Tuesday, October 16, 2007

After nearly a week, something as commonplace as a hot shower has become a sacred gift from above. It felt so good to finally feel the warm, wet water pouring over my head and back and shoulders, washing dirt and grime from my body.

Be assured, there was plenty of dirt and grime. We worked in the garage again yesterday, trying to put the last few organizing touches on it. We’d like to get all three cars in there eventually, and put the cycle and bikes in the barn, which is another project yet. Mom wanted her chest freezer to find a cozy resting spot in the garage corner we’d planned for the tools, so I attacked the doorless shed with a vengeance, hoping to render it somehow useful. I squelched through inches of icky grease and leaves to haul out an old TV, bags of cement (which proved handy for mopping up the grease), empty oil cans, aerosol cans, trash bags and a stash of somebody’s winter pecans. Mom’s face when she saw the transformation, and her “Wow…oh wow!” were the best reward ever. Now we’ll have a tool shed to keep the tools, wheelbarrow, and maybe even some lawnmowers. Somehow we’ll have to rig up some doors, but after making that place look good, I think anything is possible.

Emily and Lindsey came looking for some “family time” today and shared our cabbage pie and dishes duties with us. Em and I cuddled onto the couch and sang the night away while Lindsey had an appointment with Papa to ask the questions she was rather rudely prevented from asking Sunday.

After a bout of silliness, which ended only when Emily and I each captured our stupidity and stowed it safely away in our pockets, we began to talk about people that frustrate us. How do we react to difficult people when we really just want to walk away and never see them again? We talked about how the Lord never asks us to like them—but to love them as Him. And it’s not for their sake, or because they deserve it, but because the Lord asks it and He is worthy of our obedience. It’s all for His glory. Only for His sake and to please Him could I continue. We wound up by some great prayer time—asking that the Lord would work in these friend’s lives to conform them to His image, and that He would enable us to be good examples of those who bear the fruit of the Spirit. It’s so hard. We need to be tough on them, so that they can be pruned and grow, but we’ve got to do it in a way that’s loving and patient. I wish I could see how the Lord relates to them in every day circumstances.

This morning, during our family Bible time, we studies Mark five, and Papa brought out some fascinating points in the story of the demoniac. There are three entreaties in that story, and Jesus’ reactions to each are very enlightening. The first is the demons, begging not to be sent away, but to be allowed to enter the pigs, and Jesus gives them permission. The second is the local folks, pleading with Jesus to leave their region and Jesus gives them what they want. But when the healed man asks to follow Jesus, Jesus tells him “no”. Instead, He gives this gentile what is best for him—go tell everyone about Jesus. It wasn’t what the man asked for at all, but it’s what would bring the Lord the most glory. And the man’s reaction? He cheerfully obeyed and told everyone in the region! I realized that Jesus won, through this man’s obedience to a disappointment: In a way Jesus didn’t have to leave the region after all, since He was proclaimed throughout it! And the demons who didn’t want Jesus to invade their territory were driven out wherever He was preached and accepted. What a great lesson for me, when the Lord tells me “no” and gives me a different responsibility, to cheerfully obey that He might be even more greatly glorified.

Lord, I come to plead my case.

Thou gazest gently in my face.

There’s nothing wrong with my request

Except it’s not Thy chosen best.

When Thou proposes counterplans,

Confused, I try to understand.

Instead I should embrace my task

And do whatever Thou dost ask.

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