My adult daughter with disabilities tells me she’s frustrated this morning. And most mornings.
In all fairness, life isn’t working out for her the way she’d hoped. And with her paralyzed way of thinking – a mix of realism with an inflexible planning mechanism – she can’t see how it could ever get better. She’s about to graduate from college with honors, but knows her lack of social skills will probably land her in menial labor.
“Well,” I attempt my morning pep talk as I drive her to school, “you know what the Bible says. God’s mercies are new every morning. Which is great, because we are served up a dish of new frustrations every day. Every day! Pretty normal. Believe me, I have a bunch today too. So, good thing we also get daily mercies.”
Not sure if she’s getting this…she makes no response…but I’m actually encouraged myself as my daily dose of frustrations flashes before my eyes.
Okay, new approach.
“What did you read in the Bible today?” I venture because I just remembered it’s much more effective to find out what God is already doing in a person before prescribing a remedy.
“Something about how God will give us streams of living water coming out of our own heart or something…” she mumbles vaguely.
“Oh, you’re reading John 7?” I attempt to engage her. “What do you think that means?”
“Umm, I think it’s about God giving the Holy Spirit,” she says absently.
“Okay. Well, what do you think God is saying to you through the Word?” I press.
“What do you mean?” she turns to me puzzled.
I’m thinking of something my pastor said on Sunday about the process of preparing sermons. He said, first, you need to discern the exegetical meaning of the text. And second, you need to decide the homiletical point of the passage.
In other words, you need to know what the text is basically saying, and then you need to know what the Holy Spirit is saying through it, how He is applying it to a given situation or people.
That’s not a bad approach for our daily Bible reading.
But my daughter isn’t sure what God might be saying to her through John 7. And of course, I’m not sure either, but I’ll give it a try.
“It sounds a bit like the daily mercies God promises us through the prophet Jeremiah,” I suggest. “God gives us an inner fountain of the Holy Spirit to sustain us every day for all we need. To sustain us in our daily frustrations.”
“So, how does that work?” she sighs.
“So, we read the Bible…and then we pray. We talk to God about what’s going on.”
“Then we trust. I guess that means at the very least that we don’t fret. For me that means I decide to not think about some things. I leave them with God…
“And then we walk.”
“What do you mean by that?” she questions.
“Walking means we do the next thing.”
My husband always tells me when I’m overwhelmed to just do one thing. One thing. So walking with God through the worries of life often means just doing the next One thing.
Like folding the laundry. Or clearing off the counters.
Or going to class…
I look at my daughter and summarize: “Read. Pray. Trust. Walk.”
By now we’ve reached her school and she’s opening the car door. She jumps out and starts running toward the door.
“Walk!” my voice trails behind her.
Well, I guess running will do.