turns that the Gospel reminds me of visually. For believers, there is the constant reminder in scripture of the “before and after” and the “once you were…” And then comes the great pivot in the Gospel – “But…”

But now… But God raised Him from the dead (Acts 2:24)…But God demonstrates His own love (Romans 5:8)…But God has put the body together (I Cor. 12:24)…But God in His grace gave it to Abraham through the promise (Galatians 2:27)…But God had mercy on him (Philippians 2:27)… All these represent a 180-degree, complete turnaround from being alienated, hostile, and evil to being holy, blameless, and above reproach in Jesus Christ. A total status change. A “180.”

The hinge, of course, is faith. Stable, steadfast, firm, not shifting – Faith. Faith in Him Who is Supreme in all things.

As you contemplate the “180,” this might be your prayer (taken from Valley of Vision, “The Spirit of Jesus”):

Because of Who Jesus is, “…May His comforts cheer me in my sorrows, His strength sustain me in my trials, His blessings revive me in my weariness, His presence render me a fruitful tree of holiness, His might establish me in peace and joy, His incitements make me ceaseless in prayer, His animation kindle in me undying devotion.”

By faith, I can understand the mystery of who Jesus is and can trust that His Supremacy covers all the “alls” in my life. After all, He is the image of the invisible God.

Tower of Strength

Proverbs 18:10 (ESV) says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” Psalms 61:3 says, “For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” The photo shows the top of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, NC. To me it is a symbol of security and protection. A symbol that reminds me of my need in troubled waters for genuine defense and guidance…

I compare running away from God’s Truth to opposing the true Tower of Strength, the True Lighthouse. Like many, I default to the “quick fixes” to meet the challenges of life, yet as I’m running away from Jesus the True Tower, I’m really portraying a compulsion to delusion. I spend way too much head space and time relying upon things that cannot possibly promise refuge, safety, defense, or guidance.

One of my favorite reliances is upon my car – a symbol of freedom and mobility… Well, until the car doesn’t work or I am injured and can’t even get in or out of the car. Almost the worst thing is not being able to move or go anywhere (so I think). Although the gift of mobility should never be taken for granted, it is not the worst thing. The very worst thing of all is turning away from Jesus Christ’s Lordship over my life when He is the only Provider of true freedom that can be found anywhere; He is the only Tower of Strength.

Another thought from my box of “tower-of-weakness ideas.” I’d like to think that Vitamin D will protect me from viruses like Covid. The vitamin certainly bolsters the immune system, but it is definitely not the critical Tower of Strength I need for the ultimate defense of my life, both physical and eternal. “Silver bullets” that are able to eradicate what is fallen in Creation simply don’t exist… So, why do I try to think so?

My personal “go-to’s” among my “tower-of-weakness ideas” are my own abilities to get work done and achieve a comfortable life, using my own intellect to keep my environment ordered, or using an array of “mother’s-little-helpers” to cope with the stresses of life. I can be pretty sure that I am fully deluded when I rely upon these so-called resources. Having lost complete sight of the True Tower Jesus Christ, I must learn to recognize the competition for my heart and mind that is really going on. The next coffee fix, the next new fad vitamin, the next sugar fix, the next relationship, the next exercise regimen, the next purchase… These are not saviors.

In the collection of prayers from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, in the chapter on “Reliance,” there’s a quote I love that goes like this, “but teach me that I cannot satisfy thy law, that this effort [my fill-in-the-blank: to fulfill my image of good wife, good mother, good daughter, good friend] is a resting in my righteousness, that only Christ’s righteousness, ready made, already finished, is fit for that purpose…”

I must begin again and ask what I am trusting? Psalm 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” The competition is always present. Yet the truth is also near, that Jesus Christ is the sufficient Tower of Strength. That He is my best thought, never an afterthought. God’s plan to make us fruitful, mature us, and transforms us happens daily in the context of relationship with Him rather than any of the extraneous things we try to rely upon. Our ever deepening relationship with Jesus Christ and increasing knowing of Him as our true Tower – these form the basis of real defense, guidance, safety, security, and freedom. Backburner faith that makes self-reliance a mixture of occasional reliance on Him for forgiveness and intermittent prayers for sick and hurting friends and family, is simply ineffectual faith.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient…” In the constant tug of war in life, the battle for lordship continues on. Whenever I look to the next thing to fulfill some need, I must learn to stop and realize that Jesus is the supreme and sufficient One, and then turn my attention, my devotion, my invitation to Him – my Strong Tower, my defense, my safety, my guide, my security, my protection. The true Savior.