Monday, March 17, 2014

Aches and Excuses

I'm currently in the backseat of a vehicle as I type this. I am on an adventure. Some would call it a road trip. Is this commitment, or what? I'm not sure when I'll be able to post this – I don't exactly have wifi always available on this trip. Another thing I'm lacking is good health. The bouncing of this car, and something I keep eating (because I don't know which thing it is) are leaving me with sore everything … and then there's the strange positions I keep on falling asleep in. My sister can verify that there's been many questionable ones. Anyway … this girl is in pain. That's never been my favorite pastime, but you know, whatever floats your boat, right?
I've been using my pain as an excuse, though. Sometimes, it's an accurate one, like in this instance: “I didn't sleep well last night, because I wasn't feeling well at all.” Other times, it's been less than a favorable complaint. “I didn't spend much time with You last night, God. I was just sick. You understand, right?” Shouldn't these things make one more productive; more proactive? Pain should draw one to realize that nothing is promised in this life … except Jesus; except grace. I roll those last words around on my tongue, changing them ever so slightly … “accept Jesus; accept grace.” Because the funny thing is, yesterday, when I was so ridiculous and avoiding of love, that doesn't mean that God wasn't giving grace still. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Pay attention to the location of those verses. Lamentations. A collection of brokenhearted cries from one of the darkest times in history for God's people. And still, they said this. This was their hope, and so this is what they wrote down. In this history book, they wrote for their descendants of the woe and trials that they faced … but they didn't leave it at that, no. They did not go even three chapters without breaking out in praise. I think that there are beautiful lessons such as these that the Lord saves for the afflicted. Things that those with happy, 'perfect' lives have no notion of … this fact causes me to almost pity them. They don't know the depths of God's grace, because they haven't been in a pit deep enough for it to completely cover them. Yes, that is what I am suggesting, that God's grace is sufficient for our exact needs. If you think you can handle this life on your own, and that yes, God is good, then dare I state that you've barely gotten your feet wet in the flood of God's grace.
I will not claim that I am the greatest sufferer – I know I am more blessed and less afflicted than many. But I have experienced the stunning grace of my Lord and Savior, because I need Him so desperately. When we are acutely aware of our need for Him, He gives Himself to us even more. “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)
Going back to yesterday … He knew exactly what I needed, even though I did not. In retrospect, I can see the evidence of His grace. Unexpected texts from someone dear, holding a relative's miracle baby close for the first time, a sister who let me sleep on her shoulder (talk about grace), an aunt who spoiled us silly … the Lord heard my excuses, my complaints, my cries of pain, and He flat-out pampered me. And I couldn't give you a logical reason why on this side of heaven. I'll never fully understand why He so loves us flops and failures. But He does. He so does. And I am overwhelmed; sheer grateful. I don't know what troubles this day may hold, but this day and my heart have been trustingly placed in the hands of my Creator who somehow knows exactly what I need.

So take this day, Lord. Take my life. You're gently teaching me to trust, and I'm recklessly giving You my all.