The Small Stuff


      It's likely that you've heard the saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff."  It makes sense from a common sense viewpoint, but the walk of Christ is not grounded in common sense, but in dependency upon Him and the leading and empowering of His Spirit.  Andy Andrews, commenting on this  said, "Life will be decided by what goes on in the small brush strokes, yielding either a masterpiece or a mess."  I have found that it is not the big crisis that puts the most pressure on my life, but the constant dealing with the small, seemingly inconsequential details of life that wear at my mind and spirit.  Those "thorns" that don't render us incapacitated, but remain as ever present, irritating pricks upon our lives, robbing us of rest and peace.  Life's brushstrokes, and how we respond or react to them will define whether our lives are a masterpiece or a mess.
     Watchman Nee tells the story of a particular thorn in his flesh that he cried out incessantly for the Father to remove, but His answer, as it was to Paul, was "no."  Like Paul, he was to rely upon His grace in the midst of the pain of the thorn.  Nee did not at first find this comforting, but he said he began to picture in his mind a riverboat navigating a river and encountering a boulder that stood five feet above the waterline, and blocked further progress.  He began to see the correlation between the boulder and his thorn.  He'd been asking for the removal of his own "boulder," but to Him came the thought/question, "Would it be better to have the five foot boulder out of the way, or to let Him raise the level of the water five feet?"  He saw then the real power of God's grace in the midst of boulders both great and small.  He realized that Christianity was "not a matter of removing boulders but of having deeper water."  Thorns lose their power against us when we abide in the deep of God.
     We may boldly proclaim "Don't sweat the small stuff," but it will be the small stuff that relentlessly chips away at our spiritual and emotional well being, entering our thoughts on a non-stop basis, stealing peace, joy, and strength.  The "boulders" that keep appearing in the path of our lives irritate, frustrate, and weaken us.  Yet, if instead of raging against them, or demanding that they be removed by Him, we will instead allow Him to show us once more that in our weakness we are made strong by His grace. (2 Corinthians 12:10)  The boulders and thorns are not removed, but our life in Him is deepened so that we may glide over them, move on in spite of them, because His grace really is sufficient in all things, even the most seemingly insignificant.
     There are a lot of brushstrokes going on in my and your life today.  What are they producing, masterpiece, or mess?  Jesus said that in this world we'd have tribulation, and oftentimes, that tribulation comes in the form of frustration, irritation, and aggravation over seemingly unimportant things, yet things that are undermining our spiritual well being and walk with Him.  Will we rage against them, become angry that He doesn't remove them, or, by abiding in Him, find that He is more than able to so deepen us in Himself as to render them powerless in our lives.  What's the "small stuff" doing to you and I today?

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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