“It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun…
and to accept their lot in life…To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life –
this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy
enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.”
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 NLT
I read this passage and was inspired to write a story about my own troubled walk with toil that I’d like to share with you. Perhaps you can relate.
I walked along a rugged path, searching for meaning high and low. When I could not find it here, I turned to look for it there. When still meaning evaded me, I flipped over rocks and reached my hand into crannies, yet I could not find it. From one stop to the next, I searched and searched, growing more despaired with each step forward.
“What is my purpose!” I shouted to the sky. “Why is my path so desolate!” Even though I took a left, and then a right, I ended up back on this same, meaningless path. In the distance, I saw a woman walking along her own path. Her path was blooming with flowers and buzzing with bees. The sun shone down on her. I fell to my knees along my own barren path and shook my fist at the sky. “Lord!” I cried out, “why have you abandoned me?”
Immediately dark clouds filled the sky, and a storm began to rage. I shielded my eyes but watched as the torrential rain washed over the path behind me, rolling away stones and filling crevices that marked my troubled toil. As I lay defeated, curled in a ball on the muddied earth beneath me, I felt the rain begin to soften. Soon after, the rain stopped. The clouds parted, and I felt a sliver of sunlight dance down from heaven to warm my cheek.
When I propped myself up and turned to survey the damage, I was surprised to see beauty. Where before all looked grey, I noticed little pops of color, small fruits and flowers glistening in the sun as the rain drops dried. Looking back on my path, on the toils of my life, I saw that it was bursting with meaning. The Lord did not abandon me. His love and care were evident under every heavy stone and within every barren crevice. A light breeze warmed my skin, and I closed my eyes to savor it.
I heard the Lord speak clearly to me, “Your lot is my gift to you. I am your meaning.”
With satisfaction, I turned to face the path ahead of me. I saw fields of flowers sprinkled with more heavy stones and crevices. But I won’t despair what may lie ahead in the distance or what lies behind me.
Instead, I will focus on my next step. It looks exactly like where I stand right now, but I no longer see desolation. I see God and He is with me, holding my hand, giving me meaning. Yesterday’s toils were not wasted, nor are today’s or tomorrow’s. This is my lot, and it is a gift from God. I am satisfied.
Dear friends, I bless you with satisfaction in your lot. I bless you with joy in your toils, whether you’re in a cold crevice or a warm, peaceful meadow. The Lord is with you. You will not fall.
Claire Savageau – September 19, 2023
The eternal God is your refuge,
and his everlasting arms are under you.
He drives out the enemy before you;
he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’
Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT
In our life’s journey with the Lord we may feel our life coming to a sudden halt. We have done our best to listen and discern the next step, but it feels as though the path ends and the Spirit has led us to a high ledge and we cannot see the bottom of the chasm in front of us. But we sense he is asking us to take a risk and step off. “Just trust me,” he seems to whisper.
Our brain is telling us it would be crazy to step off. Our heart ponds. What do we do? You might ask, “Is it an invitation or a command?” We decide it is both. We remember who our God is, as Moses did in this blessing in Deuteronomy 33. He is faithful through the ages, has saved and delivered us from our enemies many times and given us wonderful promises. He has proved his love for us by giving his beautiful Son to die and pay our debt of sin so we may live eternally in his awesome presence. He has given us his Spirit to strengthen and guide us. He has never failed us yet. Though we didn’t always understand what or why he did what he did, we knew he was with us.
So, we remind ourselves, he is with us today, in whatever situation we find ourselves in. We may face real danger, or our children are making bad decisions, or, perhaps, our spiritual lives have gone dry and feel barren. We may feel defeated or feel things have been going relatively well, so why take a risk now? We all have come to a moment of decision. Do we trust God and surrender to him the area he has led us to? What is he asking you to surrender to him?
When we step out in faith alone, secure in our obedience, what will be below waiting for us as we fall? God’s Word promises that it will be better than when a little child jumps in the swimming pool into the arms of her loving father. Our glorious, all-powerful, compassionate God will catch us. If our spiritual eyes are open, we will discover more of his infinite, deep peace and love as he wraps his arms around us. Our enemy will be defeated in that moment. We are reminded that we are safe. He is always with us. Our faith will explode. We find that God’s love and peace are powerful weapons against the devil who was feeding our fear and doubt. We ask, “Why did I wait?!”
Dear friends, be blessed and filled with joy as you discover that our magnificent, worthy God is always present to catch us when, in faith, we fall into his arms. Rejoice today in your new testimony to his glory.
Mary Sumner ~September 5, 2023