I hate to admit it, but there are times when my quiet time with the Lord, reading the Word and praying in the quiet, still hours of the morning all alone before anyone wakes up are the absolute JOY of my life - and then there are other times when I struggle and strain, pulling what seems the weight of an elephant uphill against that time that so refreshes my life, if only I can let it wash over me. I am in one of the latter times right now. Mind you it is not willful disobedience, but rather a sick heart that keeps me from the only place that I know to truly make it well - what irony!
Recently I was led to the book of Job during this time between the Lord and I. I have read Job several times in the past - specifically two other times when I felt I was suffering conflict, persecution, and trial. But this time was different. I felt the Lord led me to that book because he had something very rational, very logical, very grounded in truth that He desired to show me. In the beginning Job suffers terribly - and that is previously where I had identified. But this time something altogether different came into focus as I have been reading. Job has friends - and they mean well, but everything they speak into his life only bring more discouragement, more opportunities for condemnation, and make his struggle to stand much harder than it ever needs to be. He has two choices - to give weight to the opinions, condemnations, and judgments of these friends, or stand, grounded in truth of his righteousness before the Lord. How many times in my life have I allowed the opinions, prejudices, preferences, ideals, and thoughts of others press on my life - bringing conviction that should come from the Lord alone, and by His Spirit. In this I am to blame - preferring the approval of man to simply pleasing my Lord.
I am thankful for His word and the power it has over and over to speak truth in my life. It is hurtful to realize you allowed the influence of another person to cripple you spiritually and hurt your family because you did not stand against the false accusations of others. But knowing this truth is the first step towards tremendous, liberating, exuberant, extravagant, elaborate, extraordinary, beautiful freedom in Christ! It is the strangest feeling - sorrow and anxious expectation. I will wait on the Lord.