To become a better tennis player, it helps to play with someone who is better than you. I use this approach with becoming a more faithful follower of Christ, too. I have found people (or they have found me) whose walk with Jesus is more alive, more disciplined, and more fruitful than mine, and I try to learn all I can from them. One of these people is Karen Bacon, my cherished friend and mentor and the author of The Cry of the Hidden Heart, Finding Fulfillment in Marriage. She is the quintessential older, wiser woman and has a word of encouragement for all of us today:
“Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”
When my husband died I discovered a lot of new things: Why he spent so much time in his office; why there was always a place for everything and everything in its place; why the little things matter and most importantly, what a brilliant idea God had in sending us out by twos.
When all of life’s issues became mine alone to manage (like keeping the bills paid, trying to keep up to speed with my electronics, using some of those weird tools I found in his tool box, retrieving an earring that went down the drain, de-coding his filing system), I complained to the Lord that this is hard!
And, in that familiar quiet voice I heard, “I know. I’m strengthening you.” That was the point. God doesn’t want a bunch of couch potato softies who don’t know which end of the Sword to use. Much as I’d prefer to be served, God has purposefully ousted me from my comfort zone. Someone once said:
“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather
to skid in sideways, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and
screaming, “Woo-hoo, what a ride!”
When Sarah laughed in disbelief and complained that it was too late for her to bear a child, God said to her, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14a) You, too, may find yourself in a hard place in your life and/or marriage, registering your complaint with the Powers That Be. In Hebrew, the word “hard” also means wonderful. Be of good cheer; in Christ, there is a wonderful side to your circumstances. Not only are you being prepared to be a fit, steadfast, joy-filled follower of Jesus Christ, in season and out of season, but ultimately you are being readied to be His beautiful, spotless Bride.
— Karen Bacon