By Lisa Huddleston
“So then, my dear friends … work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose” (Phil. 2:12-13).
Not gonna lie. It’s been a rough week. But I have gotten a lot done. Tonight is my last J-term class, all my work is finished, and I can look back with astonishment over how much I managed to do in such a short, intense time. At the beginning of the month, it looked impossible. Now it is finished. Yeah—I feel like celebrating, but there’s no rest for the weary. I have more work waiting on another project and a new class to begin next week. But, doggone it, for these few minutes I want to party.
Remember my thoughts just a few weeks ago? I was making bricks without straw and bitterly complaining about it. But miraculously God saw me through. Straw came to me—I really didn’t have to scrape around too much. If I had known what He could already see, that it was going to go well and that I really would make it through (and learn good things in the process) then maybe I wouldn’t have wasted so much of the precious time I had whining and grumbling. Then again, maybe I would have.
But, really, what good is whining? It feels great for a second or two—like the whistle on my teapot, a high pitched vent to let the steam out. But then what? Then I feel ashamed of my hissy fit. Why didn’t I trust Him more? Hasn’t He gotten me through every single one of the challenges I’ve had to face in the past? Has He ever just thrown up His hands and cried along with me, “Wow! This really is too hard!”? Nope. Not yet. Not ever. With Him, there is always a will and a way.
But fear and trembling. I am full of both. Fear that what I face is impossible. That this time I really will fall flat on my face. Trembling with doubt that He won’t be there to catch me. This time could be different. This time might be IT. But, no! God is working in me—giving me the will to keep going, giving me the strength to do whatever is needed. All for His good purpose. All the time. And that purpose is for me and for others. And most of all it is for Him.
Next Tuesday, my new class begins. There will be a new professor to meet, a new syllabus to discuss, new assignments to begin, and new doubts about my ability to do what is required—I’m certain there will be fear and trembling as usual. But I don’t want it to be business as usual. This time, please, may I do everything without grumbling and arguing, may I be blameless and pure, trusting Him to work in me and to guide me and even to enable me with a new will and better actions? May I be more about His good purpose than my own? I may—as I work and God works in me, both striving together for the same good thing.
This party’s almost over. I have to get back to work, but I’m thankful for a moment of reflection and quiet celebration. (Insert a whispered “Woo Hoo!”) It is good to see what the Lord has done. Now may my foresight be as clear as my hindsight!
“… I am glad and rejoice with all of you. In the same way you should also be glad and rejoice with me” (Phil. 2:17-18). Until then.