Wednesday, October 14, 2015

On being fine, but searching for purpose

So... I'm sick.  Ferocious sore throat, low grade fever, the beginnings of congestion, aches and pains.  Also I can sing bass this morning!  I just checked: I can hit the second F# below middle C!

I will not be going to work today.  I will be napping and drinking tea.

Shawn is in Boston.  He is sick too.  He may be the source of my illness, although he was hardly home long enough between Boston and Denver to share any germs.  Everyone else around here is sick too, so it could be from anywhere.

I woke up after a miserable night and thought how happy I was not to have parenting responsibilities today, and it put me in mind of a lovely memory.  Once back in New York, I woke up sick when Shawn was out of town, and it was piano lesson day.  I was overwhelmingly sick, and I realized there was no way I was going to be able to get my kids to piano lessons, so I called our piano teacher to let her know, and to apologize.

Somehow I got my kids off to school.

A couple of hours later, I was lying in bed in a disgusting mess of unshowered, virus-tainted filthiness, wrinkled pajamas and stringy hair, when the doorbell rang.  I quailed and tried to hide myself in a scruffy robe.

It was our piano teacher with a large container of homemade chicken soup.

I was, of course, mortified that she should see me in such a condition, but in retrospect I comforted myself with the thought that at least she knew I wasn't just making up excuses about being too sick to go out.

Our precious piano teacher bustled right into my kitchen and put the food away (there was more than soup, but the delicious soup is the part I remember vividly), waving away my apologies and explaining, "You sounded so absolutely miserably pitiful on the phone, I had to do something for you!"

That was a grace.  To this day, I tear up when I think of it.  Such a memory, and the kids were thrilled to eat their piano teacher's soup for dinner as well.  Such a memory.  Such a grace.

I have cans of gluten free chicken rice soup in my pantry now, stocked up for just such a time as this.  I have no chauffeuring duties.  I am fine.

The Lord has been near lately.  I'm hearing His voice.  Above all else, the sound of His voice is the difference between being fine and not being fine.

I've been reading The Grand Weaver, by Ravi Zacharias.  It is a tremendous comfort to me.  I'm in a chapter about how our wills work in synergy with God's design for our lives.  One thing that I read yesterday stood out to me:  "The bane of our lives is getting sidetracked into secondary pursuits. . . [E]ach of us must deliberately choose whom we will serve.  So write down your purpose.  Place it in a prominent spot so that you will continually be reminded of that purpose."

I prayed right then and there, "Lord, what is my purpose?"  And I got up this morning anxious to search the scriptures and find what my purpose is.

There are general purposes, true for all of us: we should love God, glorify Him and enjoy Him.  We should love our neighbors as ourselves.  We should be salt and light to a lost world.

However, within those parameters, is there a specific calling that the Lord has for me?

These are the verses that the Lord lead me to this morning:

Verse #1--

Psalm 145:14-16 (ESV) 
The Lord upholds all who are falling
     and raises all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to You,
     and You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand;
     You satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Is it reasonable to say that my purpose is to look to God and find my provision and satisfaction in Him?  Could that be a purpose?

That same passage goes on to say that the Lord is kind in all His works, and near to all who call on Him.  Again, this doesn't seem to define my purpose, but it certainly is a comfort to my soul.  Could my purpose possibly be that of bearing testimony about the comfort of the Lord?  (That seems too much to hope for on one hand, and terrifying in its possible implications on the other.)

[Addendum:  After I had finished writing this post, God took me through a circuitous Bible study path culminating at 2 Corinthians 1:3-11.  How could I have forgotten?  Of course, it is the part about affliction that concerns me.]

Verse #2--

The next verse Jesus led me to was Psalm 146:8 (or thereabouts; ESV)

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.  I am in agony over someone who is spiritually blind right now, enslaved to the lies of the enemy.  The Lord is the one who opens eyes and sets prisoners free.  This is, again, a comfort.  Yet, it still seems to miss pointing out my purpose.  It isn't my purpose if God does it, right?

At BSF yesterday, our teaching leader told us: "Your battle is not with people.  Your battle is with satan."

Between her comment, and Psalm 146:8, Jesus was leading me, prodding my mind to remember...

Verse #3--

Ephesians 6:12-13 (ESV)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the cosmic powers over this present darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil
in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God,
that you may be able
to withstand in the evil day;
and having done all, to stand firm.

Ephesians 6 has never been my favorite passage.  It has always terrified me.  It sounds frightening and exhausting all at the same time.  I actively avoid reading it, even though I love the rest of Ephesians.  I don't want to fight battles.  I do not see myself as a warrior.  I want the Lord to fight for me.  I like Exodus 14:14, Psalm 20:7 and Psalm 33:16-22.

But, perhaps the Lord Almighty, who does fight for me and deliver me, is calling me to
     take up the armor of God
     withstand evil
     and stand firm.

I remember what David said to Goliath as he approached the giant on the battlefield.  David had shed the armor Saul tried to loan him, and he walked forward against the powerfully armed Philistine, wearing only his shepherd's clothes, carrying only a slingshot and five smooth stones.  I get goosebumps every time I read this (and today I do again, and it's not just because I have a low grade fever) --

Then David said to the Philistine, 
"You come to me with a sword 
and with a spear 
and with a javelin, 
but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, 
the God of the armies of Israel, 
whom you have defied.  
This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, 
and I will strike you down and cut off your head . . . 
that all the earth may know 
that there is a God in Israel, 
and that all this assembly may know 
that the Lord saves not with sword and spear.  
For the battle is the Lord's . . ."
(from 1 Samuel 17:45-47. ESV, emph. mine)

I'm not sure I'm ready to hear what God is telling me here, especially if my enemy is supernatural and invisible.  I will need to remind myself continually that Jesus has triumphed over sin and death at the cross, and the victory is certain.
I was hoping I could just end with Micah 6:8 (ESV) --

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice,
and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

I guess it's there anyway, in the "do justice" part.  I think doing justice is related to undoing the effects of evil.  The thought of doing justice really frightens me.  I think I was hoping somebody else would do the justice.

No comments: