Last week Ian gave us a pretty stark illustration from Proverbs 6:9 – “How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?” I once had a season where my work was stressful but uninteresting and unrewarding.  I didn’t want to get out of bed.   With the encouragement of my wife, the prayers of friends, and only by the grace of God, I found wisdom in his word.  My conversations with God went something like this:

I don’t like my job. Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

But it makes me feel sick and anxious. Philippians 4:6,7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I’m just not cut out for this sort of pressure. Jeremiah 17:7,8 – “‘But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’”

I’d rather just quit. Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Fine, but even if I acknowledge that I should persevere…

….I just don’t want to. Luke 22:42b – “…yet not my will but yours be done.”

….I can’t do it. Psalm 73: 26 – “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

….it’s really hard and unpleasant. Hebrews 12:11,12 – “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.”

Ok, fine, but I’ll just do the bare minimum. Ephesians 6:7 – “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord…”

But if I fail at this, I’ll forever feel like a failure. Psalm 37:23,24 – “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fail, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

That season certainly wasn’t pleasant, but my experience was that the combination of circumstances, God’s wisdom and perseverance can help one grow in character substantially.


David Keers