Our Unexpected Journey

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Floyd has not been doing well this past week.  It breaks my heart to see him suffer so.  His condition reminds me of some of the early days on this journey.  He's sleeping a lot, his blood pressure is low, the congestion is there, and he's definitely been miserable.  

Thankfully, the last two days have been a bit better.  I continue to pray for relief - asking God again for healing or heaven.

On my last visit, I played a song - "we are not alone, God is with us" - for Floyd.  I reminded him that he's never, ever alone.  I prayed this for him, and rebuked any lies of the enemy that would make him think differently.  This seemed to be meaningful to him and I’m praying for this truth to be ministered to his heart continually.

The sadness of the week increased for me as Floyd's dog, Sossy, went to doggy heaven.  She's had a long life - over 15 years, but it all happened quite quickly and suddenly.  I'm not the "dog person" in our family, but I'm finding it very emotional that she is gone.  I think because she was Floyd's dog - it's a link that is gone.  For being a smallish dog, she cast a big presence in the house.  I miss her a lot.

I’ve been praying and talking to the Lord about some things that are heavy on my heart.  The Lord's help and grace is there for me each day, but some things weigh on my spirit - like seeing Floyd suffer.  As I was praying, the Lord reminded me of the gift He's given to His children of being able to "cast their burdens" on Him.

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken."  Psalm 55:22

God never intended for us to carry the weight of our burdens around with us all the time.  He provided for us, made a way for us, to be able to give them to Him so that we aren't weighed down with the cares of life.  I am so very grateful for that - I need it.

Many years ago I was walking in relationship with someone.  We were very different from each other.  We had some tensions and misunderstandings.  Occasionally some things were said that were hurtful.  Rather than dealing with them, my response was to put those hurts in an invisible sack that I carried around with me.  I thought I could just deal with it myself.

Well one day the load from that invisible sack just got too heavy, and the bag burst open in a conversation we were having.  Everything came rushing out all at once.  I should have never been carrying all that hurt around.  I should have been dealing with it each time something happened.  We sorted things out, but it wasn't easy.

The Lord doesn't want us to carry our burdens around with us in some invisible sack.  He wants us to "cast" them onto His capable shoulders to carry.  If I had done what I did earlier in my life with the burdens of this journey I'm on - I think I would be destroyed by now.  I'm so thankful that I can give the burdens of this journey to Him.  He is able to deal with them for me.

During another season in my life I was "casting" some burdens on the Lord - but it seemed like during the day I kept taking them back.  One morning during my quiet time I took a throw pillow and threw it across the room.  I said to the Lord "I'm giving you this burden.....I'm throwing it onto your shoulders, and I'm not taking it back."  That physical symbolism of throwing the pillow was a constant reminder to me then, when I was tempted to take the burden back, that I had given it to the Lord.

I'm giving these current burdens to the Lord......and I'm going to try my best to leave them at the foot of the cross where they belong.  I haven't thrown a pillow yet, but I will if I need to. :)

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."  1 Peter 5:7

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6,7

"Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?"  Isaiah 58:6

"I lifted the burden from your shoulder."  Psalm 81:6

"Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"  Matthew 6:27

I thank the Lord for carrying my burdens on this journey.  One by one, each day, I've been able to give the weights and burdens to Him.  I'm doing it again today.  He has been so faithful to me!

I've also been reflecting for a while now on how many of God's promises and prophetic words to us begin with an "if."  There often seems to be a role we have to play in the things we are praying for.  We're waiting on God - but perhaps He is waiting on us.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."  2 Chronicles 7:14  

Peter had to "get out of the boat" before he experienced the miracle of walking on the water with Jesus.

The disciples had to start feeding the multitude with the few loaves and fishes after Jesus blessed them before they saw the multiplication of the food.

The servants had to obey and fill the jars with water before they saw the miracle of Jesus turning the water into wine.

There often seems to be steps we have to take before we see the full provision of God's power and answers to our prayers.  I think I would have been so frightened if I'd been in Peter's shoes!  But he had to get out of that boat.

"If" is a small - but very powerful and big word in the Bible.  It has to do with our response to God.  Jesus used "if" a lot.  It's used 574 times in the New Testament, with over half of those being in the Gospels.  Jesus always spoke of  "if" on man's side and of "never" on God's side.  He understood the roles we had to play - and how God would help us.

The "ifs," our responsibility, can seem daunting until you realize that God also promises that His "grace will be sufficient."  He wants us to obey, to choose, but He undergirds us with His strength to help us.  

In all the prayers I'm lifting to the Lord, I'm asking Him to help me fulfill the "ifs" of my part - with His grace, strength, help, and wisdom.  And I'm trusting Him to do what only HE can do!

"All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God."  Deuteronomy 28:2

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  Galatians 6:9

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."  Romans 10:9

"Now listen to me if you are wise.  Pay attention to what I say."  Job 34:16

"If you have ears, pay attention!"  Mark 4:23  CEV

"If you hear His voice today, don't be stubborn!"  Hebrews 4:7  CEV

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  1 John 1:9

"If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples."  John 8:31

I continually ask God to help me be faithful on this unexpected journey we're on.  I'm so grateful for His daily grace and strength that helps me as I try to fulfill the "ifs."