A friend once told me, “Worry about tomorrow saps my strength for today”. That truth has hummed in my heart ever since. And, not only does worry steal my strength; worry over tomorrow causes me to miss the gifts He has for me today. The truth is that in the gospel, in Christ, there are thousands of gifts waiting to be seen – gifts always pointing to and drawing us to the ultimate gift – God Himself. He promises to be enough, completely sufficient. And because He is enough, He gives me grace for today, not tomorrow. If He gave me grace for tomorrow ahead of time, I wouldn’t need or depend on Him. Today, I have to trust He will provide it tomorrow. Today, I have to see what He has for me in this moment. This mundane moment. This overwhelming moment. The truth is, the grace He gives for today is enough. I have to trust the grace He will give for tomorrow and for 57 years from now will be enough as well.
The thought “manna” rings in my mind.
Manna for today. In the desert, when the Israelite’s tried to hold onto the manna that God had provided for that one particular day, it rotted. It caused unneeded problems. It was a gift needing to be received by hands that were open, not grasping and clenching the gift, asking it to provide life for tomorrows needs.
People always ask me “what was the hardest transition? 2 to 3 kids? 3 to 4 kids?” My answer is always the same. It is a resounding – ZERO to ONE! It was the first time I ever had to die to myself – like, really and truly. I think while it is a good question, behind the question the root is probably something along the lines of, “will I have enough grace or strength or time or love to give to the next kid?”
And the answer is No. You don’t. I don’t
But I have within me, literally INSIDE of me, the ONE who does! And He gives me grace for what He gives me – and not a moment before. Although, sometimes ,I will admit, it doesn’t feel like I have the grace needed for the hard conversation, the mourning over a loss, the embarrassing temper tantrum, the mystery of the unknown, or the feelings of inadequacy for what I’m called to do. That’s the moment when I have to speak loud and clear to myself instead of passively listening. Because contrary to the Disney princess mantra, the heart is actually deceitful above all things and it should not be followed, but led. (ok, heart rant over and back to HIM giving me grace for what He gives me!)
Richard Sibbes reminds me that, “God knows we have nothing of ourselves, therefore in the covenant of grace he requires no more than he gives, but gives what he requires, and accepts what he gives.” (The Bruised Reed)
Amen. And I’ll leave you with that beautiful truth friends.
It’s been exactly one year now since we found out I that I have multiple sclerosis. (you can read more here) It doesn’t feel like it can be a year. I’ve mourned, cried, questioned, feared, and sat in a pit of despair. I’ve willfully trusted, looked to Jesus as my rescuer and hero, and worshipped in the midst of it. I realize it’s only been year, and there is far more to come, but I want to remember this: there’s far more that I get from MS than MS can take from me.
And so, as I reflect I can truthfully, although painfully, say: I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t change God’s plan for my life. Of course, I would never choose this for myself, which is exactly why I would never choose Jesus for myself! My flesh wouldn’t pick this. Any yet, my Spirit is resolved to God’s will and plan; even though that’s scary to actually write the words, “there’s far more that I get from MS than MS can take from me”. However, I am getting to taste and see that the Lord is good. I get to see Him in control. I get to see Him loving me. I get to see Him using me. I get to trade in my self protective “running and hiding” tendencies for looking at the new adventure straight in the face and seeing sorrow that is a servant to my joy.
I wouldn’t trade the scales of the eyes of my heart falling off to see His abundance, His power and His goodness. I’ve been awakened to pain, suffering, and questions. But, MORE than that, I’ve been awakened to God’s Word in new ways – it is alive, sweet and nourishing. Jesus – His Word – sustains my life. Knowing God’s character – His holiness, limitlessness, might, power, sovereignty and love – makes the questions okay, because I get to know and to see Him more fully.
What joy it is to say along with L.B. Cowman, “He has chosen me. Sickness you may intrude into my life, but I have a cure standing ready – God has chosen me. Whatever occurs in the valley of tears, I know He has chosen me.” (Streams in the Desert). I look back and see where Ryan wrote in my bible when we were at the hospital, “our theology must become our doxology”. And I see how much that has changed everything. If I didn’t believe God was completely sovereign over everything – from salvation to interruptions, to multiple sclerosis – I wouldn’t have been able to trust Him this way, because if He’s not sovereign over this, working all things for my good and His glory, then that makes him a little like me. And, I know that I need Him to be absolutely different from me – perfectly Holy, limitless, mysterious, powerful and good beyond imagining.
I want to experience this adventure in its entirety. I’m reminding myself as I write this, that this IS an adventure. What an adventure it is. I’ll close with what Russ Ramsey says: “I do not want simply to endure my affliction. I want to experience it – to receive it as an adventure and follow it to its end. Knowing that I come to this season having seen the world only through the eyes of the well, I ask God to help me see whatever this struggle might reveal.” (Struck) Amen, brother. Amen.