Monday, April 16, 2018

“Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength.” ― Chris Bradford

                    When I was growing up, if I got into a wrestling match with my big brother and he was winning (almost always) and I couldn’t take it any longer, I would shout, “Uncle!”  I don’t know how or where shouting “uncle” became the word to acknowledge defeat or at least the unwillingness to continue, but it was part of my background as it was of my wife’s and my sons’ world.  Watching a show on television the other day, I learned that in another part of the world when one man was ready to give up, he did not shout “uncle” but instead shouted “Sufficient!”  That seemed pretty funny to me but then shouting “uncle” must seem strange to a lot of folks as well.  Then I got to thinking about the sacrifices we make as Christians, as parents, as husbands and wives, and as friends.  There have been many, many times when I would have cried “sufficient” if I thought it would have stopped whatever bad thing was happening.  Sadly, it is not for us to say “sufficient” to God and then relax knowing that our struggle for Him is over.  No, in the world of the Christian who has devoted life and all to the service of our Lord, it is never appropriate for us to call “sufficient.”  That is the province of God and God alone.  
                      There have been many times over the past few months and especially the past few days when I would have loved to cry, "Sufficient!"  But that's not my call to make.  Perhaps the hardest thing about accepting Jesus Christ as Lord is that we give to Him and Him alone the power of when to say, “Sufficient.”  He has said that to many, to Mother Teresa, to my father, to my beloved Karen, to people you have loved, and even to His own son.  It is not for us to worry about when the fight is over—for that is God’s call.  We don’t get to “throw in the towel” when we have promised and declared that “The Lord is our shepherd” and that we will follow where He leads whatever the cost.  It has been, and is, a hard thing for me, but it has always been the right thing.  He is my Shepherd and I follow where He leads even into the valley of the shadow of death without fearing evil, for He is with me—and with you.  My life may not always be an easy one, but it has always been blessed—and continues to be.

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