Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thorns and Roses

Scripture: "As for God...He is a shield...He arms me with strength...He makes my feet like the feet of a deer...He trains my hands for battle...He gives me strength for victory. The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock. Exalted be God my Savior."

I am certainly dating myself by referencing the song, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, by Lynn Anderson, but then, there again, I am referencing things that have helped to build me up. Martina McBride is a contemporary artist, that brought this song back to the charts.



"I beg your pardon,I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine, There's gotta be a little rain sometimes. When you take, you gotta give, so live and let live...
but there's one thing I want you to know.You better look before you leap, still waters run deep, And there won't always be someone there to pull you out, And you know what I'm talkin' about."

Is love without pain? Someone said, It is better to have experienced love and lost, than to have never loved at all. Love is a wonderful thing,but there is some cost. I have come to realize that anything that strengthens us, cost us something.

For example, My son, Matthew has spent his life focusing on good health. For a long time he encouraged Joey and me to get fit not only for our physical appearance, but for our health sake. Then Joey, my husband, had to have triple bypass surgery, and all of a sudden all his pleading became real and we became serious about our health.

On with the story. When I was visiting Matthew in Nashville he asked me if I would go to spin class with him. "SURE," I said, thinking I was in pretty good physical health. Little did I know about "SPINNING." I stayed in for the whole spin class, but that was about all. At one time when the participants were in the standing position and giving it all they had, Matthew looked back to see how I was doing. I could tell by the look on his face I was not doing to well. Reading his lips, he said, "Mother, Get up!" Are you kidding, I couldn't. My legs wouldn't let me. That was it. I came home and joined the local YMCA. I decided the eliptical would be good for strengthening my legs. Surely I could do that. WRONG again. I lasted about 2 minutes, and that was all I could do and my legs were aching. I was determined so I went back, but to gain the strength I needed in my legs was a challenge, (sore muscles, setting priorities, dedication, will power, etc). Now 6 months later the work has paid off. I have gained muscle, lost 10 pounds, and have gotten into a pair of jeans (3 sizes smaller)that I have not been able to squeeze into for 3 years.

Gaining spiritual strength requires the same process as gaining physical strength, (getting rid of those things in our life that cause spiritual decay, setting a time to spend with God, strength to face the challenges, etc.) Psalms 18: 30-36, 46 is Kings David's journal entry of his journey with God. God did not promise Christians a rose garden and King David's life is certainly a testimony to that. Even thought King David was a mighty king and warrior he knew that as the waters of life ran deep it was God, the ultimate one, that protected him and saved him, and picked him up. In his own words, "As for God...He is a shield...He arms me with strength...He makes my feet like the feet of a deer...He trains my hands for battle...He gives me strength for victory. The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock. Exalted be God my Savior."

I have been faced with rough roads to walk (everyday hassels in life), high mountains to climb (walking with my son as he surrendered to God's calling in his life, tumor and heart problems in husband's life), difficult battles to fight (dying to self pride, power, selfishness: learning to discipline myself to do things I should do, and not to do the things I shouldn't) but God promised that he would be there with me, teach me, and to give me strength to meet the challenges I faced, face, and will face. He will do the same for you.

I am thankful that God used Matthew to help Joey and me to take responsibility for our physical health. If God wills we will use use this extra health to serve Him and to encourage others to get fit for God. Exalted be God my Savior as He helps me face the challenges of thorns in the rose garden.

Are there areas in your life you will be bold enough to give him credit for? Exalt God, you have a platform here.