Sunday, November 1, 2009


Just outside the window where I sit to write, there is a spider's web stretching from one corner of the frame to the other.  Last night was windy and most of the ancient pecan trees around the house lost their leaves.  As they fell, some of the leaves stuck in the silvery strands of the web.  I sit here this afternoon, watching them shake back and forth in the breeze, looking like they're caught, suspended in mid-air.  They are yellow leaves, and the last few rays of sun glint off of them as they toss about.

The seasons are changing and so am I.  The way I look at things; the way I handle stress and disappointment, betrayal, anxiety, and change.   But the more I understand my purpose here on earth, the less any of it matters.  I'm here for God's glory.  When faced with the tumult, I have merely to ask, "Does this glorify my Savior?"  And if not, it is excess.  It is His to contend with for me.  I give it to Him, gladly.

God's glory is what I exist for -- what I was created for.  So, in the eternal sense, nothing that happens really matters except that He receives what He justly deserves.  Death and separation and bottomless hurt can happen (in fact, it does -- every day), but as Elisabeth Elliot says, "We can pray with perfect confidence, 'Deliver us from evil,' knowing that He may hurt us, but He will never harm us."  Because what is intended by Satan for harm, God uses for good -- for His glory.

His glory.  Us.  So feeble, so ill-equipped to do what we ought, but asked to try anyway.  It is my highest calling to be a disciple of Christ -- an instrument to bring Him glory.  In this season of my life, it's the only thing that isn't absolutely meaningless to me.  I want to walk worthy of being called His daughter.

Two nights ago, I staffed the Compassion International table at a Michael W. Smith concert and as I worked, I met a man who shared his testimony with me.  After only a few minutes of conversation, I asked him how he became involved with Compassion's ministry.  He explained that he'd been in two accidents within the last several years -- both resulting in severe, traumatic injury: brain injury, a shattered hip, leg and foot, third-degree burns -- he said that just a few months ago, he wasn't even expected to live after a failed bungee jump.

"How about the first accident?" I asked, wondering what all of this really had to do with Compassion.

"I hate when people ask about that one," he said.  "I hate to make people cry."

I didn't know what to say, so I waited.

He watched the ground as he continued.  "I was driving home one day -- my three kids were in the car and I guess I was tired -- I'm not sure how it happened.  I just nodded off and.... My nine-year-old and my eleven-year-old were killed in that accident.  This arm [he held out his left arm that was horribly scarred and disfigured] was burned down to the bone.  For the second time, I suffered severe brain injury and was in the ICU for months.  Now, I have one child -- my daughter -- left.  I began sponsoring two Compassion children in honor of the two I lost.  Now, I sponsor six."

He was right.  I cried.

The Lord is our Shepherd.  We can trust where He leads us.  While often, we do not understand His ways, we understand that He is perfect and He does all things well.

When His green pastures look more like whitewashed hospital halls, an empty crib, an untouched pillow on the other side of the bed -- a terminal diagnosis, or the prospect of a future without the one you truly love, He is there.  With His rod and His staff, He comforts us -- He prepares a table before us -- even in the presence of those who would seek to destroy us. 

Deliver us from evil.  We pray this with confidence, knowing that through our God -- our Savior, Father, and friend -- we can do valiantly. 

And we will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.


LJ said...

Very wise and insightful. This is a good reminder of a truth that we know in our heads, but are continually learning anew, as we go through different experiences in our lives. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Good thoughts. Thanks for the post.

Andrew said...

Awe, jenn, this is a great post! ur a deepthinker, but i get it!

Randy said...

Nothing wrong with deep thinkers! Every genration needs a few, Andrew. Ha!