Racing and Refining

This week was a little bit harder than I was anticipating. I started a new job, and with all of the new jargon flying around, computer screen staring, and endless smiling and introductions to be had, I also had one of the worst headaches I have had in a very long time. My head was throbbing, I was nauseous, pale and shaking, and could not find relief anywhere — I can only guess that I made quite the impression on my first week! The headache started on Sunday last week, and right now, on the Saturday following, I am finally able to eat and feel a little more human, hallelujah! My theory is that the cyst (which I have christened “little cysty”…you have to be able to yell at it by name, right?) knows that I am going to see the doctor on Monday, and so it has decided to just pitch a temper tantrum until then. Your days are numbered little cysty.

While I was being cranky this week, I had two thoughts that have helped me get through. As I was having my Jesus time one morning, I was reminded of the verse In 2 Timothy 4:7 where Paul says “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Now, I know that Paul was strictly speaking about his ministry, but it occurred to me suddenly that, no matter the race that each one of us is running, we are not alone. How many races have you seen where there is only one person running? I haven’t seen very many of those in my day. Now true, if there are multiple people running, they are most often competing against one another, but it encouraged me to remember that there are always others around you who are running their own type of race — if they should happen to stumble or fall, you can be there beside them to help them up and across the finish line, and vice versa. If we allow ourselves to help others, and to be helped, across the finish line, the “victory” becomes much sweeter when we are able to share it.

Our pastor last Sunday made a reference to “refining” and how the Lord uses the image of that process in His word. As the pastor was speaking, I was thinking of how powerful of an image that is and how truly it relates to the Christian walk. For example, if you take any chemical process of removing impurities, like refining or distillation, it is a time consuming affair, involving lots of heat, physical changes, and sometimes even chemical changes. Its not an easy or quick process! But at the end, you have a pure product, free from any contamination, and stronger in its purity than the compound that it was. Are not we also daily being refined and distilled as followers of Christ? Through our faithful response to the Lord during the struggles of our daily life, we are being changed, and all sins and impurities are being removed from our lives. Sometimes it is a struggle, and may be a difficult process, but in time we are becoming stronger and more pure for the glory of God our Father.

So these ramblings of mine are just to say that it was encouraging to me this week to remember that I am not alone in my race (and with God always by my side, I am really never ever alone!), and that this is all a part of the refining process that God has set for me. I pray daily to use this time to truly learn to live on faith alone, in Christ alone. Without that, what do we have left?

I meet with the Doctor on Monday to determine where we go from here. My prayers have been many and fervent, and I have this all resting in the hands of my Father, who knows best.

Keep you posted.

Erika

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