Devotional: Relearning the Same Lessons

No, I don’t want to learn that again! I’ve been through that before – once is enough!  Why me Lord?

Have you ever felt that way? I have. In fact, I made the incorrect assumption that once I had been through a problem, a temptation or other occurrence in my life and said, “God, I understand” or “Message received” or “Okay, I finally got it” that I could move on to something new and not have to redress these lessons.

Wrong!

Over the last ten or twelve years I have faced several traumatic problems. I’ve asked God, “Why do I have to deal with this?” Or “What do I need to learn?”

I have a simple faith and know He is in charge. I usually accept my fate without too much complaining.

Ready for a laundry list of some of the things I have experienced? Here it is.

  1. Being a man and having a mammogram before having a benign lump removed in 2000 was scary.
  2. I found having a TIA (mini-stroke) in 2000 and again in 2002 was life altering.
  3. Fighting cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides for fifteen years has worn me down.
  4. Being in coronary care in December 2004 got my attention.
  5. In 2005 my mother in law had a major stroke. It took her life in early 2006. I preached her funeral.
  6. Later that same year I found out I had an irregular heartbeat, a heart rate twice normal, and three valves with issues.
  7. About the same time I find out my mother required a kidney transplant.
  8. I made some bad life and work choices in 2008 – 2010. I went to working nights which caused me to rarely see my wife. I juggled between days and nights where I found myself totally worn out. I spent most weekends checking on my aging parents worried about mother’s kidney issues. She had the kidney transplant in March 2011.
  9. My wife has had abdominal issues for the last 18 months that the doctors cannot resolve.

You are starting to get the picture …

Last year I quit my day job of twelve plus years. In honesty, I was just burned out. My goal was to semi-retire and write. Write I did. I placed 18 pieces in 9 months. My former day job asked me to come back and I rejoined them the end of October.

The week before rejoining them my wife is carried from work to the hospital via ambulance. They never conclusively determined the cause though the doctor did say probable TIA (mini-stroke) to me.

On November 5 I was in a major car wreck. It was the type of wreck where the ambulance carries you to the emergency room. Just when I am getting over it I have a bad fall on ice the day after Christmas. I still am recovering from it. I still have back pain.

Now I am having ongoing numbness and tingling in my left foot. It is terrible.

Add to that I have a large tax burden this year because of a stock sale.

I have been in bed and cried out why God?

Okay God, why hasn’t everything been perfect?

The word surrender comes to mind. I realized I slowly had taken back over control of my life.

Sometimes, when our troubles go on and ON, it is alluring to runaway from whatever storm we’re in, harden our heart, throw up barriers and say I don’t care anymore. I’m going to just runaway and live for me.

Other times that little devil on our shoulder or our well-meaning friends whisper in our ears or mind “You deserve to be happy.” “It’s pointless.” “Things will never change.” “This is impossible.” “You are worthy of better.”

Think about why bars are so full. Why drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers are so crowded. Why one-night stands are so common. Why credit cards are charged to the maximum credit limit and closets are full of clothes that don’t fit anymore. We substitute for Jesus and overdo and indulge either physically, mentally or emotionally to distract. To quench. To numb. To forget. To avoid. To hurt others not realizing we are hurting ourselves.

By the way, the voices are not Godly.

Should you give up and quit? NO.

There is only so much I can do. The most important thing I can do is believe in and trust God. Through the last dozen plus years that is the hard lesson I have had to learn over and over.

I need to let go of the life I have given to Christ and totally surrender to His control. That is the life lesson I have been learning most recently … God, I can’t, but you can. God, I’ll make the wrong choice, even when I know better. I even make the wrong choice when I can hear God saying don’t, but he other voices say do.

My prayer is to surrender to God’s Lordship for my life. It is to trust Him more that I trust myself. Here I am God, I surrender all. … and yes, please help me relearn this lesson if I try to take control again.

Author: Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a full-time writer. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, to a career military father and stay at home mother. He lived in six states and attended eight different schools before graduating high school. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with minors in English and Military Science from The University of Texas at Arlington, Master of Arts and Master of Religious Education degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as the Doctor of Education degree. Before writing full-time, he worked as a US Army officer for 10-years, religious educator for 18-years, and as an IT software application engineer for over 20-years. He is a widower. He lives in North Texas with his cat Lacey.

2 thoughts on “Devotional: Relearning the Same Lessons”

  1. The issues in my life are not nearly as serious as yours are but I have to admit that my ongoing health issues and work related stress are getting to me more and more. Why hasn’t everything be perfect indeed?

    Letting God take over … even though I love Him and know He knows best, that’s the hardest thing to do. Sigh …

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