It was our first day back at church after being away for a month. I got up early, spent time in prayer for the services and for my own heart's cleansing, praying that nothing in my heart would hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in my life or the lives of my family – personal and church.
During the morning service, I was just overwhelmed while we were singing of the love of Jesus and I was reminded of the story of Calvary. It was a great morning of worship.
However, the service was barely over when things went downhill. Hurtful, critical words said thoughtlessly by a fellow Christian brought me close to tears and really hurt my heart. Those insensitive, unkind remarks quickly overshadowed the joy of worship that I had just experienced.
So, how to respond? I dwelt on this, wanting to feel right and act right and be right. It wasn't easy. Sometimes, I would just like to "smack" people, but maybe that's just me! I did refrain from smacking that particular person. Aren't we glad? More importantly, God did clearly speak to me through His Word and reminded me of Oswald Chambers' wise words that I had read earlier that morning.
James 1: 2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
From Oswald Chambers: "… we get so burdened with persons and with difficulties that we do not worship God, we do not intercede. If once the burden and the pressure come upon us and we are not in the worshipping attitude, it will produce not only hardness toward God but despair in our own souls …A heartless Christian must be a terrible grief to Our Lord."
God's Word is true. We are going to face "little trials" like hurt feelings and we are going to face much bigger trials. Is the testing going to produce perseverance? My prayer is that my life will be a witness of the truth of this verse. I'm not there yet. Sometimes, I still dwell more on injured feelings and feelings of despair instead of releasing those to God's care. If I'm completely truthful, I have to admit that it is very easy to plunge into the mud of emotional misery and wallow around in the mire. What a testimony to the love of God that He doesn't allow me to settle down and get comfortable there!
This experience also reminded me to pay attention to the teaching of Proverbs 21:23, "those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity" and the prayer of Psalm 141:3,"set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips." Another prayer that I learned at an early age and one that I often repeat is Psalm 19:4,"let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."
How often have I carelessly spoken and hurt someone's heart? How often have thoughtless words ruined my witness? How often have my words failed to reflect the love of Christ? How many times have my words and the condition of my heart been completely unacceptable to God, perhaps distracting another believer's worship and certainly hindering my own. Oh, how many times I have grieved my Lord!
My prayer: God, let my life please You. I do not want to go through life, even for a moment, as a "heartless" Christian. Help me to battle through self and distractions and despair, and let my words and my life be a reflection of You. Amen.
|Wanda Hall was married to David for 47 years until his death this past summer after a year's struggle with cancer. David was the beloved pastor of Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Garland for 28 years. Wanda has one daughter Lindsey, married to Joshua, and they are the sweet parents of the world's most loved grandchildren - Eleina (6) and David (15 months). Wanda retired in 2014 from Dallas Baptist Association where she served as the executive assistant. These days she is slowly adjusting to a different way of life and finds joy in spending more time with her family and friends. One of Wanda's greatest pleasures is teaching and building relationships with ladies at one of the Dallas Christian Women's Job Corps sites.|