Saturday, March 31, 2012

Strength in Humility (A blog from our lovely daughter)

"You did not seriously think that a hobbit could contend with the will of Sauron?"
Translate this thought to our world: You didn't seriously think that one such as you could overcome the will of Satan?
Yeah. We can't. But that's the whole point!
Let me clarify. Many of you that read this, I know, have experienced God working in their lives in some way or another. Actually, all of you have, but the difference is whether or not you're conscious of it. God NEVER stops working in us or through us, and every passing moment is an opportunity to act on this knowledge or to let it slip by. But yet, we can't control these moments. In fact, we truly don't control anything in our's all because of grace! Do you think about that daily? Left to our true desires, we run rampant in this world...and if we truthfully admit, we wouldn't be happy with the aftermath of all those choices. Too often I've heard stories of "If only" or "I should have" and believe me, I'm one of them. But yet, I don't think any of us would really want to trade the growth that's come from our past experiences to go back to our old ways. In fact, we're not meant to! God's called us to His purpose and not our own, and every minute of every day is meant for Him to shape us into the mold He's designed for us to be...and in completion, it will be perfect. Here's the catch: the shaping process will hurt. Severely. The beauty of it is that God is with us through it all despite and that there is always the other side to be reached. In his book Desiring God, John Piper writes, "This is God's universal purpose for all Christian suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in self and the world," (233). If this were something easy to attain, we wouldn't need God. We'd have even less appreciation for the multitude of graces we've already been shown if our faith were of our own doing. Thank God that it's not! Even beyond that, "Our sufferings make Christ's sufferings known so that people can see the kind of love Christ offers. We complete Christ's afflictions by providing what they do not have, namely, a personal, vivid presentation to those who do not see Christ suffer in person," (Piper 245). That's one of the hardest parts; keeping in mind that it all serves a higher purpose and that our reactions are a testimony. People watch our lives, whether we realize it or not, and everything reflects back to our relationship with Christ. How dare we doing anything to tarnish His beauty for something that we'd "prefer"?!
The highlight for learning all of this this week has been in the course of breaking my foot (again), but this time for a different reason than the last. Previously, it was due to a careless mistake. This time, I just pushed myself farther than I realized, thinking that I could handle it. I hadn't trained. Running nearly five miles when you haven't done that in a few months just isn't smart, but it felt good. The same applies to sin; going into it feels great, but you never realize until after the fact what sort of deep trouble you've gotten into save for that tiny voice that you sometimes listen to that tells you it might not be wise. The result for me now is I've become almost completely dependent again. Last time around, I feel I was much more accepting of this. This time (privately, mind you), I've just been a pathetic spaz. I've found myself struggling with anger, frustration, embarrassment, and humiliation. The laughter or pitiful looks from others just makes me want to break down on the spot. But I remembered today what one of my favorite role models, Marva Dawn, who is renowned for her tranquil attitude despite a plethora of ailments, including recent leg amputation, said, and that was that she was grateful to be a service opportunity for others! Today, I'd reached my limit. Between crutches, pouring rain, a flat tire, and being late to class, I was done. But on my way back to car, I was flooded with offers for rides, carrying my bag for me, etc, and that was when I remembered Who and what I was meant for and my tears just flowed when I reached my car, partially in shame for my pathetic attitudes lately. So, I'm actually grateful for it. I remember having prayed a little while back that I wanted to be reached out to and this has been God's way of showing me the surprising friends that will 'rise out of the woodwork' when needed, so to speak, and it's comforting. Thanks to all who've been around thus far - it's not gone unnoticed!
Back to the main point, all of this highlights so well the verse in Corinthians 12:9, "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me,". And, more specifically in Philippians, "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith - that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death," (3:8-10). Anything that happens in this life can never measure up to what Christ has already done for us. Rejoice in any opportunity to suffer with Him and pray that we all would welcome it when the time comes.


Elizabeth said...

Very thoughtful post. I have always loved the verse that says "My grace is sufficient for you". So often, I have to remind myself to lean on God and not to try to God's will in my own strength.

Elizabeth said...

Great post. I've always loved the verse, "My grace is sufficient for you." So often, I have to remind myself to rely on God and not to try to do his will in my own strength.

Calla Lilly said...

Thank you! I will be sure to pass along your kind words to our daughter :)