Monday, February 20, 2017

The Best Advice

“Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?” - Job 15:3

Talk, no matter how well intentioned, can reach a stage of uselessness—as far as we are concerned, that is. But most of us, for one reason or another, cannot (or will not) acknowledge this. Because of the real or perceived legitimacy of the argument, and/or because of our own personal attachment, we talk on.

This verse in Job points out what should be obvious to us, were we not so invested in the person to whom we are speaking and the benevolence of our motives: There is only so much to be said to some people; and it is possible to move beyond compassionate love and courage of conviction, to possessiveness and a play for vindication. After awhile, we find ourselves saying the same things, just louder and more caustically. As women, it is easy to fall into this trap with husbands and older children. We may question their judgments or choices, but until they are willing to question themselves, our constant nagging is nothing more than “unprofitable talk” that does neither them nor us any good.

As you get older, you realize you must choose your battles carefully. We only have so much energy and breath to expend, and none of us want to end up in the ignominious position of someone who is just beating the air (1 Cor. 9:26). Worthy battles are always worth fighting, even to the last breath; but sometimes, we need to change the field of battle. There comes a time when we must put on our armor and face the real enemy in the real battle, on the plains of prayer (Eph. 6:11-18).

The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right. ------ Hannah Whitall Smith

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Who Is That Woman In the Mirror?

“Now we see through a glass darkly…” 1 Corinthians 13:12

Most of you know that this past year a deadly pancreatic cancer in my body has been slowly entwining itself around most of the surrounding veins, making its removal all but impossible. You may also know that this fall, it reached the point where aggressive chemo was begun, and finally Hospice was called in when the unsuccessful chemo left what was left of me hanging over the precipice of death. During this time of not quite, but almost, being able to see across the valley of the shadow of death into the presence of my Savior, it was as though a hand reached out, pulled me back, and stood me up on my feet, literally.

I’m not sure if that Hand was divine, but I do know it was disconcerting. Okay, if the TOD suddenly gets pushed back, for whatever reason, what’s left? According to Paul, only one: “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” Rom. 14:8.  If you’re not dead, you’re living; and if you’re living, you’re not dead. The last four words are what make the difference: “We are the Lord’s, so we should do both “unto the Lord.”

So, this is where I am on this day of our Lord, February 9, 2017. As far as I know, this tumor is still there clutching those same veins; and I still pass a mirror and momentarily ask myself, “Who is that somewhat bald, shriveled woman I see? She looks positively dead.” But she isn’t (at least, not today.) She’s merely “seeing through a glass darkly.” But sooner (or later) Bless the Lord! “…then face to face.” Until I see Him, I will serve Him, living each day in the light of His Personage…Power.

“Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.” Psl. 119:49