Last night, I found a darkened room and threw myself on the couch, and for a moment, thought about all the legitimate things that were difficult at the moment. It was pity party time. Time to wallow in my difficulties and discontent. Time to welcome the tears and relish the misery. That will make me feel better about life, won’t it?
As we all know, it’s unlikely.
It didn’t do much for Jonah, as he sat under that scanty tree, that the Lord had given as shade the day before, wallowing. Pity is never God’s preferred path for us.
Elizabeth Elliot once wrote, “to love God is to love his will. That which He gives we receive… God shields us from most of the things we fear, but when he chooses not to shield us, he unfailingly allots grace in measure needed. It is for us to choose to receive or refuse it. Our joy or misery will depend on that choice” (Secure in the Everlasting Arms, 19).
After all, she would know.
Do we get to handpick that which God gives? Sunshine is my favorite, Lord. Can you make the storm clouds go away? As if we were selecting our favorite foods? Yes, please, I’ll take the chocolate cake. No, no thank you on the snap peas. I’ve never liked those.
Rather, we acknowledge that every thing, good or difficult, that the Lord brings into our lives serves a purpose. Both the sunshine and the storm clouds. Both the chocolate cake and the snap peas.
When he chooses not to shield us, when he brings storm clouds and offers snap peas, he allots grace in measure needed. Have you experienced this? I can look back over the darkest moments of my life, and see his grace, unfailing. I think of the most difficult seasons, and recall his grace, boundless. He always offers grace; we just need to pry open our tightly clenched fists to receive it.
To receive the storm clouds and snap peas, and the grace along with it.
To trust that he has got this.
To trust that he knows what’s best for us, because he is our good Father.
To speak our fears to him, sometimes aloud, because there is so much peace in giving them over to him.
To give them over to him again, the next night, as we lie in bed, trembling in our thoughts.
To accept the hard things along with the good things, the happy days alongside the sad ones, the life along with the death.
And, we get up off the couch, tears falling as they may, and press on in the day. Not because the darkness or sadness has left us, but because his grace has been given to us.
And that’s always enough.
originally published on October 18, 2018