I have been feeling down lately, due to many factors, including the stress of the "holiday season," the leaking dishwasher and ruined floor in my kitchen, and the juggling act of parenting and homeschooling three very different kids. Lately, I have also been challenged by the many orphans and hurting people in this world. It can be depressing, even obsessing, to read blogs, check Facebook posts, follow Angel Tree numbers, and other things.
It is then that I realize I am filling myself up with things and thoughts that are not, first and foremost, about God. Yes, there are people hurting everywhere. A friend of mine's daughter has leukemia. Another person's home was lost to fire. So many sad episodes. Now, don't get me wrong. It is definitely good for us to pray for people, to advocate for them, to help them.
But if my own spiritual cup is empty, what good am I? Or, as they say here in the South, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." I must give my first fruits to God.
So tonight I read from the book of Isaiah (yes, I noted the connection!). My favorite passage from the book is the Servant Song in Chapter 53. Usually I focus on verse 5 ("wounded for our transgressions"), but tonight, the Spirit showed me something in verses 3 and 4.
Here are the verses:
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
God knows who we are. He knows our pain. And he knows the pain of these orphans with disabilities for whom many of us are advocating. These children are despised and rejected, given over to orphanages and later mental institutions. I don't know what it is like to be one of them. Even as a parent of a child with Down syndrome, I have compassion, but I have no idea what it is like to be a scared child, lonely and hungry and wondering WHY.
But Jesus does. Read the words: Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering. He knows. He hurt when He was on earth, and He hurts now as he sees these little ones despised and rejected.
But Jesus, who knew rejection, became the Cornerstone. He is the one we can count on no matter what. Yet if we spend all of our time focusing on good things, nice things, busy things, but not God Himself, then our cups will be empty.
So how will you fill up your cup with the Lord? How do you keep from feeling down or challenged? I'd love to hear your ideas. Because God promises us that if we are walking with Him, our cups will overflow.