Three weeks now I’ve been flattened with this head cold/cough/lethargy thing. When I mention it to others a good 65% reply, “It’s been a month now for me and I’ve still got it!” One lady I know has battled a sinus infection now going on two years!
Today our city is buckling down for another huge freezing rain/sleet/snowstorm event. Power could go out once again and result in another kind of extended annoyance.
Whoever invented the “Chinese water torture” — where water is continually dripped on a restrained victim’s forehead — knew well that a relentless minor annoyance can drive a person to a breaking point.
In scripture we read “A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day” (Prov. 27:15 – NLT). Now I’m not saying my wife is quarrelsome; I’m merely pointing out that even the wisest man of all time, Solomon, recognized the cumulative negative effect of an incessant annoyance.
But some drips enter our lives with divine purpose.
James writes, “… when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4 – NLT)
I underlined that word “endurance” with good reason. What better trial that an “incessant” one to develop ones ability to stay a long course?
But the fact that God has purpose in incessant annoyances does not mean they become any easier. Indeed in Hebrews we are reminded (as if we needed reminding) that “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” (Heb. 12:11 – NLT).
So the thing to do it seems is to look ahead… see the goal… see God’s good purpose. Remember, He can turn the most wicked of things, regardless of their origin, into wonderful things fulfilling some purpose lost to us in the experiencing of them but foreseen by Him in all His infinite Wisdom and Power.
The same book further admonishes, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Heb. 10:36).
When I used to run marathons I would often in the final few kilometers focus my thoughts on the finish line… the encouragement of other runners who had arrived before me, the Gatorade, orange wedges and cut bananas that would be laid out to refresh and rehydrate, and how good I would feel that evening, showered, fed, relaxed and contented as a well earned sleep swept over me.
So what to do, be it drippy friends or drippy noses?
“…take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” (Heb. 12:12,13).
Above all, as always…
To hear Alan Baker’s Sunday message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Nov. 10 message.