Monday, March 3, 2008

Every day He outdoes Himself. I can’t even imagine what tomorrow might hold.

When I sat down to write, it seemed as if it had been a rough day—nearly heartbreaking. Overwhelmed with to-dos and a noisy household, I found myself abbreviating my time with the Lord. Then I dove right into all the hard e-mails I’d needed to write for the last several weeks. Tough love, some call it. Isn’t all love tough? I’d barely finished when the mail produced a wedding invitation—from a friend to whom I’d already written explaining why I couldn’t support her marriage. I staggered, recoiling from this slap in the face. Then the Lord began to lift me back up, starting with a phone call to Amber, who proved very encouraging.

I’d just begun to reminisce on the day when Lydia emerged from the shower, steamed and cleaned and I looked up. “Don’t look at me like that,” she giggled. “It feels like you can look right through me.” Playing back, I began to explain how I could see through her to the wall beyond. “I meant that sometimes I think you can see right into my heart,” she said, softly.

Silence. “What is in there that I might see?”

“A lot of things.”

“Good or bad?.”

She turned her face away from me. “Some of both.”

“Is Jesus in there?” I asked, the Lord reminding me how I’d been wanting to talk to her for a while, to probe her spiritually.

She hesitated. “Um, yes.” Then she sat down at the foot of the bed. I began to question her about the gospel, salvation and herself. Jesus died on a cross for her sins, she told me. “Because I am wicked and unworthy.” How did that help her? It should have been her, she affirmed. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,” she quoted the verse, with a little prompting and John three sixteen followed. Then we both grew quiet.

“Go over to her,” the Holy Spirit whispered to my spirit, and for one of the few times in my entire life of mistakes, I obeyed. I slithered down onto the floor beside her and wrapped my arm around her shoulders. Immediately she buried her head in my lap. Amid muffled sobs she whispered, “Abigail, I don’t think I’m saved, but I don’t know how to be. I’ve been wanting to ask you about this for a long time, but I was too afraid.”

How do you tell your precious little sister how to believe?

Slowly, feeling lost and dazed, I went back over the gospel with her. She was broken over her sinfulness—I didn’t even need to convict. “I’ve done so many bad things,” she admitted, easily.

“The Bible says you must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died in your place so you could be with Him forever. Is that something you want to do?”

Still hiding in my lap, she answered “yes.”

Where could I go from there? She held the key. She stood before the gate. Helplessly, I began to pray that the Lord would open her heart. I poured out to Him how she was standing at His gate, pleading admittance. “Please reach down Your hand and open the way to her.” I only remember those words, because when I finished, she lifted her head and whispered, “When you said those words, ‘Reach down Your hand and open the way,’ He did. I know He did it.”

We sat still again for a while. “Do you want to thank Him?” I prompted and she nodded her head. What made her seem so small and fragile, helpless and weak?

Then she began to pray. “Dear Lord, thank You for being good. Thank You for sending Jesus to die. Thank you for all the people You’ve saved—especially me. I love you.” She looked up at me through her tears. “Why are you crying?”

I snorted. “Because I’m happy.”

We sat quietly for a while before she asked, all in a rush. “What should I read?”

Eleven years she’s lived in a home, inundated by the Word, but suddenly she wants to know it herself. I could read hunger in her eyes as I answered, “John. About Jesus. Want me to read it with you?”

“Please,” she answered. “I started reading it the other day and am a couple of chapters in. But I’d like to start over.”

So we made a date. Eight fifteen every night, we’ll read together and she can ask all the questions she wants. She’s full of them. Eight fifteen because she said, “I want it in my head so I can sleep over it all night.” All evening her hands were shaking and she seemed nervous until we vanished into our room to read and pray. So fragile. Trembling. Eager. Like a newborn baby.

Once upon a time, when I was younger than she is now, I prayed for a baby sister, and the Lord heard my prayer and was pleased to answer—far above all that I could ask or think.

Lord, I come before Thy altar,
Words, aloud and thought, both falter.
Once I asked, and Thou once gave,
Now I begged that Thou wouldst save.

And Lord, I trust Thou wilt complete.
I linger at Thy mercy seat,
To offer worship, prayer and praise
To Thee, Thou Ancient One of Days.


Jason Plett said...

Another great piece Scribbler. Anyway I promised a response to our earlier discussion. After giving this a couple days thought. I really enjoyed your post about not praying in the streets for everyone to see, words to that effect. I understand that message, and readily admit that I have a real problem with "church" which I classify a bit differently than Christianity. I am envious of people like yourself, who have that faith. I really believe that what you write is not the least bit pretentious. That being said, I can assure you that I have indeed lost my faith, and I don't know if I can recover it. I cannot share with Internet, or you personally for that matter the reasons I lost that faith. I will continue to read your blog and enjoy the wonderful message that you share, and share it with friends. Thank you for your concern "Scribbler", whenever I say that word I pronounce it "Scribblaaaa" A friend of mine in Colorado is studying Journalism, in fact he is almost finished with school. He recently choose to apply to the police academy. He was rejected based on his written examination, he failed the grammar portion. When he mentioned it to his father, he replied "don't you fancy yourself a scribbler?"

Caleb N. said...

Wow! That's amazing! Thanks for sharing it!