Originally published Wednesday, 15 October 2014.
The precious possession of a man is diligence. Proverbs 12:27
I’ve long loved this verse. As a girl with a lotta gumption, but not necessarily always the girl with the outcomes she imagined that gumption would get her, this verse is a comfort to my ever-trying soul. What is precious isn’t always the outcome, sometimes it’s just having diligence.
While our little one brewed in my belly, I prayed the Proverbs over him. This verse I took special delight in praying for him. As I lifted my request before the Father, I imagined all the ways he might need diligence as a young person. When he was born, he had life-threateningly low blood sugar, an irregular heartbeat and breathing pattern, and his temperature started to drop way too fast so he was unexpectedly whisked off to the NICU. They pumped him full of sugar via an IV to stabilize him and monitored him closely. The experience was more than a little scary even though we had been assured the condition was fixable and not permanent. Because his little system needed food fast they put him on formula immediately. After that, they gave me ten minutes every feeding period to try to nurse him. Ten minutes for us to figure this thing out just wasn’t cutting it. As soon as he got close to me, he’d fall asleep. (And a couple times I did too!) He liked to snuggle, but he wasn’t nursing. For a mama who prefers the au natural route (a lesser degree of importance to stabilizing his health, but still a factor in the ordeal), every necessary measure was one that made me cringe. I was grateful for the interventions, but lamented the fact that we needed them and how I knew they would impact things. Nursing would end up making both of us more than cringe. It was incredibly difficult post NICU. As I sat there with my little man who refused to nurse, hour after hour, day after day, week upon week, lactation consult after lactation consult, I prayed this verse over him, thinking, “I had no idea you’d need a diligent heart this early in the game!” And I prayed that verse for me too. Diligence eventually won out. Diligence and heaps of grace!
While this little story comes from my most recent personal experience, and I realize most of you aren’t in the same situation, there’s not a one of us that couldn’t use a dose of diligence for something in life. Could your marriage use a fresh wind of diligent attention? Maybe your finances need some diligence? Maybe that dream you feel God put in your heart could use a little more diligence? Maybe your child isn’t an infant learning to eat, but there’s an element to their life or your relationship with them that is disheartening. Pray diligence over them and over you. Pray diligence into your marriage, pray it over your finances, over your dreams. Pray it over any and every area of your life.
We don’t have guarantees over what fruit our labors bring. In fact, the last few years my resolve has been shaken as quite a few places of diligent, heart-work came back with nothing less than shattering results. But even as I look back over those efforts, I know they weren’t lost. God doesn’t waste anything. And I have the peace of mind that I tried and gave it my all. But if I hadn’t been diligent to the best of my ability, guilt and what-could-have-been questions might have owned me. Diligence is indeed a precious possession. It’s the key that unlocks emotional shackles so we aren’t possessed by all the what-ifs or if-onlys in life. May God grace you with His patient diligence for whatever faces you today.
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