The LORD of the Ring (or: A lesson taught on Sunday, Lived out on Monday, and the straw that {almost] broke the camel’s back)

How’s that for the longest title ever?! gold wedding band

But when I considered how to understand this, it was too great an effort for me and too painful. Until I went into the sanctuary of God…” Psalm 73:16-17

The Lord has blessed me with a precious group of women in our new Ladies Sunday School class. I love opening His Word and sharing life with them. We throw a box of Kleenex in the middle of our circle and wonder which one of us will need it first. I sure do love these ladies!

This past Sunday, the lesson was on Psalm 73 – a beautiful and comforting chapter about the writer’s battle between what he knows is Truth and what he feels when he looks around his life. On Sunday, I taught Psalm 73 as Truth from the Word, and as Truth I’d experienced in the past. But on Monday, I had a chance to live out what I had just taught.

In our current life “circumstances of silence and change” – no job, no response to our house for sale, no communication with the one job possibility left out there… honestly, I was doing pretty well. The Lord gently cocooned me last week in this very sweet place of trust and rest in Him. It was wonderful.

But by Monday afternoon, The living, active Word of God in Psalm 73 became my lifeline, my comfort, and my instructions on how to handle the “straw that {almost} broke the camel’s back. And {straw} only, it was.
straw_and_camel
Monday morning, I had bowed to the Majestic Sovereignty of God and was singing God’s praises: “Truly God is good…to those who are pure in heart. (Ps 73:1) [Here, the Psalmist (and I ) stated what we KNOW as TRUTH – God IS good! God IS good! God IS good!]

By the afternoon, this was my story: “But as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped…” (vs. 2)

Isn’t it amazing how one thing can change our grip and alter our focus?

The Psalmist knew that God was good, but as for what he was experiencing right then, he was losing his grip to continue standing firm on that truth. In vs. 3-14 he listed his valid grievances to the Lord. In detail. He also stated his honest struggle with feelings that he had served the Lord in vain… that God was blessing others, but not blessing him.

Do you ever feel this way?

I have. And by Monday afternoon, I kind of felt that way again.

My husband was pulling out some bushes and trees for a friend of ours, and when he carried them to the landfill, he noticed that his wedding ring was gone. He looked everywhere for it – inside his gloves, in his truck, raked through the yard, and even crawled around in the landfill looking. But no ring.

I tell you – it was almost my undoing. I know God is good! I know He is taking care of us. I’m embarrassed to even complain about our lives right now. But when that ring couldn’t be found, the enemy plummeted me with thoughts like: “See… God doesn’t really care. If He did, He either wouldn’t have let the ring get lost or at least James would have found his ring.” “You were doing something kind for someone else and look where it got you!” “One more loss. What is God going to take from you next? – your kids? your house? your health?” And on and on it went.

“My feet were almost gone, my steps had well night slipped… But when I considered how to understand this, it was too great an effort for me and too painful. Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood…” (Ps. 73:2, 16-17)

My feet were almost gone and my steps had almost slipped UNTIL I remembered my Sunday School lesson, and bowed in the presence of the Lord; taking my grief, disappointment, gushing tears, and all of those lies of the enemy to God’s feet.

Then I understood. I had a reality check. And praise God, this is what I found:

The reality of the situation: Even though it was a special ring, it was still just a ring. It was not our marriage that was lost. It was not even James’ finger that was lost. It was a ring. Not our health. Not our children. Not each other. Not our home… The ring will be costly to replace, but it IS replaceable. With a grateful heart, I now praise God that it was just the ring that was lost.

The reality of my reaction: “I was pricked in my heart… so foolish, stupid, and brutish was I, and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.” (Ps. 73:21-22) I had thrown myself an all out pity party. I foolishly entertained those thoughts from the enemy for just a moment before naming them as they were – lies straight from the pit of Hell! I whined to God about blah blah blah… I was foolish and brutish and ignorant before Him.

God’s Word tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is deceitful. We can’t trust it. Therefore, we can’t trust our feelings. What we “feel” is not always what is Truth. Bowing in the presence of the Lord, taking my grievances to Him, brought me back to relying on Truth, rather than on feeling.

And that brought me to experience~

The reality of God’s Presence: “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You do hold my right hand, You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to honor and glory.” (Ps. 73:23-24) Even though I was foolish and brutish before God, nevertheless, He was and is holding my right hand. He did not and has not let me go.

“…He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” Hebrews 13:5 (Amp)

I could list hundreds of other Scripture verses here – All reminding us of what is TRUE – God’s love for us, God’s Sovereignty over our lives, God’s Presence in our lives, and God’s good purpose and glory that WILL arise from every difficult situation we are facing.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is The Rock and Firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever” (Ps. 73:26)

Ps. 73 closes with some important instructions for us as we live, obey, trust, and wait with the Lord to work our good and His glory through our lives: “But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God and made him my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.” ( Ps. 73:28)

Monday afternoon and evening, I kept repeating to myself – “It is good for me to draw near to God. It is good for me to draw near to God. It is good for me to draw near to God. I have put my trust in the Lord. He is my refuge. And one day, because of God’s Sovereignty, this will be a great story of His works in and around our lives….”

In fact, it’s a great story already. Not one with a nice wrapped up ending {like, James looked down and there his ring was….} but one with the ending that through God’s Word, we were victorious in another battle for our attitudes and actions.

God IS the LORD of the ring – and of everything else in our lives. He can do with it and with us as He pleases. He has already used the loss of that wedding band to teach me some things He is burning in and out of my life. And I praise Him for it!

God’s Word, taught as Truth the day before, was fleshed out a day later. And once again, we experienced the blessed peace that comes from drawing near to God and KNOWing that God is good.

Thanks for listening… and a special thanks to those of you who are praying for us. I know that many of us face difficulties that are big to us, and because of that, they are very valid and important to God. Because in His sovereignty, He is using each difficulty to do something in, through, and around every one of our lives.

Praying for you and thanking God for His work and His Word….
Jennifer

PS: I processed through this post yesterday, and just as I put the period on the last sentence, the LORD blessedly added another paragraph. He shouted the truth that He IS the LORD of the ring, and in a way that only He can do, He is providing us with a new wedding band. We are going to get it today. I can barely see through the tears to type this. I am so thankful!

Thank you, Most Sovereign Lord, that you are the LORD of the ring, and of every other thing in our lives – and that no detail escapes your notice, nor your care. Thank You that in this time of uncertainty in our lives, You remind us that we can be certain of You, Your presence, and Your Living and Active Word. … Please glorify Yourself through our lives… I love You so much, Lord…. Thank You for the ring – and for the loss~ and for the lessons learned through it. To You be the glory… a men.


This post is linked to Thankful Thursday, whose theme this week is “change”. If you need some encouragement to be thankful for the change going on in your world, I bet you’ll find it there! 🙂

About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com

Comments

  1. Wow… What a story…

    Wow…God IS the LORD of the ring – and of everything else in our lives. He can do with it and with us as He pleases.

    Amen… And it is always good…

  2. Wow! This is really a great post and very true!

  3. God is beyond awesome.

  4. This is beautiful Jennifer! Yes, it's only a ring but I can understand when everything else is so up in the air it's easy to allow our flesh a meltdown. Been there … done that; just different circumstances. Take comfort in knowing you're prayed for and in company with uncertainty.

    Hugs to you,
    Debbie

  5. Hang in there…I think God is giving you the peace you need….His mercy is good!
    sandy toe

  6. Oh Jen…I don't know WHAT is going on, but again, God has providentially placed you in my life at this time, in this season. It's not by chance. You have no idea (I know I said that last time, as well…) how I needed this. James lost a ring, but I was truly, truly, TRULY ministered to through this. I'll send you a message with more details, but just know I am (as always) just stopped dead in my tracks by your words, and His Word that you put right in my face. I still want to be you when I grow up. :o) MUCH love, and thanks—albeit through my tears, Julie

  7. Wow… what a post girl! But more than that… what an experience.. with the ring and with God Himself. So like Him to bring such beauty out of something so frustrating. : )

  8. This was a WONDERFUL post. Inspiring, heart felt, and packed full of wonderful scripture with so much to say…I am hurring out the door right now, but I will be back to this blog again to spend more time reading other posts. Thanks for writing this, it truly blessed me. I am soo happy you are getting another ring. Our God is soo good..Blessings to you, Debbie

  9. God is sooooo GOOD! What an AWESOME God we serve!! I needed this post today..right now..at this very moment. Headed to my Bible to read Psalm 73. Thank you for sharing and what a wonderful blessing..to get a new ring.

  10. Well, you made me cry. AND you made me think. I can so relate to the day you had. I've certainly experienced those "straw that broke the back" kind of things. And — when I finally stop and take a deep breath and look UP, I'm always chagrined and embarassed before the LORD for not just trusting what He was doing in my life. Thanks for sharing this. I sure needed to hear it today. Blessings on your day today. I love you, sisterfriend. 🙂

    Gwyn Rosser
    The Pink Tractor
    http://www.gwynrosser.blogspot.com

  11. Just me~Bobbie Jo says:

    God is good!

    What a great post! One I needed to hear!