Yesterday was a wonderful and quiet day. I’m still very congested, so I took the day to spend in bed on cold/flu medicine and spent my day in prayer and Bible study. The first chapter of Into the Word: 52 Life-Changing Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups had me looking at my hindrances and sins that easily entangle me. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-2) Before you can throw them off, we have to be honest with ourselves and the Lord about what they are.
I spent a lot of time going through many verses about sin that needs to be thrown off and prayerfully considering what has been hindering and entangling me from being able to “run with perseverance the race marked out for” me. It’s not work that can be done without humbling yourself before the Lord. Let’s face it, He already knows what our sins and hindrances are. I am so grateful He showed them to me so that I could repent of them — and throw them off. I laid them at the foot of the cross.
Yesterday was a day of cleansing. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:7-10) But it was also a day the Lord lifted me up.
In the middle of my afternoon a dear friend texted me asking how she could pray for me. It gave me pause for a moment, and then I KNEW to ask for a hedge of protection. With the work I am doing, I know the devil will seek to devour. That was such a gift to know that someone who loves me was praying for me right that minute. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” The Lord sent her to lift me up, and it gave me such a peace.
Then yesterday evening, I looked through a couple of posts on Facebook. One was from a life-long friend who posted a picture of some friends at our senior day in high school at the pool. I felt myself cringe just a little–it was an involuntary response. That day I had my fourth grand mal seizure (they began when I was 11) in the pool. Friends got me out of the water. My cringing is the embarrassment that I have felt about that incident the last 39 years. What 18 year-old wants to be different than her friends? So you probably want to know why I am bringing up this painful memory, right? Is it to discuss a humbling? No, it is to discuss being lifted up.
Another friend wrote the following on that same post: “That is the day that God saved Sheri Gretschel from drowning and cured her of epilepsy. It will forever be etched in my memory as a milestone of God’s power and faithfulness!” WOW–it gave me such pause, brought up tears of gratitude and joy. First of all, I’ve never even thought about being saved from drowning that day–from death. And I’ve also never thought about being cured from epilepsy that day. It was the last seizure I ever had. This perspective from an old friend changed my view. I didn’t need to be embarrassed–I need to be grateful! And the Lord used this incident to show His power and faithfulness. I humbled myself before the Lord yesterday, and He used an old wound that has made me cringe to lift me up, and to give me His perspective.
One of the first Scriptures I looked up yesterday was, “Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’” (John 11:40) I was brought back to that verse this morning. In reflecting on how Denise saw the incident in the pool and how I saw it, I am reminded that in that moment she was keeping her eyes on Jesus, while I was wrapped up in myself. It is a sweet reminder to fix “our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” I want to see my life through His eyes, not my own. Blessings!