Over the years I learned how to let go of "things" that may hinder my growth in life. Holding onto things of the past (emotionally, physically or mentally) can either be a blessing in that it is a remembrance of how far you have come or a stumbling block that hinders a person's faith.
As I began my annual spring cleaning, a box came into view in the corner. I allowed the box to sit for an additional week. I am known to save everything, and there was no telling what was in there that should have been discarded long ago.
Over the years I learned how to let go of "things" that may hinder my growth in life. Holding onto things of the past (emotionally, physically or mentally) can either be a blessing in that it is a remembrance of how far you have come or a stumbling block that hinders a person's faith. I have also learned through my relationship with Christ that in order to grow we must be willing to be stretched in areas that may not be comfortable. But it is for our good.
What was found in the box not only brought this fact home for me, it was surprising in itself. It revealed the love of God in the waiting.
Allow me to share.
The box contained various things of importance but none as important as a letter written over 15 years ago addressed to me by one of four brothers who had entered the Marines after graduating high school.
The letter expressed frustration and disappointment at possibly being sent home from boot camp due to a potential hereditary medical condition (that never materialized). My brother is a diehard Marine regardless of status in the service (active or not). Not being able to participate in basic training alongside his comrades weighed heavily on him. He went on to share how in faith (though at times it wavered), songs of praise carried him through the waiting period of uncertainty.
These are excerpts from the original letter, with permission from my brother:
"I was starting to lose my joy, faith, and dream (John 16:22). They make you sit on this hard wooden bench outside the series Commander's office until he is ready to speak with you. I was there for three and a half hours just sitting which really made me lose my joy. Then God had the song playing in my head, "Whose report will you believe." (Psalms 71:23)
"I was like okay Lord I understand that. Then they sent me back upstairs to my platoon. I was like Lord, 'How am I going to hold my head up, when it felt like my dreams had been crushed?'
"He then put this other song in my head, 'If Satan can't steal my joy he can't steal my blessings.'" (James 1:2-3)
What stood out in the letter most was the fact that though the conditions were unfavorable to remain in the Marines, he never allowed it to deter his focus from of God. He pressed further into the father and surrendered his trust and will to our lord.
"It gave me the strength (singing praise unto God) for when they came to the end of the day, and I know where I'll be tomorrow (the day after) I lost my joy again and couldn't remember the song. I did ask God to tell me what the song was, but I got no response. I sat for the next 3 hours trying to remember the song. Mail call came around. I was expecting a letter from some people, but the only one I got was from you.
"I had to wait an hour and a half before I could read it. I just started laughing out loud. I couldn't help it. As I was reading your letter I pictured you here talking to me like I was at home. I started reading the letter the way you would say it with all the facial expressions at all.
"Then I remembered this song. I keep your letter in my right cargo pocket so whenever I start to lose Joy I read it. Although I am the happiest person in the squad Bay."
You may question if his faith wavered at times, did he really trust the lord? Yes. In the uncertainty of the outcome he sought God's provision of peace in the matter.
"I'm praying they'll put me back in training by the end of this week. If not I want to leave out of here by Friday and celebrate my birthday at home.
"Overall I pray that God's perfect will be done."
Needless the say, God had other plans for my brother.
"Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Mathew 6:10
God's perfect will for our life is revealed, released and obtainable in heaven. What is required of you and me is to come into full agreement with his will in order for it to be released and received for us on earth.
What would have happened if he had just given up and lost hope?
He would have missed the true reason for his divine calling. God knows the plans he has for you and me. Believe it or not, there truly is blessing in the waiting where God is concerned.
In our impatience we fail to see the bigger picture. It's out of our rest in God where understanding of divine truth is received.
My brother was ultimately honorably discharged from completing basic training and went on to complete his education in graphic design. He continued his work in ministry as a host at his local church and works in youth ministry. And later he went on to successfully begin his own business. He is always willing to share the gospel whenever the opportunity arises as he continues his growth in the lord.
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!" Isaiah 30:18
Enjoy a wonderful and marvelous weekend.
Until next week, be blessed and continue to bless others along the way. Go in peace.
Contributing Writer Edith Nevis can be reached at 985-857-2200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. She just hit a four-year mark for her column and would like to hear from you if her messages have encouraged you in any way, so she may share your experiences.