Thursday, February 23, 2012

Remaining Unmoved

The Russell family continues to be buffeted by waves of tribulation of unmeasurable magnitude.  It seems that this last year has been one intense trial upon another without a chance for us to catch our breath.  We do not know what God has in store for us or what He is doing, but we rest assured that God remains in control and that He is working all of these things out for our good and for His glory (Romans 8:28).

We long to serve the Lord in full-time foreign missions, but it is clear that in this moment, that is not what God has for us.  He is simply working in each of our lives molding us to be who He wants us to be preparing us for the work He has called us to while using us for his Kingdom work as we go about our daily lives.  What He wants us to do in the future, He will lead us to do in His perfect timing.  For now, we remain unmoved while the storms rage around us from all sides, for that is all we can do.

"Our soul waits for the LORD;
        he is our help and our shield.
    For our heart is glad in him,
        because we trust in his holy name.
    Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
        even as we hope in you."
(Psalm 33:20-22 ESV)

As this current trial seeks to break down our family, threatens to weaken our physical bodies, shake our emotional states, and waver our trust in God, we have to keep our eyes on Christ the author and finisher of our faith as we continue to run this race of life that God has for us right now.

When it is hard to get up in the morning, I remember:

"But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me."
(Psalm 3:3-5 ESV)

"But this I call to mind,
        and therefore I have hope:
    The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
        his mercies never come to an end;
    they are new every morning;
        great is your faithfulness."
(Lamentations 3:21-23 ESV)

The Lord recently encouraged Tim and me from a great passage in Habbkkuk of all places reminding us that no matter what happens or how desolate we feel, we can still rejoice in God our salvation.

"Though the fig tree should not blossom,
        nor fruit be on the vines,
    the produce of the olive fail
        and the fields yield no food,
    the flock be cut off from the fold
        and there be no herd in the stalls,
    yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
        I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
    GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
        he makes my feet like the deer's;
        he makes me tread on my high places."
(Habakkuk 3:17-19a ESV)

When we start to feel overwhelmed like the storm waters are starting to overflow, we must not fear and we must remember:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
        and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
    when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
        and the flame shall not consume you.
    For I am the LORD your God,
        the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
   (Isaiah 43:2-3a ESV)
 "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."      (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)
Please pray for our family as we face yet another trial that we would keep our eyes on the Lord.  That our faith would remain strong, that God would receive the glory, and that soon we would enjoy the restoring of our souls by the still and quiet waters (Psalm 23).

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