Psalm 18:31-32 – For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. (NIV)
I hate cleaning up after the horses in the winter. Everything sticks solid to the icy ground and is a real chore to pick up day after day. It is an even greater chore when my desire to do it in my own strength gets the better of me.
I use an aluminum shovel to pick up all those frozen horse apples. But loosening them from the ice takes more than that tool. Yet, don't ask me why, there are days when I am simply determined that I am going to do it with that shovel, instead of using the steel ice chopper that I also always carry in the toboggan.
Once I get started with the aluminum shovel, my frustration begins to rise. I keep thinking, One more good whack, and I'll have it! But what happens is that I just damage the edge of the shovel a little bit more each time. Finally, my better sense takes hold. I throw down the shovel, grab the ice chopper, and give those apples a solid smack, and they leap up out of the ice for easy pickup.
So why do I choose to do it the hard way? Why don't I just pick up the ice chopper first? I think that it's because I am a bit lazy and don't want to use two separate tools instead of just one. It's cold out, and I just want the job done. But in the long run, my thinking backfires, as the task takes twice as long.
This effort in futility reminds me that I can save myself a lot of frustration amidst each and every task of the day if I remember to stop and quietly whisper a prayer for God's guidance, strength, and wisdom. For when I do so, the Holy Spirit within is able to equip me with whatever I need to be the right tool in God's hand to accomplish whatever tasks that He has for me to do, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
So today, we each have a choice: to work within our own strength — which often leads to anger, frustration, and discouragement — or to submit quietly to His Holy Spirit within, that we might become the right tool in God's hand for the glory of His kingdom.
Prayer: Father God, what foolish and silly creatures we can be, always trying to do things in our own strength, which so often becomes just an exercise in futility. Bless us with the determination to submit to the power of Your Holy Spirit within us, that we may always be the right tool in Your hand for the right task. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
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