(Well, I've just returned home from California, and I'm a mixed bag of thoughts and emotions. . .and just a little bit exhausted. I spent about a week with my brothers and their families bidding farewell to my mother, and another week caring for my ailing dad. Perhaps the theme of my time might have been, "love in trauma." But that sounds too much like a country song. In any case, I'll be writing about it right here next week, as well as in the next LifeNote.
Until then, I'll be joining my three girls for several days of camping in the nearby Rockies. Frankly, I hope to catch my breath and stretch a little, and I can't think of many places I'd rather do that. Thanks for your love and care. -Ralph)
Recently I was thanking God for putting up with me, for forgiving me, for loving me, and for working with me in a tumultuous and difficult time. I was amazed with God and I said, "Thank you, Father," over and over again. When once I paused, this is what He said to me: "Thank you." What? Thank me? I asked. "Yes. Thank you for enduring. You believe, and it shows."
It was so good to hear. Has He ever conveyed anything like that to you?
He knows how difficult it all is, He knows the struggles you and I face and sometimes flounder in, He knows the awful thoughts and desires that plague us, sometimes bringing us under their control - He knows! And He loves us and never condemns us. In the midst of everything, He knows who we actually are - the ones born a second time, holy and blameless, perfect in righteousness, secure in Christ—so He knows how to handle us. And He knows how torturous life sometimes is. We're not at all of this world, and because we're not, He knows that we live these days in a torture chamber. That we approach Him during or after such awful stuff is a great sign to Him—we believe He's approachable! We believe He is Shepherd and not Dictator, Healer and not Breaker.
And He's thankful we endure, look to Him, get up again and go on.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Heb 4:15-16 NIV)
Amongst ten million incredible things about God, His grace for us means that there is never a moment of condemnation from Him. God's grace never creates doubt or debt—His grace rescues and restores. That's how it is because that's how He is. And He's thankful that we believe Him.
We're better off than we think.