Several years ago I read a book titled Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. It was one of those books that contained something which spoke directly to my heart on almost every page. Many of the lessons that Katy (the main character in the story) learned were lessons that the Lord was also teaching me. A few years after reading the book, I came across a short devotional published by Barbour Publishing entitled Selections From Stepping Heavenward.
This morning I picked up the devotional and was flipping through the pages looking for a particular passage. Although I did not immediately find the passage for which I was looking, I came across a paragraph that really touched my heart and reminded me of lessons I thought I had mastered.
I am constantly forgetting to recognize God’s hand in the little, everyday trials of life, and instead of receiving them as from Him, find fault with the instruments by which He sends them. I can give up my child, my only brother, my darling mother without a word; but to receive every tiresome visitor as sent expressly and directly to weary me by the Master Himself; to meet every negligence on the part of the servants as His choice for me at the moment; to be satisfied and patient when my husband gets particularly absorbed in his books, because my Father sees that little discipline suitable for me at the time; all this I have not fully learned.
Last week was a week of minor everyday trials and interruptions that left me frustrated because I was unable to accomplish all the goals I had set for myself. This passage convicted me of my own shortcomings and sin as I too found “fault with the instruments by which He sends them.” I was reminded that interruptions in my day that are directly or indirectly tied to relationships in my life are usually far more important than my own agenda.
Like Katy, I may have learned to surrender my loved ones to His hand, but I must be reminded that the smaller everyday annoyances of life are often also instruments that the Lord uses to continue to refine and mold me. Of course there will always be distractions that I must face and I must fight against my own desires to deviate my focus from those things which I feel I am called to do when they become tiresome or difficult. However, it was nice to be reminded that everyday trials are often sent to illuminate the motives of my heart and help me recognize my own desires and agenda. It is a strange wonder how it fills my heart with joy and relief when I am reminded that it is a daily battle to surrender my life to His hand to be used for His glory and that without His assistance, I will always seek those things that satisfy or glorify self.