He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
and carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.
I have historically been rather adept at making a mess of things. Add in unhealthy patterns of the past, and the emotional spiral can plummet downward in those never-ending places of unmet expectations. Any memory verses that I nobly pledged myself to adhere to quickly fall to the wayside in the moment of heated frustration. Then, of course, I deride myself for snappily doling out a sharp word voiced to my vulnerable child or teenager, for “If I faint in the day of adversity, my strength indeed is small,” (Proverbs 24:10). I really wanted the “next time” to be better. Is there a replay button somewhere I can hit?
I have become familiar with where to find the proverbial reset button; it is found in humility. I have to wipe the slate clean, and the only way to do that is to humble myself and say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me my tantrum. It isn’t how I want you to operate or communicate when you are feeling frustrated.” We want our little ones to learn how to lean on the fruits of the Spirit when life throws curveballs at us. We want to Shepherd them, as Abba Father shepherds us, just as we are promised in Isaiah 40:11, “He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.” That is a comforting word to me, that just like I would scoop up a sad child in my arms, He also gathers me up in His arms and leads me through my anxieties, my moods, and my weaknesses!
I do so want to be in command of my temper, master my fluctuation of mood, be careful over the details of my responses to those around me, be watchful concerning my faults, and always have an occasion to exhibit kindness and unselfishness. That’s a tall order for one who is broken, and Satan wants me to focus on my failure instead of my Father. I want to be “The loving heart which seeks to offer all, even disappointments and vexations which touch the tenderest places, to God” (H.L.Lear, Tileston, 235). I want to offer “gentleness that refuses to take offence, that is always ready to excuse, to think and hope the best, mark our intercourse with all,” and my “life be one of self-sacrifice, always studying the welfare of other, finding [my]highest joy in blessing others,” as Andrew Murray so sagely exhorts me. But in those times when my emotional filter is clogged, or I’m just plain physically exhausted, there is a way out from the burden of shame, and that is to turn back to a walk of humility. “Humility is simply acknowledging the truth of our position as creatures and yielding to God His place,” (Andrew Murray).
It is in the throes of those moments that I also need to be reminded that “failure won’t define me ‘cause that’s what my Father does,” (Cory Asbury). I turn off the negative self-talk that condemns me and instead place agreements of the Father over me, because His Word promises that He “will reveal to us the abundance of peace and truth,” (Jer. 33:6). I am also encouraged by the words of John Dickson, that “It wasn’t always a matter of what I had done wrong, it was a matter of what the Lord was building in me” (John Dickson, Worship Warrior, p.59). He is gentle with me; He is patient; He is kind. And He continues to be with me, gathering me in His arms and leading me, as I lead my young ones.
He knows the days can be hard. He knows the days can be long and dreary. But He is with me in the midst of it. “The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. (These forty years He has been with you; you have lacked nothing),” Deuteronomy 2:7. Praise the Lord! He is with us through these hard circumstances, and He builds in us spiritual muscles to endure and press on.
It was the Lord.
He turned my circumstances around
because I praised Him in the hard place.
Worship Warrior, p.62