A Piece of the Rock

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 7:24 NLT

When my husband woke up one Sunday morning a few years ago with his left arm numb, our life together suddenly took a different perspective. Especially when the numbness settled in his fingers on both hands and in his right foot. Uncertainty crept into our schedules just as sure as the doctors’ appointments and a plethora of medical tests.

Possible causes swirled through my mind. I spent hours online, searching WebMD and other sites, seeking understanding, trying to prepare myself for the worst.

Would he be able to continue to drive truck? Should we start thinking about another line of work? But then, what can you do when you lose the use of your fingers?

Just three months earlier I’d quit my full-time job, with its regular, although meager, paycheck. My freelance work brought in enough to help pay the bills, but that depended on how much work I contracted and when I received payment. So far, we’d been able to pay the bills on time.

I hadn’t been worried about the finances because I believed the One who called me into full-time writing was faithful, and I trusted He’d provide for all our needs (1 Thessalonians 5:24, Philippians 4:19). I also knew if Dean couldn’t work anymore, God would send enough work my way that I’d be able to support us both.

I was more concerned about losing my life’s companion. With the kids grown up and gone, we’d gotten closer. I loved the stage of life we were in. Now the dreams of growing old together were suddenly threatened. But I had no real fear, no doubt, no anxiety. I slept well.

I was feeling pretty proud of my spiritual maturity when God dropped a bombshell: “You thought it was a leap of faith when you quit your job and trusted Me to provide. But would you still trust Me if your husband’s paycheck were gone?”

My faith hadn’t really been put to the test when I quit my job. I still had Dean, he still had his job, and the paychecks were still coming in. As long as I had those, faith talk was easy. Take all that away, and would I be able to walk my talk?

What can we place our security in these days? Certainly not in jobs. In insurance policies? They don’t prevent misfortune; they only promise to provide for our needs in the event something happens. A good credit rating? Identity theft can shoot that overnight. A healthy bank account, investments? A sudden, catastrophic accident or illness, or an extended stay in a skilled care facility can eat those up quickly. Real estate? A house? A fire can destroy in a few minutes what we’ve spent a lifetime building.

Where, then, can we find true, rock-solid security? The Bible tells us, over and over: In God and in God alone. “The LORD is my rock,” (Psalms 18:2, 19:4, 92:15; Isaiah 26:4; Deuteronomy 32:4).

I have a piece of the Rock. Do you?

Thank you, Lord, that You are the Rock upon which I build my life. Thank You that I’m no longer building on sand. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 7:24–27.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Of Kicks and Crowns

The fruit of the Spirit is … faithfulness. – Galatians 5:22 NIV

Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master. – Matthew 25:21 RSV

Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. … the Master you are serving is Christ. –Colossians 3:23, 24 NLT

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV

“I knew I shouldn’t have sent that manuscript evaluation before the guy paid me,” I grumbled to my husband one night at the supper table. “Now I’ll never get paid. What do I get for being nice? A kick in the pants.”

“No,” he said, with a knowing smile. “Another jewel in your crown.”

“And what about that book order I sent on good faith that the lady really did just put the check in the mail, like she claimed?” I continued, ignoring his comment. “Twenty-two bucks may not sound like a lot, but we could really use that money now.”

He grinned. “Another jewel in your crown.”

I wasn’t in the mood to hear about jewels in my someday crown. We needed money in our checking account. My freelance work wasn’t just slow—it had come to a screeching halt.

I thought of all the books and bookmarks I’d given away, the hours I’d spent—way more than I was paid for—painstakingly editing mediocre manuscripts because I felt each author deserved my best work. I thought of all the work I’d done gratis—articles written, workshops taught, manuscripts edited. I thought of all the recent opportunities for writing, speaking, and editing that had fallen through. I thought of the paying job doing something I loved that I gave up because I believed God called me to write full time. And now doors were slamming shut in my face.

Weren’t you supposed to be rewarded for doing the right thing and being faithful?

“You know the verse about ‘casting your bread on the waters and after many days, you’ll find it again’?” I said.

Sensing I was on a roll and nothing he could say would derail me, Dean didn’t even nod.

“Well,” I continued, “my bread must have gotten water-logged and sunk, or gobbled up by fish and fowl.”

Faithfulness isn’t easy. Especially when you’ve done all the Good Book says to do, and you don’t see the fruit of your labors.

When you’ve trained up your children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), and they choose not to follow it. When you’ve faithfully brought your tithe into the storehouse (Malachi 3:10), but the windows of heaven remain shut tight. When you’re kind, thoughtful, and pleasant to people, treating them the way you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12), and they’re snippy, rude, and thoughtless in return.

Sometimes I get tired of doing the right thing. Of being the nice guy. Nice guys get taken advantage of. They get ignored, overlooked. They’re overworked and underpaid. And, like me, they sometimes become battle-weary and weak, vulnerable to doubt and despair.

We can give in or choose to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), remembering that “He who called us is faithful” (1 Thessalonians 5:24) and will keep His Word (Isaiah 55:11). Even when we’re faithless, God remains faithful because He cannot be false to Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

These days I find myself repeating the words of Jim Cymbala: “Though in my heart I’ve questioned, even failed to believe, He’s been faithful, faithful to me.”

How can I be any less?

Dear God, I’ve poured my heart and soul into what You’ve called me to do, but, for all my labor, I see little, if any, fruit. I feel like such a failure. Help me to persist and persevere in the face of disappointment and discouragement and to leave the fruit up to You. Remind me that You have not called me to be successful, but to be faithful. Amen.

 Read and reflect on Matthew 25:14–46.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.