Thursday, December 27th,
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message by Kris Jackson
blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me" (Matthew 11:5)
The G.I. is stationed clear on the other side
of the planet during Christmas. No presents to open, no presents to give.
Loneliness sets in. The teenage girl has been grounded, no cell phone, no
e-mailing, no friends over for the night. Boredom sets in. "It's best for you
Mama. They have all kinds of games and you'll meet so many new friends", says
the eldest daughter as mother views her new room for the first time at the rest
home. "But I don't want to rest and this isn't home", she fumes, trying to deny
the weakening shell of her body. Frustration sets in. Or there is John sitting
in Herod's jail. He had been the talk of the Jordan Valley, now he sits on a
cold floor. "I don't even know what day it is. Shall I plan an escape or just
sit it out?" Confusion sets in.
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the
things I cannot change..." is my least favorite of prayers. The flesh fights
acquiescence. The leg lost in combat, the son lost in a car wreck, the family
photos lost to fire, the love torn by time or distance. Anger sets in. We may
think ourselves immune but even people who love God can resent His ways. John
had a legitimate gripe. "If Jesus can raise the dead, why can't He spring me
out of jail?" You've raised the same query. If He heals, why are my muscles
failing with M.S.? Why did I lose my retirement fund? What's up with this gall
bladder? "I have no patience and I refuse to be one of the patients!" Defiance sets in. Then the Lord whispers, "Wait on Me. I am your health, I am your
salvation". "But that's not good enough", cries the ego. So anxiety sets in. We
would rather except certain things than accept things. "I will
submit to anything except..." The fact is, we are not dead to self yet. A finger
or a toe still twinges beneath the shoveled sod.
God's ways are not our ways. That is the first
absolute learned in the school of faith. To not have to explain but to simply
trust is the definition of faith. God doesn't make sense because He lives in a
higher plain of sense. "Happy is the man that doesn't find himself antagonized
by me" (Barclay). Patience is never antagonized. If you can't be home for
Christmas, John, then think of the stars outside your cell window as being
shimmering ornaments and twinkling Christmas lights. Hope will set in. Let
visions of sugarplums dance through your head. Imagine the future without
dictating the way it turns out. And don't take the frustration out on the Lord.
"Not my will, but thine" is the only attitude that will survive a winter
whiteout or summer blackout. And when there is full acceptance, the trust that
God knows best and loves most, then you can slowly ease your grip on lesser
things. My pastor friend who lost his wife to brain cancer agreed that there
were four steps to his grief, a thick sense of aloneness, the anger that asks,
"Why us?", the breakdown of helplessness that casts everything on God then a
gradual acceptance of the way things are. John the Baptist had to come to terms
with acceptance while in Herod's jail. The Father never let Jesus pay John's
bail or even stop to visit him. Some things simply make no sense but trust we
must, even with questions swirling in our heads. "Blessed is he", you may not
see the blessedness in the trial right now, "whosoever is not offended in me".
In other words, don't argue over how He runs His business.