"If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the flood plain of the Jordan." Jeremiah 12:5-6
It is quite easy to begin a work or a race strong and/or well, especially if we have trained prior; however, the challenge comes towards the end when we have exerted all of our own energy and are barely hanging on. In a race or marathon it doesn't matter who has the best start, what matters most is who finishes it, and how strong they do so. If I were to try and give one word to sum up thus far what I have learned this semester it would be endurance.
This semester has been a true test of my endurance (spiritually and physically). I came back to New Zealand at the end of January excited and eager to jump back into the ministry here. I started out well and strong yet somewhere along the course I got a little sidetracked, a little self-dependent as well. The ministry that was once so easy to take part in became burdensome, I felt burnt out and lacking joy. It was a time of breaking down and chastening by the Lord, but I drew comfort from the passage in Hebrews 12,
"For whom the LORD loves He chastens...Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." -Hebrews 12:6, 11
I knew that I was to be dependent on the Lord and that He was to be my source of strength, love, and joy but I came to the realization that there is a vast difference between knowing and acknowledging something and actually doing something about it afterward. The Lord was trying to reveal this to me and was drawing me to Himself but for some reason I resisted thinking I could sort things myself. When finally I came to the breaking point during a Friday morning class where we had an extended time of prayer and worship afterward the Lord gave me a vision to help me see more clearly.
In my vision there was a line of people all kneeling and they had their hands held out making a cup. Everyone looked weak and beaten and as they held out their hands a man came up to them with a bucket of water which He desired to pour into their hands for them to drink, but only the people who asked Him received and drank off the water. As the people who asked for it drank of the water they immediately transformed and looked stronger and were becoming beautiful.
The Lord used this visual aid for me to communicate that just knowing my need won't get me anywhere, I need to acknowledge my need and then ask for the Lord to come and fulfill that need.
All ye heavy laden go to the source and let Him be your portion, your all in all. Jesus never asked us to carry a burden on our own, too oft we carry burdens that He never asked or intended us to. Jesus says,
"Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
He only asks that we come to Him with those burdens, not to lift and carry them on our own.
Brothers and sisters continue strong on your course that the Lord has placed before you! When you are weak, burnt out or simply confused as to the direction He has for you go to the source, go to Him and ask and He will gladly give you what you need!
Grace and peace.