I find it hard to believe that this coming June I’ll turn 69. In some ways, I feel so young – but in others, I feel so old. Some of what I’ve been struggling with has felt so raw and controversial that I hesitated to share. Other things felt so personal, that I wondered if I dare share. What happened to the courage I had when I first started blogging, and my commitment to you – to always be open and honest about what I’ve been learning and my walk with the Lord?

Somewhere along the way, I let my vision for this blog die. To be honest, I’ve even been considering ending it and forgetting about writing. How can I inspire and encourage others when it feels like every day is a battle just to wake up and go to work in the morning?

I forgot that there all too many people who don’t get up and go to work in the morning. I’d forgotten about my hope. I’d forgotten that we are all in this together. Despite the many urgings of the Holy Spirit, I was wallowing in the slough of despair and trying to keep up the act that everything was OK.

Resistance (thankfully) is futile

In a very real way, at so many levels, I’ve been resisting the loving discipline of my heavenly father. I’d forgotten that discipline is more than just correction when I mess up – it’s the training, nurture, encouragement, and teaching of the Lord aimed at my sanctification. I didn’t like what God was permitting to happen in my life or the lives of others around me, here in Israel and in nations worldwide.

I’ve felt the Lord urging me to get back to writing, and more. But instead, like a pouting child, I was throwing away the time He gave me on things of no eternal consequence. And lately, in particular, I’ve felt like such a hypocrite. You see, it was my turn to give the main teaching at the meeting, and the message God had laid on my heart was from Hebrews 12:1–13. You may recall that it is the chapter on accepting the Lord’s discipline because He is working in our lives in love for our best good. The reminder that struggles, trials, temptations, and suffering are all a sign that we are God’s children. The closer the day came for me to teach, the harder it got for me to prepare my lesson. God was asking me to be as honest with my students as He asks me to be with Him – and you.

I suppose somewhere I’d fallen for the lie that if I admitted that being on this biological drug is hard, that getting older is hard, that facing retirement is just plain terrifying, and how tired I am of writing for everyone except the Lord – that people would think less of me as a believer in Jesus. Oh, how subtle pride is.

Endure…

For me, the breakthrough came in spurts. It began a couple of months ago when I was complaining to God about the symptoms I’m struggling with, due in part to my intestinal problem (incontinence), as well as the side effects of the biological med I’m on, aimed at attacking the misbehaving genes in my body.

I cried out to the Lord, “Jesus didn’t experience this. You DON’T KNOW HOW I FEEL.

Almost immediately, the Lord brought to mind Hebrews 12:2 and reminded me that Jesus endured the SHAME of the cross… He reminded me that the Romans crucified their prisoners naked, and of what happens when a body dies, how the human waste dirties the corpse. I felt a whispering thought – not my own – I do know how it feels, and more…

“Endure discipline,” was God’s message for me. “Endure this experience of training in your life. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who already went through this life for you. Accept this TRAINING and HIS Example. If He could go through this anticipating a future joy, and He lives in you – you can endure this.”

I was reminded that if I would get my eyes back on Jesus, no – He would NEVER give me strength for tomorrow. But He would always give me strength for my every today.

In the past weeks, Hebrews 12:1–13 has become my most frequently read passage. I began working on my lesson, and finally, thought it was done. Then I went to work last Sunday…

To be honest, if I hadn’t spent the past few weeks deeply meditating on Hebrews 12:1–13, I probably couldn’t have handled what happened.

One of my supervisors told me that I was going to have to move into a new office. The office I’d been in for the last 10 years was needed by someone else. My new office would be in a different building and about ¼ the size of my current one. Before I had the chance to digest that bit of news and consider its implications, I was advised that usually, even contract employees are forced to retire at the age of 69, but that my supervisor had fought for me, and my contract was renewed. However, in June 2025, when I turn 70, I will have to retire. After that, well maybe they could hire me as an outside contractor.

In one fell swoop, I felt demoted, set aside, and old – and deep in my heart, I realized this was for my good; I had to accept it. I had to stop fighting the inevitable and receive this as from the Lord and not from man, or I’d end up in an endless self-centered spiral that would sink me even further into the depression I’ve been battling and away from the Lord.

Accept, let go, endure.

The Carving of Love

Last night I had to share all this and more as part of what I’ve learned about discipline. And like He always does, the Lord surprised me with His comforting love and hope.

The comfort came from the worship. The brother who was leading the worship had been led to share an amazing Chinese hymn sung, that says it all. I pray the words will encourage you as they did me. (I’ve included the link to the song at the end of this post, you will have to visit my post online to access it.)

The Carving of Love (Chinese Hymn)

You left your glorious abode, living a servant’s life.
Silent upon the cross, you shed your last drop of blood.

Ah, Jesus, You are love. Your love has conquered me.
Sadness and frustration, slander, and deprivation,
pain – cannot stop me from loving you.

Ah, Jesus, You are love. Your love has conquered me.
Sadness and frustration, slander, and deprivation…
It’s because You love me that You carve me so.

The song encouraged me so much. I was able to share and really mean it. The situations I face are GOOD for me. Losing my office humbles me and being forced to retire means I have to accept that I am aging and seek God for how He wants me to handle my retirement years. All yet more exercises in trusting God with my life. I’d be lying if I said it is easy. But I will not let go of these two things: God is good and God is faithful.

I am finding the comfort and love of God by accepting His discipline. I’ve been reminded that thankfully, God will never give up on me. Indeed, after the meeting, something happened that has me reconsidering my loss of vision with writing. Maybe I just needed to let go so that I could let God – but that will be fodder for a future post. Stay tuned!

Giving the encouragement I’ve received

When I started this blog so many years ago, I wanted to give others hope by sharing the encouragement I’ve received.

This post has not been an easy one to write but I do hope and pray that it will encourage you. No, discipline is not fun. But if we belong to Jesus, it is a necessary part of our lives. We all need to remember that God’s discipline is administered in divine wisdom, with great love. There is hope and joy set before us as God completes His good work in us.


For you to enjoy

I hope you enjoy listening to this recording of the Chinese Hymn, “The Carving of Love.”

If you are really curious, I’ve added a link beneath the video to my notes for what God had placed on my heart for my teaching.

Download a copy of my notes about discipline

About the featured photo: Original photo by Deborah Hemstreet (a.k.a., Dvora Elisheva), © 2024.