"...But God" by Rebecca Gerondale - Retreat 2012
“But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
“Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me…” These song lyrics echo through my soul as I wait on the Lord for what will become this devotion. I am quiet. I am waiting. Come Holy Spirit with your words of beauty and wisdom. I am yours…
There is power in the first two words of this verse from the Psalms, “But God”. No matter what you face in your life and we are ALL facing something, multiple things, it is GOD who is the constant. It is GOD who is our still point. It is GOD who changes water into wine. Insert whatever it is that your soul is aching over, bleeding for, anguishing on, in the long hours of the night and then add the words “But God”. I have struggled with chronic illness for the past 13 years. Everything I thought I would be and do, the use of 6 years of college education, my brand new marriage, my creativity, my bubbly personality, all of it halted. It has felt as though the plug was pulled from the wall of my life. Black out. Zero energy. That sounds pretty bleak and depressing and a waste, right?
Here’s where the twist is, “But God” has done remarkable things through me that never could have happened if I was running around with a career and/or children. “But God” is working in ways that leave me awash in gratitude and amazement. “But God” is doing HIS work in and through me. It is His work and not mine. My life is His and not mine. In my constant struggle to accept this life that seems to run in slow motion and is filled with so much I cannot do or participate in, God is forever reminding me that I chose to have Him be the center of my life and that means I am His. I am not my own. This life is not about fulfilling my desires but His. When I come back to this fact, and believe me when I say I do it daily, I am silenced as Job was and in awe of the God who wastes nothing and is forever looking for open, willing hearts to pour His Spirit into and use in whatever way He needs, in whatever corner of the world He has put us in, for however long we are there.
I guarantee you friends that when you look to your left and your right at the people you will be sitting with this weekend each of you is hurting. Our society screams at us to “look normal” to “fit in” so we scramble to hide and protect those hurts “But God” wants to break those places open and use what you think is hideous and unforgivable or weak and pathetic to show you how much you need Him and how beautifully and specifically He can use you exactly as you are.
I typically do not have a lot of physical strength or stamina. Some days the simple thought of taking a shower makes me cry because it is more than I can fathom. The laundry? Dinner? These seemingly simple and mundane tasks often overwhelm me. I have gone through years of time when finishing a small chore was a triumph. After a particularly difficult 9 months early on when our dear church was doing all of our laundry and ironing all of my husband’s work shirts, I stood in the Laundromat with tears of gratitude pouring down my cheeks when I was finally able to wash our clothes again. In the midst of all this seeming weakness it is God who is “the strength of my heart and my portion forever” as the Psalm finishes. It has been a gift to be so broken down physically that all the doing I did so well was taken away and I had nothing left to do but to see what God had in mind for me. He has filled my life year after year with adults and children who needed someone to care, someone with the gift of time and compassion. It is this stream of people, some arriving in ways only God could orchestrate that give my life meaning as I pass on to them these gifts God has given me.
I honestly feel blessed that I had two choices, to either stay miserable or stay open. I gladly allow God to be the strength of my heart and my portion, my “enough”. He fills me. He leads me. He loves me. He uses me. I am victorious because my heart is open and willing to receive whatever the Lord chooses to give me. This is not easy because I am like anyone else, I hurt, I cry, I have my times of defeat and that’s real. God sees me and knows my whole story. Living victoriously in Him is a daily decision I make, sometimes hourly, and on the toughest days moment to moment. Here’s what I know; I will never stop making this decision to stay open to Him because He is indeed the true strength of my heart and my portion forever. I see that and it makes my life beautiful.