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But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 2 Corinthians 12:9 AMPC
Even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you. Isaiah 46:4 AMPC
A few weeks ago, I experienced the most excruciating back pain of my life. I went to the ER to be checked out and I’m much better now. I was forced to rest for a week and slowly eased back into life’s responsibilities. That was a one-time thing but for months I’ve had a tingling pain going down my left arm. The doctors in the ER did scans on my back and neck. They determined that the pain in my left arm is due to something called a bone spur. And they explained that there’s nothing to be done about it at this time.
At first, I began slipping into feelings of hopelessness and despair. Questions swirled around in my head. Will I have to live with this for the rest of my life? Will it get worse? How will it affect me long term? Will I be able to serve and care for my family?
And then the Lord jolted me out of my negative spiral by giving me something else to think about. He led me to focus on the word SPUR. I’d been told I had a bone spur. So God said to me, “take some time to think about that word spur, and tell me what you find”.
I did a little digging and found out a few things about spurs. I didn’t grow up using the word much, so what I found was new and interesting to me:
- A spur is something that prompts or encourages someone
- It’s anything that serves to urge or encourage
- It’s an incentive, a catalyst or springboard
- Something that urges you forward
- A spur makes you want to do something
- It causes something to happen
- I also learned that horse owners use spurs to guide their horses, not to force them to perform.
- Spurs are meant for teaching behavior, not punishment
- They’re used to add to the effectiveness of verbal commands
For weeks prior to going to the ER, I felt the Lord telling me to rest. To rest in Him. To stop over thinking and over working and find rest for my soul. But did Toni the ‘super mom’, ‘super wife’ or ‘super blogger’ listen? Noooo! I justified my fatigue as my reasonable sacrifice to God. But His Word says He doesn’t want sacrifice. He desires my obedience. God was saying – I want your heart. He was trying to urge me to rest in Him. In His infinite wisdom, He knew I was headed for burnout.
To be clear, God didn’t give me the bone spur. But in His love for me, He used it for my good. To point me to a deeper truth. To show another side of Himself to me. The spur isn’t a punishment. It’s a reminder that wherever I’m weak, He is strong. Omnipotent, even! He covers every area where I fall short. Where I lack, His grace is totally sufficient. Whenever I am not enough, He is more than enough! God was urging me gently to rest in Him. But when His verbal command was ignored, He used the spur to guide me away from the danger of depending on my own strength.
I choose to see the bone spur just as the word ‘spur’ is defined. An encouragement. Something that prompts me forward. An incentive, even! “To do what?!”, you might say. And the answer is: to allow God to be God. To rest in Him. To trust in Him. I cannot truly rest in God until I trust Him completely. I’m reminded to lean on Him and know that He will hold me up. And when I’m too weak, to know that He’ll carry me. His love will carry me through this life. Through all the highs and lows. Even when I’m old and grey, He promises to always show up for me. To rescue me even when my own choices have led me into danger. When my heart wonders, “who will save me?”.
God says, “I am He. I have made you. I take full responsibility for you. You are my beloved. I will love you and carry you. Even when the world no longer sees you as lovely or useful. I am He who will rescue you. My strength and power will dwell upon you in your weakness. I will cover you. I will never leave you vulnerable or open to destruction”.
Today, may we all be spurred on, encouraged… to rest in the God who turns everything around for our good!
Love & Blessings,