"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service" (1 Timothy 1:12 NIV).
What an extraordinary idea this verse presents: our Lord encourages us because He has already given us the strength to be faithful. He appoints us as His messengers and puts us into His service so we might be ministers, teachers, comforters, helpers: whatever He has chosen for us to do. We need not force ourselves into His service, for He has chosen us for His appointment. We need not worry about results, either, as long as we remain steadfast to His Presence and principles.
We are His anointed and appointed to make His rounds our rounds, His work our work and His burdens our burdens. Paul here is thanking God that he has been called to a life of responsibility and hardship. There aren't too many of us willing to do that. The Christian life is a challenge to mind and body. It is development, construction, production, creativity, and originality, all that is good in our lives. Imagine, we are partners with God in His creation that continues every day!
The year our son died I had already studied the Book of Job twice, for two people very dear to me--and, like Chuck, basic relationships--had died only months before Chuck. God prepared me well! One thought gripped me as I read this grand poetic treatise on God's goodness in the midst of misfortune: not only are we to trust God, but we are to believe that God trusts us! I recall mentioning this to a minister friend one day and he said he had never thought of this as he studied the book. But it became so clear to me, particularly as I read the first chapter where God Himself declares Job to be "blameless and upright" and tells Satan that he is not to "lay a hand on [Job's] person." God knew that He could trust Job with His reputation and the trial He was about to send Job.
The thought that God trusts us and depends on us to trust Him brought me through many stabbing moments, hours and days. I knew that God would never let me go, but so many times I feared letting go of Him. The memory of God hedging me in as He did Job, and His relying on me to make it, brought me that needed momentary strength.
Thank You, Father, for helping us to understand that sorrow is a special appointment and anointment; that there are extraordinary lessons in this school that we cannot learn anywhere else. Thank You for courage in our moments of despair. Thank You for kneeling with us and holding us to Your bleeding side as we pour out our grief to You. And O! Father, may we be worthy of Your appointment!