Having an "Even When" Diligence
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.” (Psalm 46:1-2, NLT)
My grandmother has had the same morning routine for years. She wakes up and makes herself a cup of coffee, frothed with piping hot milk because that’s how she likes it. Once she has that all-important cup, she sits down at the kitchen table with her iPad, a notebook, and her Bible. As she works her way through her morning coffee, she worships, reads devotions, takes notes, and prays.
Outwardly, to my earthly eyes, the process is peaceful and beautiful. Her white hair is tied back into a ponytail, she’s still comfy in her robe and PJs, and she’s genuinely enjoying quiet moments with the Lord before she settles into whatever tasks she’s made up her mind to do that day. But when I allow
the Holy Spirit to take me by the hand and shift my perspective, the picture is a whole lot different. In truth, the diligence of my grandma’s morning routine is training; she is constantly preparing herself and donning the Lord’s armor for whatever battle he has for her to conquer.
We all have faith role-models: the ones that show us by example how beautiful it is to walk with Jesus in all that we do. Their faith is stretched wide and wonderfully woven— a tapestry of all the places they’ve been with the Lord. One thing that I’ve learned from all these amazing Christians is that faith like that isn’t tempered and tuned from their mountaintops. Faith stretched wide is something that can only be cultivated in the deep valleys that we face.
Lucky for us, the Lord uses those valleys not only to broaden our faith, but prove His goodness over and over again. Psalm 46:1-2 shows us that in times of trouble, Jesus is our refuge and our strength. What catches my eye is that attached to that promise is an equally powerful declaration: We will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Not “if.” When.
Sure, those earthquakes and mountains can be metaphors for more personal life-events: a fresh breakup, the loss of a job you depend on, death of a loved one, or an especially awful day. Any and all of these things stand to rock our world if we don’t hold onto the ever-steady hand of God. We don’t become exempt from earthquakes and crumbling mountains when we walk with Jesus, but we do become far more equipped to handle them when they come. We do get to face them without fear.
And a simple glance at the latest headlines in current events prove that sometimes, those earthquakes and disasters are not only metaphors, but very real, very frightening trials. And although these disasters haven’t run up to my own doorstep, they still hit close to home. My amazing, faith-rockstar of a grandma lives in Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria, we haven’t had much contact with her and my family grows restless with each day that we don’t hear from her. What we do know is that her house isn’t in great shape, there is no water, no electricity, barely any gas, and so much to rebuild. Every day, I walk into my kitchen on my way to work and wish with all my heart that she was sitting at the table, safe and deep in her routine.
But when I catch myself worrying, Jesus reminds me that for all those mornings I’ve observed her quiet devotion-time, there are hundreds of mornings she faithfully devoted that no one has seen but Him. He whispers to my heart that all those mornings— all that diligence— is what is carrying her through now. His words are hidden in her heart. She wears His promises and has polished her armor for such a day as this. When her earthly home no longer seems like a sanctuary, He is standing in as her refuge. When the circumstances around her overwhelm her, He holds her up and helps her through the tasks to be done that day.
That’s what I want you to take away from today. Don’t wait for the earthquake or the hurricane or the landslide to search God out. Seek Him on the mountaintop as desperately as you do in the valley. Be diligent in your pursuit of the Father’s heart and be determined to do right by Him EVEN WHEN you find yourself in the valley. When we hide his awesome promises in our hearts, we will be able to call on them on the days we find ourselves in the midst of disaster. And in Psalm 42:1-2, his promise is that when those days come, our heads might spin a little but we will not have reason to fear.
And just as a last, little thought: When we climb out of our valleys, our faith looks more like that big, beautifully tempered tapestry. Just like I know that the next time I see Grandma, her faith will be stretched so wide, we just might need a bigger table for her to meet with Jesus at in the morning.