Tag Archives: purpose

Veil of Tears 109: Daunted

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Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Judges 6:15 NIV

 

When God first hints at something he wants us to do, and we hear the command, or the whisper, or the suggestion, however it may come to us, there is first a feeling of exhilaration that the Lord wants us to do something for him, and quick as a flash on the heels of that joy comes the blinking into the bright light daunted-ness of, hang on, you want ME to do WHAT? And then comes the clammy hand of fear on our backs and our feet, light as air a minute ago, now feel like someone poured concrete over them, and we are stuck fast in the mire of doubt.

But God speaks the same words over and over to his people when they feel daunted or uncertain of the way forward. “Take heart,” “Be courageous,” “am I not sending you?” for the cure for feeling daunted is obedience in faith. As long as we understand who is doing the sending, we can go. As long as we know that it is God’s work and he is the doer of it, we can move forward.

Gideon had no hope of victory with his tiny army. And yet when he expressed doubt, God reduced it still further. He sharpened the tools Gideon had, and paid no attention to quantity, only quality. And Gideon had the sense to see that he was being used of God. When that is happening, we can be confident the outcome is entirely in God’s hands. The Living God loves using the poor, the weak, the helpless for his causes. He does it to show us that he is in charge. It doesn’t mean that the work is necessarily easy, or that we won’t falter somewhere along the way, but it does mean that we can be assured that we are weapons being wielded by a higher power, with no need to rely on our own strength.

In the Bible we see this over and over again with Joseph, David, Joshua, Rahab, Elijah and Elisha to name just a few. Like Moses before the burning bush, we may stammer and be full of excuses, but if we are truly called, we will be unstoppable. Not because of our greatness, capabilities or strength, but because, like the five small stones in the pouch of a shepherd boy-king, we are going to be fired by his mighty hand.

 

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

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42: Meaningless

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So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:17 NIV

Dear old cheerful book of Eccles, how I love your honesty! It seems appropriate today, on day 42 of the Veil of Tears, to talk about the meaning of life. However you calculate it, as I sit here playing solitaire on my laptop because my brain is too tired to do much else, life seems pretty meaningless. But these sayings, often attributed to Solomon, are talking mainly about the pointlessness of striving or working for material goods, and the lack of purpose to a life lived solely for earthly rewards.

Indeed, we might say that making riches or fame your goal, since we all die anyway, is pointless. Ecclesiastes goes to great lengths to remind us that we cannot take it with us. In my case, there’s very little to take, and so it is not hard for me to think that meaning must have its seat somewhere else. If our final result is the grave or the ceramic jar, then there really is no point and we may as well live how we like and throw all cares to the wind the writer of the book says we are chasing.

We can all feel from time to time, that our lives are purposeless, pointless, meaningless. Even if we help others, we’re all going to die, so what does it matter? But within an eternal universe, every action and thought matter, however small, because everything is forming us for a different kind of existence. Sometimes the work is onerous and the things we go through seem too hard and of little import. But the Lord sees it all, and even the tiniest effort, made from, through and with love, matters.

But whilst we know this and we can talk forever about the wonders of love and how it makes meaning out of everything in life, the seeming good and bad, there are still those times of feeling utterly bereft and forsaken. When it’s all so tough and we just say within ourselves, what’s the point? I am having one of those moments as I write this. And I have to hold onto my mustard seed of faith and tell myself that this writing does mean something. That my life does matter. That I am making a difference. That my art, however little and unskilled it is, improves the world. Because everything that makes life better, everything that calls out the bright and the beautiful, the true and the good, is meaningful, even as it praises the maker of all things and as it brings more and more of his kingdom into ours, preparing our weary hearts and souls for a new way of being.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

photo from Pixabay