What are we to do when our footsteps are flagging?

Do you feel like your flagging during Lent?  Mother Mary Francis has the best answer for what to do!

[Jesus] is always going forward to save us.  How strange if we were not that eager to be saved in the little events of every day. His footsteps were on the way to the Father.  They were unflagging.  He always kept going.  His footsteps were always unswerving.  They went straight ahead in the will of the Father.  He knew where he was going . . .

For ourselves, we know that our steps are quite often flagging.  We lag.  We sit down.  We get tired.  What are we to do when our footsteps are flagging?  There is a simple answer.  We get up.  Sometimes we become discouraged in a prideful way and we think, “Well, what is the use?”  What we are really saying is, “I don’t want to make the effort to get up.”  For us to have unflagging steps fitted to his, we have to be always getting up, because of our weakness, our sinfulness.  It could be a wonderful thing indeed never to fall, never to flag, but it is a wonderful thing to get up.  This can be a true inspiration for the poor sinners we are: that our footsteps become more unflagging according to how often and how quickly we have gotten up.

What can man do to me?

Ps 118.6: The Lord is on my side; I will not fear; what can man do to me?

Job 34.29: When He gives quietness, who then can make trouble?

The Lord is for me (margin).  What can man do to me?  Nothing.  Nothing that really matters.  Nothing that can do any harm.  Nothing that will not be turned to golden good.

Sometimes we feel as though man could do a great deal. A perverse child can cloud a whole day.  The sight of deadly sin, injustice and suffering can overwhelm us.  And deeper things, the inward assaults of the never-resting foe (though he is not man but stronger than man) can seem to do appalling things.

But still the word stands, the question that can have only one answer.  The Lord is for me.  What can man do to me?  Nothing.

And to another questions there is only one answer.  When He gives quietness, who then can make trouble?  No one.

However things seem, the answers to those two questions are among the things that cannot be shaken.

~Amy Carmichael

Sail at an angle

I want to share an excerpt from a book I’m reading, Wild Child, Waiting Mom–written by the mother when her daughter (with two young children) was once again making a bad decision about her life (and the life of her children).  The mother was very tempted to slide into depression–she and her husband had been praying for their daughter for years with seemingly no impact.

In the midst of these difficulties, emotional fatigue and ensuing discouragement were an ever-present danger.  For me during these excruciatingly painful days in Ithaca, I made a conscious decision to take my eyes off my problems and fix them on the Lord.

I clung to an analogy that Dan [her husband who was a pastor] had taught while we worked in Fort Wilderness in Wisconsin.  Several times Dan had the opportunity to teach Bible lessons on a weeklong sailing junket, and I was privileged to go along.

One day when the wind was very strong, Dan asked the captain just how his vessel (a three-mast schooner) could sail headlong into the winds blowing against us.  The captain explained that when a sailboat is sailing against a strong wind, the vessel can’t make progress, and, in fact, endangers itself.  What the ship has to do is to tack back and forth–sail at an angle, creating a vacuum on the back side of the sail that actually pulls the ship forward.

Dan has used this analogy many times in his teaching, applying it to the hardships in life.  Gleaned from our 20-year journey of the harsh winds of Wendi’s rebellion, we can speak with assurance–this works.

Dan expresses it this way: Don’t face directly into the problem, but rather, when adverse winds arise, just turn your mind toward the Lord.  Then, “as the troubles come toward you, let them just whip on by. As they do, it will create that pull toward God.  In that way the trials of life will pull you toward the Lord.  Learn how to tack as you sail spiritually against the wind.”

Turning my eyes toward the Lord took my eyes off the problem and helped me actually make progress in my spiritual life-journey instead of being “blown away.”  (Karilee Hayden, Wild Child, Waiting Mom, Finding Hope in the Midst of Heartache, pp. 209-210)