O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. Yes, I have a good inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6
In preparation for this trip, I had been careful with my health, exercising regularly, taking vitamins, and staying rested (okay, I always do the rested part). It wasn’t cold and flu season, but I didn’t want to take any chances on my trip to Israel.
My months’ worth of healthy living seemed pointless when the fever and sore throat set in during our five-hour layover in New York. I don’t think I have ever had a cold manifest itself as quickly or aggressively as this one did. By the time we boarded the plane for the next leg of our trip, I had carry-on full of overpriced pharmaceuticals from an airport vendor—and no small amount of frustration.
This might be a once in a lifetime trip and I wasn’t planning to miss a moment of it. I wanted the full experience. And I somewhat self-centeredly wanted to feel good while doing it.
The weather was hot in parts of Israel, and we were on the go from sunup to sundown. One night, as I crawled into bed after an exhausting day, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to participate the next day. The cold had turned into a sinus infection and I was miserable.
Now I don’t believe God made me sick anymore than I believe it was the work of Satan. But both of them would use it to their advantage. Who I allowed in was my choice to make.
So I inquired of the Lord what He had for me in this (that’s how they would have said it in the bible anyway). There is always a blessing to be had if we look close enough. As Jesus often does, He answered my question with a question. What I heard was, “Is this enough? Am I enough?”
Jesus asked me if what I had was enough. I was in Jerusalem. I was seeing and experiencing the Holy Land first hand. I had made it through several days touring places in Galilee. I had a busload of new friends I’d shared sacred moments with. Was experiencing the Sea of Galilee enough if I couldn’t make it to the Temple Mount? Would I choose to see what I already had as a gracious plenty and be grateful, or would I choose to complain?
I recalled a payer when I'd asked God to help me recognize, respect, and accept with joy the portion and path He had for me in life. There are things I will never do because they haven’t been given to me to do. The level of peace I experience in my life will reflect how willing I am to embrace the portion and path I have been given, rather than coveting the portion or path given to another.
Can the clay question what the potter makes of it (see Romans 9:21)?
David wasn’t allowed by God to build His temple, but he prepared the way and readied the materials so that his son Solomon could. David accepted God’s plan and didn’t try to move ahead without Him (see 2 Samuel 7). He was neither resentful nor complaining. He was obedient.
Or there is the parable of Jesus concerning the talents (see Matthew 25). The servants who had been obedient with what they were given were invited to “Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21).
The invitation wasn’t based on how much they achieved or produced, but on their obedience.
I have friends who are Christian writers—some are multi-published, some are just published, and some are please Lord let me be published. They all feel called to write, but each of their journeys is different. Some are prolific, making books appear at regular intervals through out the year. Some take years just to get the first draft on paper.
How long does it take to write a book? It takes as long as it takes.
It goes without saying that a good work ethic is required. Without a work ethic, failure is on the horizon. But there is also a peace found in obedience.
The delays and obstacles, the setbacks and missteps, can be confusing and discouraging. That’s when I remind myself God is the One who gives me my portion and path. He gives me just the number of words I need for that day. I may have to row my boat out on the Sea of Galilee and cast my net to catch them—that’s the work ethic—but they are a gift from Him. He gives me the ideas I need to pursue and times the giving so as not to overwhelm me, but to draw me closer to Him.
And I’ll have just enough days to write the portion of words He gives me.
I want to see my book completed. No one ever starts a project they hope they never finish. But God knows exactly how far I’ll get with the portion and path of life He has given me. He is already aware of the end and has the next step in place. My job is to be obedient to His direction. It is, after all, more important to have my name written in The Lamb’s Book of Life than on the bestseller list or whatever worldly goal I could pursue.
The amount and quality of peace I experience depends on how willing I am to embrace my portion and path. This is true whether I’m writing a book, saying goodbye to a loved one, or tucking myself into a strange bed half the world away from my home and wondering what tomorrow will bring—and where to find the nearest pharmacy.
Can we, like David, be content with our portion and path?