But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
Bethany Dillon’s lyrics trickle into the room and catch my attention. After. After I wrestled with myself in the unrelenting confines of Truth and Grace. I took her words in as if they had come from the very lips of God himself. And then I uttered a deep cleansing sigh–the sigh of a child who has cried out a fit and finally settled into the cradled arms of parental care.
Earlier I wrote:
I’ve taken to my bed as Jane Austen might say. Day two of a knife-stabbing sinus headache that’s trying to have the upper hand on my emotional wellbeing. The pain kept me home last night from an important fundraiser leaving me to feel like a depressed mass of predictable default. Bob attended and hosted our table of guests. That guy!
Checking my email I stumbled upon one thing that led to another that led me to Bo Sterns. She’s an author and a pastor of life groups in Bend Oregon. Her husband has ALS. I YouTubed their story and watched all I could locate. I burst out in shameful tears as I watched Steve wobble walk to the podium and spend his widow’s mite of energy on a group of youths just becoming aware of themselves in light of Himself.
Steve and Bo are faith-soaring through their gargantuan suffering ordeal, speaking words of life and faith—bringing hope. She spoke of a negativity fast. He said strength is in the spirit. I feel small, wanting so much to be that person whose brokenness boasts of His beauty, whose chief joy is to know Him, whose ardent passion is to reflect Him.
Today I’m in pajamas that are 4 sizes larger than I wish they were and I’m propped in bed fighting this sinus infection and over rumination syndrome. The head congestion and pain are nothing in comparison to the negativity I fight of feeling completely invalid.
The Bose speaker on my bedside table blasts out Micheal Gungor’s song: Beautiful Things I raise my hands, arms fully extended. I tilt back my head and gaze into heaven behind closed eyelids and though I can’t see The Throne, I know I am near. A fierce sob escapes and I let the tears flow—the lyrics become my prayer to God:
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
I sob-sing the lyrics and they become my pleading affirmation. And I beg, O LORD, don’t let it be for nothing. Don’t waste it. Please. Make it count.
Each tear drops as a testament to my try-hard’ing life. Trying hard to make things not be what they appear. Trying hard to make me something more acceptable, enjoyable, useful, valid. (That last one was for levity!) Trying to make all the suffering compose a song that will glorify Him and give others hope. And then I realize it. My hope is sketchy too. And then I wonder how can all these authors really write to us about how it’s done. About how to turn it around. About how to harness the dream…tell the story…live the life…change the world.
So I surrender. Again. To the Beautiful One, to the object of my purpose and I utter hoarsely, I’m Yours, Lord. And I offer Him my clumsy worship, allowing myself to be caught up out of myself and into HIs indescribable goodness. I wait in the surrender and wrap myself in the Sovereign.
And that is enough. And that’s all that matters. And that’s what it is to be redeemed. And that’s when all the suffering, and trying, and failing, and falling are transformed into praise. And praise is where perspective is gained.
The praise sung by a weary world that welcomes the Christ Child this Advent…the Babe that humanity swaddled; the Babe who became the Savior; the Savior that unfurled the fullness of God’s love on the shame-cross; the Sacrifice we wrapped in grave clothes, the Redeemer that God removed from the grave. And all that we comprehend of Him between the parenthesis of the swaddling cloth and grave clothes is that He came to seek and to save, to redeem and transform.
This isn’t a season for reflecting on our brokenness, our not-enoughness, our fails, our lost dreams. It is a season for pondering the breathless awe of His coming; the Giver who became the Gift–the Divine who bridged division. Wait with me in hushed wonder of all that He’s done for us. And then, can we just sit in the quiet of His Majesty?
Worthy is the Lord.