We sat in the Connections class this past Sunday evening, listening to one of the men of the church tell his story. He told of growing up in church and in various church schools, coming to Christ at an early age. I sat, fixed upon him as he talked. His story was uncannily similar to my own.
I leaned forward in my chair. He told of being the first born in his family and his natural bent toward following the rules. And with every statement, I related. It was the same life I’d led, even up to the same college.
He then told of the tragedy that happened in his early 20’s. His wife left and there was brokenness, a divorce. He said that he couldn’t figure out what happened because
he’d done everything right and bad things don’t happen when you do things right.
He said that he’d thought of God as a “cosmic pez dispenser” – you put the good works in and the blessings come out. He said that this tragedy didn’t fit into that box.
But, he said God had changed his thinking.
The more he spoke, the more I realized that I’d been thinking the same way. Completely different situation, but the same horribly skewed thought process.
You see, I’ve complained and grumbled about our home for years. Not always verbally, but God knows my heart.
And, finally one day the discontent in my heart spilled out of my mouth and sounded like this:
Why! Why do we live in such a tiny house that needs so much work and you’ve yet to make a way to move!? Why when I’ve done everything RIGHT? I go to church, I stay home with my kids, we home-school, I had children instead of pursuing a career – ALL THE RIGHT THINGS.
Instead of being thankful for the amazing work in our life (salvation, anyone?) I’d been focusing on my works and my reward.
My Works….my works are nothing in light of the Cross. My works are nothing but ash. They’re ash because it is Christ and His work alone that has redeemed my soul.
I’m still thinking through all this. I wish that I could say that my thinking has miraculously changed. But I know that a sin pattern that has taken years to establish is not just going to go away over night.
Thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient for me and His strength is made perfect in weakness.
So, I pray for grace and for His name to be glorified through my feebleness.