Did you ever play Donkey Kong on Nintendo 64? Donkey Kong (henceforth affectionately nicknamed DK) is a gorilla — a clumsy oaf of an ape that has longer arms than he knows how to handle.
Or perhaps you first glimpsed his two-dimensional frame on a Nintendo Gameboy as a cartoonish image of a King Kong wannabe with Mario throwing a sledgehammer around to save Princess Peach from DK’s hairy grip.
Whatever the case or scenario…
I have found myself in a slumpy state, the one where my hands hang down until I grow callouses on my knuckles from dragging them behind me. Then there are times where I’m pretty determined to do something right and use my hands to jump into the work the LORD has for me, but then everything seems to end up crushed because my idea of gentleness turned out to look more like an oversized gorilla suffocating a kitten because she thinks she’s being loving. In other words, my outlook lately has consisted of beginning work with good intentions, but possibly leaving a worse result.
What I discovered this past weekend, however, is that I’m tired. I’m weary. God has been disciplining me.
Tonight (Sunday) the LORD met me. He met me in a family night. My parents invited us, the Valadez kids, home for prayer and worship. That’s when I finally stopped swinging my arms around and let them droop. Then my dad read from Hebrews 12:11-14:
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Mind blown. The LORD speaks through his word. Go figure. I immediately felt the weight of my hairy gorilla arms and found them raised palms upward — the symbol of surrender. Just to hear God’s words wash over me let me know that God understands where I am and he wants to meet me there. Better yet, God is my strength. After a night of tears, repentance, and hope, I find myself prompted to pay closer attention to the disciplines of faith. Prayer, meditation on Scripture, solitude, submission… these are all tools I often turn into rules; but what I have found, lately, is that they are actually keys to experiencing freedom and supernatural strength in Christ.
So if you could join me in this, I would love your prayers for perseverance in discipline. God is my strength — this I know — but to be surrounded by a cloud of witnesses through prayer is probably the best gift anyone could ever give me. Thank you.