I’ve shared before that it usually takes me only a few minutes—if that—to fall asleep every night. But last night I was so anxious about a situation that sleep did not come right away. After a while, I thought about how all this worrying can’t be good for my health. Then I realized that I was worrying about worrying! What a mess!!
Thank God for an idea better than counting sheep: why not “Bible myself to sleep?” I searched my memory for any long passages of Scripture. My kids memorized a big chunk of Philippians 4 last year, and fortunately I picked up some of it, too. And so I started: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice …”
I don’t know for sure how long I lasted, but I’m pretty sure that I was asleep before verse 19.
Do you find yourself lying awake with worry? Or is bedtime your one-on-One time with the Lord?
I have a wise friend who, when I have shared about amazing things God has done in my marriage, has encouraged me to really savor those moments. To treasure them in my heart as in a treasure chest, that they may be “stones on the other side of the river Jordan, reminding [me] of God’s mighty works on [my] behalf.” Then, I can later pull out those precious gems whenever I need a reminder of God’s faithfulness.
I also love hearing about God’s mighty works on behalf of others. Those stories can encourage my faith as much as the memories of my own blessings. In financial testimonies, there is often an act of generosity that preceded the blessings: a financial act of faith, out of lack, without knowing how or when more provision would come. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of those testimonies, at least not from recent memory. God has always shown up with right-on-time blessings, but often in spite of my lack of generosity. We tithe (when we “think” we can), but we have not always been faithful about giving Him the first fruits.
Lately though, my husband has been consistent about tithing on the weeks that he gets paid. If the pay schedules work out such that we both got paid that week, he will tithe for me, too. And I’m always truly glad when he does it. Last week worked out to be a week that only I got paid. Come Sunday, I wanted to tithe, but my mind got busy. I knew that there was a payment coming out of our account this week; it would make money a little tight for my comfort. We would have enough, but I was still a leeetle nervous. I didn’t want to talk with my husband about it—I knew he would be fine with it (your mileage may vary!)—because I didn’t want to talk myself out of it! Inspired by my husband’s recent faithfulness (and Sunday’s message, which “happened” to be about generosity), I did it!
When I checked my email Tuesday morning, I had to laugh. There was a notification that our state income tax return—about the same amount that I had given—had been deposited in our checking account. I’d known that we were getting a refund, but we just mailed our return last week, so I wasn’t expecting it already! (The return was finished in February, but we weren’t in a rush to mail it because we owe Federal taxes :).) And I certainly wasn’t thinking about that on Sunday! So I was already impressed with God’s Try Me program.
Later that morning, I got online to pay a medical bill that I’ve been grumbling about for months, using money recently added to our health savings account (HSA). The bill was for what I thought was a routine test, so I didn’t understand why the bill was so high. On the lab website, the account balance was $0.00, but I didn’t get too excited because I assumed it was because I had waited too long to pay the bill. So I called, and as the phone rep prepared to take my payment information she asked, “You have Aetna, right?” I responded, “Ri– No, wait! I have Cigna!” As it turns out, the bill was so high because the wrong insurance had been billed (which I suppose I could have investigated instead of grumbling). So the agent told me to “put the bill aside,” (music to my ears!!) while they resubmitted the claim. To top it off, a few weeks ago I was telling my husband how concerned I was about the extra bills we’ve had, especially medical ones. But if we had had the money sooner, I probably just would have paid this bill and been unhappy about it!
I know from God’s Word, and from others’ testimonies, that we can give even when we think we can’t afford to. God was gracious to show me, for me! I didn’t give our last dollar on Sunday, but I gave beyond my comfort. I took a step, and God met me. He gave me yet another jewel to add to my treasure chest, or better said, my storehouse, of His works on my behalf.
Do you have one of those testimonies, of “trying” God? Share it so we can all add it to our treasure chests. 🙂
Earlier today, I was flipping through my copy of “The Jesus I Never Knew.” If I remember correctly, it was my younger brother who gave it to me, years ago during a significant period in my faith journey. At the time, I was pretty well-acquainted with the sacred Jesus, the Jesus of the Crucifix. But prior to reading Yancey’s book, I probably hadn’t thought very often of Jesus as, “a Jew in Galilee with a name and a family, a person who was in a way just like everyone else.” Yet, He hungered, and slept.
Jesus wept, and was tempted.
He experienced rejection and betrayal.
Though divine, He also was and is intimately acquainted with our very human struggles. He is the ultimate Mediator and Reconciler, giving us access to unlimited mercy and grace. What a privilege it is to meet this Jesus.
Is it hard to imagine our Savior tempted as we are? Isn’t it comforting to know that He was?
Have you ever groaned after reading a passage of Scripture? I’m not talking about the Holy Spirit groans that are mentioned in Romans 8. I’m referring to the groans some of us utter when reading about, oh, submission, for example. The first time I remember reading that a “gentle and quiet spirit” is what God considers beautiful, I asked Him, “what do you mean, ‘gentle and quiet’??” (And I am still learning. 🙂 ) I probably groaned the time I realized that the answer to my sinus headaches might not be immediate healing, but trusting in His sufficient grace. (Though I’m very grateful that He did heal me!) But even though God sets high standards for His children, He also lovingly and graciously provides what we need to obey Him. (And, He mercifully forgives and restores us every single time we fall short and repent.)
So maybe I should leave more of the groaning to the Holy Spirit. 🙂