My birthday was the day after my last post, Clay Pots, where I talked about sinking into the arms of the Lord when I was overwhelmed. I awoke with my hand hurting constantly and the rest of my body not that much happier.
As wishes came in for a wonderful day, I felt stressed, trying hard to enjoy “my day” as I was supposed to, and never getting very far from miserable. The only sinking I did was into gloom.
When my hubby called on his way home from work to ask where I’d like to go for dinner, I couldn’t decide, didn’t feel good enough to get dressed and go out, didn’t feel good enough to cook (and I shouldn’t have to cook on “my day” anyway) . . . I ended with, “Just come home and give me a hug, and we’ll decide then.”
What I wanted was a hug to make my hand start healing, or at least stop hurting for a while, and my immune system to get the message and heal the rest of me, for the day to brighten, for me to fell whole, happy and loved. But, since I’m not married to Jesus, hubby’s hug couldn’t accomplish anything close to that. So my funk deepened.
We ended up settling on having him grill burgers. I thawed a gluten free bun and tossed a couple of salads, mumbling about how much longer it would be, at the rate my hand was going, before I wouldn’t be able to even peel a cucumber.
By the time my cousin, whom I had not talked with in months, called, I was ready to hit the next person who wished me a happy birthday. Lucky for her, she was on the phone from Maryland. To move from the birthday stuff, I asked about her family. She told me what her husband had gone through all summer, with surgery and one horrible complication after another.
You know how it is when you’re trying to figure out your route further ahead on the GPS, and you finally remember to zoom out? Instantly, you’ve got the picture, and know where you’re going.
Perspective hit me like that. Pure grace.
I say grace, because, until afterward, I didn’t consider what he and many others have suffered that is so much worse that my situation, and decide to change my attitude.
The pity party scales simply fell away.
Something inside me was changed, and I use the passive voice purposefully, because I didn’t do it.
By the time we said goodbye I was truly receiving their birthday wishes.
My whine had turned into rich wine.
Jesus had done it again.
In case you don’t know the story, in Galilee where Jesus grew up, a wedding was a week-long event for the simple, hard-working people. When they ran out of wine halfway through, the host faced major loss of face (embarrassment). At Mary’s request, Jesus told the servants to fill the huge jars, for ceremonial washing, with water. When they poured out a sample, it was fine wine!
That is what this life with Jesus is. It’s not a religion, trying to figure out how to do it right. It’s not about the “oughts”, or shoulda’, woulda’, coulda’. It’s not about guilt, and being good enough.
It’s about a relationship with someone who loves us so much that he was willing to walk this earth in dusty sandals, who knows our weaknesses, each one of us, and is more than ready and able to transform the whine in us to fine wine.
We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this. Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—What God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. 1 Corinthians 2: 6-10 The Message
Even though I wasn’t reading my own posts, I was being led to just that place of release and trust.