Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Am Not Skilled to Understand

He walked into the waiting room today, cane in hand, eye patch in place.

Reading this, you would think I'm speaking of an elderly gentleman? But no, I'm referring to a rheumatology patient at Children's Hospital, where we went today for Beth's JRA check-up.
Seeing a teen walking with a cane reminded me of how mild Beth's JRA is, compared to so many. This disease can affect fingers, toes, elbows, ankles, knees, jaw, neck...and the eyes. Some children have pain in many areas at once and they can't even bend to tie their shoes, or hope to direct swollen fingers to manage such a task.

I smiled at him, as the mother of another JRA patient is inclined to do. All these children deserve a smile and whatever more I can offer in the small space of time I spend with them in that waiting room.
Pleasantly, he smiled back and I marveled at his heart.

As he walked out with his mother, I wondered, what do the other teens at school say about his cane? Do they love on him, or do they snicker when he walks down the desk aisles?
Does he hope to catch a girl’s eye, and did he cry out in anger when a cane became the disease’s prop?
This boy’s cane and eye patch are just one example of the breadth and depth of human suffering I've seen this week.
There are those who simply cannot find work because their skills are antiquated or because they're over fifty or because they have multiple chronic issues like diabetes and bipolar. Or in some cases because they've been on so many interviews and been rejected so many times, they can no longer find hope. Hope lives on a mysterious street and Googling the driving directions doesn’t help.

A neighbor here, a father of four, still can’t find work; it’s been four months. Their van tire blew out and the mother wrote a note and sent it with two of her children, “Do you have a spare tire we can borrow so I can get to work and my children can get to school tomorrow, or can you drive them to school and pick them up?”
This note came after we had helped Compassion children, a friend, a relative, another neighbor. There are needs everywhere and we felt overwhelmed, reading this note. Don’t we have to save some money for our own car repairs, God?  Should we help them regardless, trusting tomorrow to you?

When I feel overwhelmed by giving, wondering what is prudent and what is generosity and how the two dance in harmony, I think of the manna in the desert. God wanted the Israelites to take what they needed for the day only. You mustn’t store up, he warned.
What an amazing concept and isn’t that just like God?

Answers are the same as the manna. God doesn’t want us knowing the answers for tomorrow…only for today.
My husband called around and found a new tire to fit their Dodge Caravan,but by the time we offered to buy it and arrange for it to be put on, they had already located a tire for $40.

Turns out, God just wanted us to be willing to part with our resources. He wanted us to pray for our daily bread and give today’s extra bread to a neighbor.
I am not skilled to understand. These words are from a Christian song. The name of the song and band escape me, but every time I hear it the words echo in my mind for hours. I am not skilled to understand.

God can put canes in the hands of teenagers. God can allow a man to go months or years without a job, so that he loses hope and loses a sense of who he is as a man. God can allow OCD to be so powerful in the mind that a good student can’t remember concepts studied for days and weeks. God can allow some spouses to die and others to betray. God can allow wombs to remain empty and mother hearts to break.

And then there’s grace.

The cane-carrying teenager feels like smiling. The downtrodden man has a new identity in Christ. The OCD nursing student passes the test by one point. The womb gives birth not to a baby, but to an experience of God’s love that inspires millions. The bloodied, dead sister lying on a farm driveway in Canada (Ann Voskamp’s little sister) leads to a book about gratitude that’s slowly changing a generation of Christians.
God is slowly changing me. His promises, they’re beginning to define me. As I take in the sights and sounds of a broken, hurting world, I’m more apt to think…there goes a testimony--rather than, there goes a tragedy and how could God allow it?

I am not skilled to understand.
But my heart knows its task...Obedience.

My soul knows its purpose...Worship.

I wake up and I know how to live and I know why I live and sometimes, by his grace, I love well. And I rejoice at the wonder of this. I rejoice at the wonder of Him choosing to reveal himself to my heart.

My life is wonder-ful because of Him.

I praise you, Lord, for what you're going to show me tomorrow.




Tesha said...

Hi my friend I am just catching up n all your posts I missed. I know I tell you all the time but I am so blessed by your blog! It encourages my heart and often helps my perspective. Even though we are not talking after reading I feel like I have been with a friend that has encouraged me to be the best I can be.I have been extremely sick and not been able to be on the computer much because I am anemic and requiring a ton of sleep. However I always go back and read all of your post when I catch up because they bless me so much. Thank you for writing and encouraging!

Christine said...

I am so sorry to hear about the anemia. Are you having morning sickness, too? Our family is praying, dear Tesha. And thank you for your encouragement :) I appreciate, always, the time you take to kindly comment.

Vicki said...

And then there was GRACE.......