Wednesday Wisdom 🙂
Today I pull from both the Old and the New Testament as I work to internalize the concept of leaning while pressing on.
The Old Testament reading comes from Hosea 6:3
“Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in the early spring.”
The New Testament reading comes from Matthew 7:7
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone that asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
I’ll never forget the “Thanksgiving Blizzard”. It began the Sunday after Thanksgiving when Karyn (my youngest) was just a toddler. The day prior was 60 degrees and sunny, but the weather changed quickly as 70 mile per hour winds beat down on Central Nebraska for 36 hours piling snow into drifts taller than my favorite farmer.
It took us almost 24 hours to be able to get out to the feed yard to check on the cattle. My favorite farmer and my foreman got stuck multiple times trying to make the 3 mile trip west from our house. The cattle huddled together to brave the storm, and then took the liberty of wandering from pen to pen when the snow drifted higher than the fences. We were blessed that none of the animals left the feed yard facility to wander onto the nearby roads.
In addition to having cattle at the feed yard at the time, we also had a group of animals grazing the left over cornstalks just west of my house. We live about a mile north of town, and – at the time – the local community hospital was constructing an assisted living facility on the edge of town closest to my house. The facility had walls and a roof but no windows or doors when the storm came through. The cattle grazing by my house wisely walked over the drifted snow and headed south to the shelter of the building. Fences are not very useful when they become completely covered in packed snow! My favorite farmer serves on the local hospital board and was a bit sheepish when he had to relate to the rest of the members that it was our cattle hanging out in the unfinished assisted living facility as the storm raged through…
This storm served as an epiphany for me.
- I am not naturally a person who leans on others — I pride myself in being strong and independent.
- While I love to work, I shy away from asking for help.
- I like to be in control.
I clearly had no control over the weather, and it took a lot of work by many different people to get our community back to a state of normality after the storm passed.
I’ve spent decades trying to figure out the balance of leaning while pressing on.
- What does it truly mean to “give it to God”?
- What is my role as I look to find strength in Him?
I first started articulating the phrase “give it to God” as I read and talked about faith with my girls when they were young. Over time, it has become a reoccurring theme as well as a personal mantra for me as I try to worry less and do a better job of packing my faith to live with grace.
I think that learning to lean while pressing on occurs in stages:
- Recognizing that strength, joy and hope come from pressing on to develop a meaningful relationship with Jesus.
- Realizing that we are never alone on the journey.
- Internalizing that while God carries us through strength in faith, that we must still do our part — asking, seeking, knocking.
While giving it to God grants us the strength to press on, it does not absolve us from responsibility. We must put in the work in order to find success.
To me, faith is a symbiotic process. God brings dedicated love and support to us, we then must respond to His offer with hearts of gratitude and untiring efforts.