Remember me telling you that it’s really Fall in south Texas, not winter? Thus, after a fun, travel-packed Christmas and New Year, our yard was full of what my 2 year old calls mountains of leaves. Time to break out the rake.
We live in a duplex and share our piece of front yard with our neighbors. It makes sense to collect all the leaves on their side too. But I kinda kept going and raked off their driveway and sidewalk as well.
I’m not as saintly as you may think.
Last night washed in hard circumstances and left me soaking wet, withered and dried out, all at the same time.
This morning, I went outside with the kids in tow, M jumping leaf mountains, E strapped to my side in the baby carrier, to do something active with my hands and see the fruit of my labor, right here, right now. Even if M destroyed my leaf mountain fruit.
I needed to see proof that I could produce something, and that something would occur right now. Not in a week, not in a month, not in a year of waiting, waiting, waiting for God to move the mountain we just can’t seem to get over.
As I raked my neighbor’s side, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” danced across my thoughts. “Say what?,” I almost asked out loud. What does that even mean and how does that apply to me? I’m already saved.
But once we have salvation, God does not stop working on us; we are in a continual sanctification process. Simply stated, we are being made more like Christ on a daily basis by the work of the Holy Spirit within us.
Yes, I was working out my salvation, on the spot as I raked leaves, the wrestling of whether or not I believe what I say I believe.
It’s true, part of me was raking my neighbor’s leaves to be a witness, to show her the love of Christ. But could I really witness to her, tell her and show her that God is real, loves her, is true to all his promises, if I didn’t believe it myself?
And, to top it all off, I just wrote about God’s promises. That I need to stand on these promises. Have I already forgotten this in just seven earth rotations? Already forgotten that “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true?” (Psalm 18:30)
Was am I afraid? Um, yes. But I need to exchange my fear of this circumstance for fear, or reverence, of God. Because the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and I sure do need wisdom to tackle this peak. (Proverbs 9:10)
After tackling leaf and faith mountains, I came inside and looked up the rest of the verse.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Breathe, I tell myself. The last part of this verse, this very verse, is in my stack of index cards, my stack of verses to memorize and pray over my husband and myself as we climb this mountain.
I don’t know what His purpose is, but it says it is good.
I don’t know how yet, but it says God will work in me to will and to act in order to fulfill this purpose.
I do know now, that yes, I believe what I say I believe. But oh how it is a hard lesson to learn.
Are you learning this lesson to? I don’t know what you are going through, death of a loved one, betrayal, financial hardship, but I’d love to love on you through it and help share the burden.
As I tell myself, so I tell you:
- God will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
- The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand. Psalm 37:23-24
Stand on these promises with me today.