June 24, 2014
Finding Strength in Life’s Fire Swamps
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength (Isaiah 40:30-31, NIV).
Friend to Friend
There’s a scene in the whimsical and quirky film The Princess Bride in which some bad guys were chasing the movie’s two main characters, Princess Buttercup and Wesley. In order to escape, Buttercup and Wesley ran into the treacherous Fire Swamp. (Insert scary music and creepy feelings here.)
The Fire Swamp has three challenges: fire spurts, quicksand, and the ROUS - rodents of unusual size. (Stay with me...) At one point in the Fire Swamp adventure, Princess Buttercup fell into a pit of dry quicksand, instantly vanishing. Her brave hero, Wesley, quickly grabbed a sturdy vine then plunged in to save his true love. Moments later both characters emerged from the quicksand gasping for breath, stunned by the events that just took place.
Life clutter can sometimes consume us just as fast and leave us gasping for breath, stunned. When we find ourselves in the fire swamps, we ask question after question: How did this happen? How did I get here? How do I get out of this scary place? Does anyone know I’m in this pit? Who will be my hero?
Falling into the quicksand of situational fire swamps becomes a greater risk when we run on empty. Without a doubt, I’m more vulnerable on the days when my schedule is so full that my God-time is minimized. You probably know what it feels like to have a day filled with activity but a heart filled with empty. I imagine you, too, feel at times as if all you do is work, work, work and give, give, give. You feel lonely among crowds of people and wonder if anyone really sees you or if anyone really cares. At times, you have too many obligations, too much stress, and not enough strength.
In order to survive these pitfalls, we must wait upon God – the One who won’t grow tired or weary. He has strength readily available for us and knows where to direct our steps. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV)
King David said it like this, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:1-3a).
Fire swamps of life come and go. There’s really no avoiding them. We can, however, be spiritually prepared to face their challenges. God equips us – strengthens us – as we wait on Him. As we trust in Him. As we dwell with Him.
Have you refueled in His presence lately? Take time to meet with God one-on-one today. As the psalmist wrote, “Let us go to His dwelling place; let us worship at His footstool – arise, O LORD, and come to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your might” (Psalm 132:7-8).
Heavenly Father, You are my Strong Tower, my Deliverer, and my Shelter. I’m running to You now. Please renew my strength. Please lead me with Your Holy Spirit and guide my day.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Now it’s Your Turn
· Are there obligations in your life that could be eliminated? Take a few moments to consider your schedule and your circumstances. What needs to stay and what needs to go? Make a list and then make an action plan.
· Go to God with your list and lean in to listen to His leading!
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s GiG devotion is adapted from Trusting God by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, & Mary Southerland by permission of Multnomah, division of Random House, Inc. Are you ready to begin a new faith adventure? Get a copy of the book!
Need some help un-cluttering on a soul level? Uncluttered is one of Gwen’s worship CDs that speaks directly to this. It’s an album that sweeps you away from excess 'life-noise' and focuses your heart and mind on the one thing that matters: your relationship with Jesus Christ. You can download the songs from iTunes or Amazon– or order CDs on www.GwenSmith.net.
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Originally published Tuesday, 24 June 2014.