(Written yesterday afternoon, while working to believe.)
Carole just stopped by the office and asked me how I was. I told her that I was gearing up to throw a temper tantrum and I wasn’t exactly sure why. Maybe I didn’t want to write anything. Maybe I was just tired. I honestly didn’t know. I was just mad and ornery. Even though I was as lovable as a cornered honey badger, Carole hugged me, told me she loved me, and reminded me that there was grace for anything God required of me.
After she left, I petulantly thought, “I don’t feel any grace!” And that was true as far as it goes, but what whispered back through my mind was the question, “And who’s fault is that?” It was pretty gently said actually. I’d have thumped myself on the nose, but that’s not who He is. I remembered a simple, brilliant section of Martha’s ebooklet, Kingdom Safety, called “Everlasting Covenant.” Here it is:
“God has solved the problem of our fallen nature down to the farthest root of our being. He has made a new and permanent covenant-promise with humanity and sealed it with the blood of His Son.
“In the Old Testament, if you obeyed, then God would bless. God’s promise was conditional. It depended on humanity’s obedience. So God proved through Israel that all mankind is incapable of absolute obedience. God set out to secure the entire remedy for that hopeless state through His Beloved Son!
Hebrews 8:10b NASB
I will put my laws into their minds, And I will write them on their hearts, And I will be their God, And they shall be My people.
“In this amazing new covenant, God plants His will in your mind and heart. From within, in your thoughts and affections, His will becomes your direction, desire and motivation. And Christ will perform your obedience for you, within you. Your one work, your only requirement, is to believe that He can and He does. Even the faith you need to believe the Son, is given by the Son. All is given if we become humble enough to live receiving.
John 6:29 HCSB
This is the work of God, that you believe in the One He has sent.
“Christ will BE your actual obedience by His power and His own nature.
“When you will believe, then you can receive.”
First Believe, Then Receive
And that was my problem, right there. It’s so very easy to follow my feelings to misery or frustration, to BELIEVE that those feelings are my reality. In fact, all I have to do is be lazy and behave as if I have no agency at all. “I’m just a sad little leaf, tossed to and fro by forces beyond my ken!” If you say that the same way Vivien Leigh’s Scarlet O’Hara talked to that walking doormat Ashley, then you’ve got the spirit behind the thought just about right. My work is to believe, and as John wrote not too long ago, there’s nothing romantic about work!
This post is the result of me stepping out in the belief that God’s Grace was there waiting for me. I don’t feel triumphant yet, but the ornery petulance is fading. I had absolutely nothing to say and nothing to write, so God provided. He sent me to the Wisdom He gave Martha, and He told me to choose.
Working to Believe in God
Sometimes this life is big and intricate and shocking in its twists and turns, but mostly I find Him in moments like this one. No frills, no chills, just ordinary responsibility and run-of-the-mill temptation to laziness and blame. I think this might be my favorite post ever, because it is as miraculous as Jesus healing a leper. God has such an immense Heart, and it is my work to believe that I have a place in it—even when I’m dealing with something so small and ordinary. Maybe especially then.
Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
There is grace for us all.
Thanks Jen for this very timely word! I’m late in getting to read this blog today; but the encouragement it brings is so right on time. I’m struggling with feeling at a loss for some pastoral responsibility that is before me, but am so grateful for this reminder…that there is Grace for us ALL! Bless you!!!
(I had felt like making this comment on your post “They Loved Not Their Lives,” but I never got around to it…
But I think it fits here too, or basically on any of your posts really…
I have have never met you in person but here, on this blog.
Through your writtings you have revealed glimpses of your heart though, and in a way, as a reader, I have “seen” you…
Jennifer, you are wearing the most beautiful robes of humility…
I so agree with Sam, “YOU are one unique person because of HIM”. My favorite is: God has such an immense Heart, and it’s my work to believe I have a place in it-even when I’m dealing ………..
Thank you and may God bless your dealing, for its benefits us all!!!!!
Amen, amen. My ornery pride should be no rival to His amazing grace. I laughed with this your post, and your “walking doormat Ashley”. Hehehe… that’s a good one.
You are one unique person because of Him.