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Foundation Truth, Number 21 (Summer 2008) | Timeless Truths Publications

It Was Happening Again

And I Seemed Powerless to Stop It…

It was late morning, and circumstances had prevented me from planning my day ahead, so here I was with (apparently) hours of free time ahead, and plenty of tasks to fill it with. It should be no problem figuring out how to productively use the day, right? Wrong.

I grew up endeavoring to avoid work a great deal, and unfortunately succeeding a lot of the time. It wasn’t good for me. I had gotten saved at age 12, but had an inconsistent and rocky experience, and didn’t get steady enough in living for God to start responding to the training He had for my character until my late teens. When I had my time “scheduled” pretty full (school, full-time work, etc.), I found that I could fairly easily get help from the Lord to be diligent and increasingly industrious. But when I had to be a self-starter, overcoming obstacles, figuring out things on my own, managing my own time, I found (and still find, at age 50) that deeply-ingrained habits of thinking and coping stood between me and being an overcomer. They will become obvious to you, I think, as I describe how the day unfolded for me.

I wandered down to the barn, a 30’×60’ building with a number of stalls (formerly used for animals) along one side, and a shop and an open area making up the other side. As a family, we had recently begun a long-deferred and long-needed reorganization of the barn, and most of the stalls were properly organized now, but my shop still had a great deal of organizing needing to be done.

I walked into the shop, and began to look things over. I had heard this folksy saying once: “If you have to eat a frog, don’t look at it too long.” The idea is that if there is something unpleasant to be done, don’t spend a lot of time looking at the job before doing it. I looked at that shop, and the longer I looked, the more my courage drained away. I prayed for help to do something useful, and the Lord gave me courage to clean and put the chain back on an electric chainsaw that was sitting on the work table, and then put it away in a “proper” place. Well, that was encouraging, but there still remained a great deal of “stuff” to find proper places for (whether in the shop, at the dump, or elsewhere, remained to be seen). I went back up to the house for lunch, feeling a bit worn out with too much looking at the frog, and only a little “chewing,” so-to-speak, on one of its toes.

After lunch, I began to ponder different alternatives to work on, and the voice of discouragement kept coming up with reasons that each one of the alternatives wouldn’t work, at least not then. A sense of paralysis was coming on me, and I couldn’t shake it off. My wife prayed with me, and then I prayed as well. The Lord showed me a step I could take to show Him that I was setting my will to get help, and that I really meant that I wanted His help to get the victory here. It was a small, physical thing—getting on the treadmill and walking energetically for ten minutes to get the physical lethargy driven away. I did it. Then I asked with growing faith for help and direction, and the Lord pointed out a project that I could get started on (tearing the old roof off our rabbitry). I began, and found myself with an almost frantic energy flowing into the task, as if the Lord was making up for lost time. I finished that task that day, and the spirit of depression had fled. Thank the Lord for victory!

Many of you have long since overcome these types of character flaws, or by the Lord’s mercy never had them or were trained out of them early, but I want to tell you that God is bigger than every character weakness we have and has the victory for us!