“No Mike.” I smiled at my older brother. “You don’t toss away your daily devotionals at the end of the year. You merely turn back to the first page again.”
Mike has had about 35 years of debilitating health issues, including deteriorating liver, liver transplant, stroke and more recently, constant seizures. Even though his faith has remained strong, Mike has become like a confused child again. But nonetheless, he is my spiritual inspiration and the reason I kick my own butt when I feel life gets tough.
I showed him my devotionals that had a few pencilled stars beside the text where I’d found some particularly appropriate points or scriptures. I explained that each year different things popped out at me depending on what I was going through.
“Oh… whoops!” He grinned at his own dog-eared leather-bound books that had parts completely highlighted and underlined, with notes written in pen in the margins.
“No worries, Mike. You can still use them. And here’s another I think you’ll enjoy! Merry Christmas!”
His devotion to his devotionals was inspiring. Every day he started out communing with God. No matter what he was doing or what day it was, he still made the time.
My devotionals had a conspicuously reduced number of pencilled stars from about November on to the beginning of January. Even though Christmas was the time I should be drawing closer to Jesus, I seemed to drift from my routine of pulling Him into my day.
But here I am once again, humbled, and seeking strength and guidance for upcoming projects and family issues for 2016. As much as I hate to admit, most of my growth doesn’t come from when I’m on the mountain tops where everything is going well, it’s in the valleys where I’m struggling.
My brother’s constant health issues have been the reason for his spiritual walk. He knows he can’t do it alone, and he knows God is between him and his problems.
Of course, this morning I put a star on my devotional that reminded me that my path will be of multiple failures and stresses along with some hopeful successes. But each failure is followed by a spiritual growth spurt and my increased reliance on Him.
So, the best pain? That’s easy, it’s when I am overwhelmed and at a loss of where to turn next. And I find Him there waiting for me as always. In addition, I seek out quiet places, turn on music, jump in my hot tub, go for a walk, and just rest in His grace.
Can you tell me what you do when life dumps on you?