(NOTE: Vicki wrote this around Christmas 2012, and it’s such a wonderful glimpse of God’s loving faithfulness to us that we’re posting it now. May it bless you as much as it has all of us!)
Being at the hospital with my Dad every day – seeing so many people with broken bodies, struggling to regain movement – this was a very different “Christmas” environment.
I’m not sure what the Lord is revealing but I have been “stuck” and “struck” with the “GIFT” that Christ is. The gift of righteousness, the gift of grace, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of God is eternal life and so forth. It is somehow knitting in my heart John 15 and II Thess. 3:5, “May The Lord direct your hearts into [realizing and showing] the love of God and into the steadfastness and patience of Christ and waiting for His return.”
When Dad fell, somehow I accepted it, praised God and determined to trust Him. I begged Him to reveal Himself and let me love Him for it. The days became a blur of questions and unending information: “What does it mean that he ‘burst’ a disc in his spine?” “He could be paralyzed?” “Surgery needed – now?” “Physical rehabilitation – how long?” “Where?” “Who cares for him?” My prayer each day was a profound, “You have to do this, I can’t.”
I have worked, tried and struggled to “abide” in Him, knowing it was my only place of life and sanity. It’s mysterious and wonderful how the Lord prepares us for the practical workings and expressions of Himself long before we encounter the circumstance. Over the last couple of days, the Holy Spirit has led me back over the loving and careful preparation for the reality in which I find myself and the promise of His sufficiency in and through it all.
In a conversation with Martha, she told me “abiding is a gift.” Oh how that pierced my heart! I couldn’t escape it. Looking back through my journal and much to my amazement, I found this entry from two months ago:
I am a child in Your Kingdom
You start from the beginning
All over again
Everything is received
It was from there that I decided to look for His “gifts” and was led to II Thess. 3:5 and my prayer for the Lord to fulfill that in me. Desperately, I want to “realize and show” His love but how I was unprepared for His result. There has been much thanksgiving for the gifts of orchestration of all Dad’s treatment – the amazing surgeon, wonderful doctors, caring nurses, encouraging therapists, and patient technicians. Through these weeks, I have praised and thanked Him for meeting my heart’s cry through this blog as I partook of Martha’s Reckoning Yourself Dead, John’s Trying to Abide, Carole’s No Other Foundation, and Jennifer’s A Debtor’s Love. Each was a gift, meeting a desperate need with perfect comfort and peace. Each was a gift of Jesus as patience, grace, love, strength – whatever seemed to be needed at just the right time. And then, great wonder of all, the Holy Spirit led me to this in Andrew Murray’s Abide in Christ:
“On my part, abiding is nothing but the acceptance of my position,
the consent to be kept there, the surrender of faith to the strong Vine
still to hold the feeble branch.”
I don’t know that I am saying this correctly or not, but what I seemed to see is that I had accepted this situation in my life – the hospital, drives to Orlando, also taking care of my Mom with Alzheimer’s and an unknown future. I had said “yes” to this circumstance and was seeing God’s great faithfulness to carry me. But, it was so much more. This doesn’t rest on my “yes” to a life encounter but my consented surrender to the place He has chosen for me in Himself, the Vine. It is huge. My place in Him.
Jesus is the greatest Christmas gift – the “Reason for the Season.” Oh, I have agreed with it, acquiesced to it, preached it, demanded it. But this Christmas I experienced the indescribable, complete sufficiency of Him by a simple consent of faith to receive and abide in the “Gift” – my eternal resting place.
My simple, earnest plea, “You have to do this, I can’t” was answered with all the power and provision of the Great I Am!
“So don’t be afraid, little flock.
For it gives your Father great happiness
to give you the Kingdom.”
Luke 12:32 NLT