Monday, October 21, 2013

"Mr. Cookie Bar? Or..."

         In an episode of the Andy Griffith Show entitled "Dogs, Dogs, Dogs," Deputy Barney Fife finds his late afternoon snack jeopardized by Sheriff Taylor, who feeds Barney's Mr. Cookie Bar to a stray canine Opie brings to the Courthouse.

    "Don't give him my Mr. Cookie Bar!  I"ll want that later on," pleads a troubled Deputy Fife.  "A slender, high-spirited person needs a sugar pick-me-up late in the day!"

    I knew how Barney felt yesterday, albeit my sinking spell occurred in the morning.  As we prepared to leave for two services we were scheduled to conduct, a wave of tiredness overtook me.  Being a morning person, this was unusual, and since we had a little extra time, I actually considered taking a quick nap before we left (since we had no Mr. Cookie Bars on hand!).  I had things to do, however, and a nap in the morning somehow just didn't seem appropriate.  Then the thought occurred to me: the Lord offers something better than naps, or even Mr. Cookie Bars.

    "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might... If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin.  But the spirit is life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Ephesians 6:10; Romans 8:10-11).

    I remembered our Heavenly Father's promised enabling through Christ, as revealed in us by the Holy Spirit.  Needing to stay active rather than recline, I chose to believe His assurance that calls us to be strong in Him rather than in ourselves.  In this case, the matter involved physical strengthening, but the blessed promise can apply to any form of weakness we feel in our humanity.  Sometimes it's emotional or mental.  Or it can involve the deeper spiritual necessities of our walk with the Lord.  Whatever the challenge may involve, He promises to quicken us, enabling us to overcome and to do His will.

   I cannot say I immediately felt an infusion of power from above.  The earth didn't quake, nor did the house or my physical frame shudder.  I just quietly kept doing the things at hand, and within a few minutes, I realized that I no longer felt the tiredness that had burdened me earlier.  Without a nap or a Mr. Cookie Bar, the Lord had strengthened me, just as He promises.  I had no problem finishing my preparations or conducting the services, and throughout the morning I marveled at the faithfulness of God.  "
For by Thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall" (II Samuel 22:30).

    I share this as a testimony to that faithfulness, and as an encouragement to remember the promises of God regarding His enabling to fulfill the privileged responsibilities of life to which He calls us.  Of course, we realize that the Lord administers His strengthening according to His purposes and will.  Believing His promises involves no gimmick or magic bullet, and in my case, He could have enabled me to press on while still feeling tired, revealing His strength in my sense of weakness (II Corinthians 12:9).  In whatever manner He chooses to work, we trust Him, discovering perfect Faithfulness revealed in and through trusting faith.  I'm grateful for yesterday's experience, and for the everyday working of the Holy Spirit that enables us to affirm the promises of the God to whom the Psalmist declared...

"Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds!"
(Psalm 36:5)

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