Wednesday, May 29, 2013

GLIMPSES OF GOD'S GRACE

"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, 
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'"
(2 Corinthians 12:9a)

That verse has been so hard for me to come to terms with.  I want to feel strong and in control, but lately I've been feeling anything but, and it took a recent battle with chronic fatigue to show me the true condition of my faith (or rather, lack if it) when faced with situations I cannot change.

My blood work showed an extremely high count of Epstein Barre antibodies, hence the fatigue.  I was told there was nothing that could be done for it, and if I was patient and got enough rest, I would feel better in a few months.  Well, patience is not my forte.  I wanted immediate relief.

I prayed for healing, and was prayed over, and when I didn't get the instant results I wanted, instead of trusting the Lord to heal me in His way and in His time, I tried to help Him out by taking things into my own hands.  Get a second opinion, switch my supplements, change my diet.  Anything other than just rest and trust.

Finally, after exhausting all the options I could think of, and then some, and none of them having brought about the expected change, I finally admitted my powerlessness and became ready to surrender and yield to God's better plan.  

Once I gave up the struggle, I began to see glimpses of God's grace that I could never have seen when I didn't feel the need to depend on Him to help me through my day.  I learned the meaning of the Apostle Paul's statement, "When I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor.12:10b)

Whereas many of my feel good days were wasted because of my tendency to procrastinate and put things off until they pile up and overwhelm me, some of my most productive days have been days when I've felt so weak I had to draw on the strength of the Lord to carry me through them.

There was one day, in particular, when all I wanted to do was stay in bed, but the Lord gave me the strength to get up and go into town to run some errands.  On the way home, I stopped for gas, and His grace surrounded both me and my vehicle when brain fog caused me to forget to put the cap back on the fuel tank, and then several blocks down the road glanced in my rear view mirror and noticed the tank door was ajar.  I could almost feel Him smiling down on me when I pulled over, exited the car, and saw the cap still perched precariously on the hood right where I had placed it.

When I got home I would have liked nothing better than to lie down, but there were two huge pots of bone broth that had been cooling, and that needed to be taken care of.  By His grace, I was able to skim the fat off, pour the soup into containers, and store some in the refrigerator and some in the freezer, which first had to be cleaned out and reorganized to make room for them.  Then He gave me the strength to clean up a huge spill that happened while I was pouring the soup, and that had trickled down the cabinet doors before landing on the floor and creating a slippery mess.

Even on the best of days, I would have stopped at that point to take a long break, but by His grace, I kept going, washed all the dishes, including the big greasy pots, made a batch of kale chips, put the indoor plants out on the balcony, did three loads of laundry, and changed my sheets.  This may not seem like much to most folks, but to me it was an amazingly monumental achievement, and I don't want to forget any of the details.

I could end this post here, but neither do I want to forget how God's grace helped me with my work, and how during this time of trial He has been teaching me to trust Him more and not be so easily influenced by the way things look or feel in the natural.  He is in control, and so much bigger than any of that.

Case in point.  I have a virtual job doing transcription, and had not had any work for several months.  It wasn't until I felt incapable of doing any work at all, that it started to come in again.  I didn't want to risk turning it away and finding myself replaced by someone younger and abler, and had a moment of panic.  I forgot all about Philippians 4:13, which assures me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and focused, instead, on what seemed to be the unfairness of it all.

Looking back, I'm ashamed of my lack of faith.  God has always been so faithful.  Why did I doubt?  What I was magnifying all out of proportion was nothing but a little glitch in His sight.      

By His grace, I was able to work despite my fears, and He even provided the necessary favor to get me switched to a project with less pressure and higher pay when my boss asked me if I would be willing to lay aside the work I had started for them, and take on a client they didn't want to bother setting up all the necessary paperwork for.  If I was willing, I could deal with the client directly and charge them full price.  I was willing, and wound up getting paid over twice the hourly rate I normally get paid by the company that put us in touch.

All went well until I got to the last interview, a three-hour group interview, and started feeling stressed by the length of it, and because I was having trouble understanding what some of the people were saying.  I just wanted it to be over, and my wish came true sooner than I expected, when by the grace of God, and to my great relief, I discovered that the interviewer had forgotten to turn the tape off during breaks, which, in turn, shaved off almost an hour of actual transcription time.

Though I'm still walking through a misty valley of fatigue, it doesn't seem  so hazy anymore.  The Lord is walking by my side, and I'm seeing more and more patches of light as the sun burns through the fog.