“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I’ll fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me ” (Psalms 23:4)
I feel overwhelmed, challenged and on the brink of failure. I have so much to do, but so little time. Even the time I have is half spent worrying, reassessing if I am doing the right thing the right way or woefully misguided. I know where I’m going, and where I need to be, but in this darkness of uncertainty and fog of doubt, I’m lost!
All these feelings of inadequacy are brought on by my work and the challenges in it. It is my life, my calling and my joy, yet it is my burden and, sometimes, my grief! Something I started with immeasurable hope and expectation has been hit with the harshness of reality and the unpredictability of humanity. When I had the vision of what I wanted to achieve, I saw only the destination…the unknown route would prove the most challenging terrain I ever walked.
I used to feel bad that the majority of my prayer points were around my work, until I realized that man is who he is by what he does! In the old days of simplicity when running a farm or a country were the two major occupations, I would imagine that the focus of men’s prayers was on bearing fruit in the field or having wisdom to lead his people. Doing your work to the glory of God is worship…especially if the work is in obedience to God.
Even now, our work is an essential aspect of who we are as individuals and as Christians. Work also has the ability of affecting our lives in so many ways, particularly our relationships, our sustenance and even conflicts that challenge our faith. Work is very central to life, and God expects it to be a top agenda in our prayer life.
So it’s understandable that challenges at work can have a significant effect on our physical, spiritual and mental health. When you have it together in the workplace, everything feels better, you’re more happy and confident. But when you don’t have it together, you can feel quite the opposite. It takes God’s grace and blessing to endure through these uncertain times.
In the midst of my challenges at work, I find myself more blessed than I’ve ever been. I enjoy great health and live well. I’m in a young and happy marriage. I have supportive friends and family. And God has promised me a new joy soon. And even this work that is having a hard time getting itself together is blessed…it’s just that it’s soooo HARD.
I have no doubt in my mind that I am blessed because I’ve chosen to honour God through my occupation. If my work was not challenging, then I might have little need to exercise faith, and little cause to give God glory when He comes in and saves the day!!! I like how He said to Paul, when Paul went to Him thrice to remove the ‘thorn’ in his flesh – “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).
So with each challenge that comes my way, I take it as a lesson of patience, endurance, humility and love! I thank Him for all my blessings because He has made my life so beautiful and meaningful…and yet given me a persistent thirst for more of Him. My fear is expressed in the wisdom of Agur, who prayed that God would bless him enough to be content, but not so much that he’d take Him for granted (Prov 30:8-9).
So I want to encourage my brothers and sisters out there going through trials in one way or the other to remember that God cares, Jesus knows and the Spirit will sustain. Count your many blessings in that valley…even the breath in your lungs (if that is all you can see). Let His rod and staff comfort you (tools for command and discipline), knowing that you’re His servant and child. God will lead you through this time and show you for what purpose He formed you and called you out of your mother’s womb.
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