Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Limping into 2018

"Relax in my healing presence."

That was the opening line in my daily devotional this morning. That had double meaning for me today.

I need physical healing after coming down over the weekend with bronchitis complicated by acute asthma. Not much sleep, sore stomach muscles from excessive coughing, and just the sheer exhaustion of trying to breathe have me yearning for the healing touch of God.

But even more than that, I yearn for emotional healing. I'll be frank, 2017 kicked my butt. It's a year I'm happy to see in my rear view mirror. Unlike those who joyfully jumped into 2018 with great anticipation, I sorta limped in, worn and battered by the events of this past year -- both on the world and national stage, and personally.

I'm not even going to try and fake enthusiasm. I'm just going to be honest and tell you I'm hurting but daring to hope God will use the mess of 2017 for His glory.

We enter 2018 with so much uncertainty, and I know that's true for everyone, but it feels like there's nothing solid beneath my feet except the promise that He knows the plans He has for me (Jeremiah 29:11).

I'm appalled at the attitude many believers have taken toward those who are fleeing war torn homelands, toward those who grew up here but are somehow "less than" because of their ancestry, toward those who are in need of protection from predators... The list goes on. Where is the love that is supposed to mark us as different from the rest of the world? Why are we not bending grace as lavishly as He gave it to us? Too many Christians are choosing to ignore large portions of Scripture that clearly show us how to treat those around us, including the most basic command after loving God: "Love your neighbor as yourself."  (Mark 12:31)

I hope to share some stories over the coming year that bring into focus the fact that "those people" are individuals just like us.

During Advent we were asked to share and light the fourth candle: the love candle. Personally, we are asking God to show us what love is, and what does it look like? It's something we're grappling with in a difficult situation. We can say with certainty that comfortable, convenient and simple are not words that have surfaced. We doubt that Love was any of these for God in human form, yet He, being God, loved perfectly.

What we do know is that what love is, and what it should look like, don't always go hand in hand. We are severely crippled by self in the loving department. It's an ongoing exercise to be more like Him, to love like Him, and have the attitude towards others that He has. Showing grace doesn't come naturally, but throughout this situation God has constantly reminded us that He's the one who changes people; what He's asking of us is to be faithful, to be obedient in loving like He loves. Each moment has to be informed by His Spirit and His Word because on our own we're incapable of showing true love.

My prayer is that 2018 will be a year marked by love and grace, shown abundantly by His people to those who need it most. 


Betty W said...

Wishing you healing inside and out! And a meaningful, blessed new year!

The Bug said...

Amen & amen!!!!

Mari said...

That's a wonderful, calming phrase - "relax in my healing presence" Sounds like it's just what you need right now, and honestly - I think we all do!