I don’t typically think of myself as a super restless person, but it sure is hard for me to be still. Give me a Styrofoam cup and it will inevitably be shredded to pieces. Give me a pen and every scrap of paper in sight will be covered in doodles. Put me in a boot the size and weight of a small child, instruct me to spend a week with my feet up, and I will find innumerable excuses to disobey.
Ever since I came home from surgery with my leg in a trap, I’ve grumbled against the inconvenience. My movement is severely limited, I’m in a constant state of discomfort, and all my pretty sandals sit lonely in the dark garage. I can’t run, I can’t drive, I can’t work, I can’t play games or garden or shower or sleep properly. Basically I can’t live.
And clearly I don’t deal well with inconveniences. I lash out in frustration, I fight against it, I grumble and complain and blame. I try vigorously to restore “normality”. Which is why my I’m not the best patient in the world, as you might already know.
A bit of perspective was gained this Memorial Day as I sat dipping one foot in the pool, talking with my sister and neighbor. Both of them are preparing to leave for a foreign mission field before the year is out — one to Japan, the other to Cambodia. As I listened to them talk enthusiastically about the places they are going, heard the passion in their voices, and watched their eyes sparkle with excitement and glisten with compassionate tears, I felt a small stirring in my heart.
These two women were beautiful pictures of what it means to joyfully follow Christ. Each of them committed to leaving their homes, their families, their culture, everything familiar and comfortable and making their home among a people, culture, and language they do not know. But each time the challenges were mentioned, they were treated as small bumps in the road to a much higher end. They were so caught up in a passion for God’s glory and a love for people that little inconveniences were far from robbing their joy and purpose.
I looked down at my sorry foot. Some pool water had splashed on the bandage and the tape was loosening. What higher purpose was God calling me to? How was I allowing the small “hiccups” to distract me from the joy and fulfillment prepared for me?
The Good Samaritan was a hero because he was interrupted on his journey. Paul, Mother Theresa, David Brainerd, Jim Elliot — all embraced an inconvenient life because in it, they found the greatest reward. Their lives aren’t marked by a slavish resignation or passive martyrdom but by a radiant joy at experiencing eternal gain in the midst of earthly loss.
Who am I, sitting on the front porch on a sunny May morning, drowning in blessings to hold out happiness because of one thing I think I lack? How can I say to God: “It is not good?”
Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:31). No situation, person or problem enters my world randomly. Each one is sovereignly injected by the omniscient God. Here is one microscopic moment I can choose to accept the wisdom of the Almighty. If I shut my grumbling mouth and open my clenched eyes, I see His gifts.
In these past days of forced quietness, there have been opportunities to spend long and meaningful times in Scripture. A stagnant sense of “duty” that dictated recent devotional times has been replaced by a vibrant desire to delve into God’s Word and discover daily truth. For that, I thank and praise the Lord.
I treasure the meaningful conversations I’ve had from the recliner — so often missed in the rush of life. I’m grateful for the patience and grace I’ve experienced from my family.
I love visits from friends. Especially when they include cheerful flowers.
Trust, faith, joy, and peace are attributes that can’t be fully grasped in convenient times. I’m praying that I learn this small lesson so when the larger trials come, I will readily, humbly, and joyfully embrace the life God’s called me to lead.
“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love….
until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves…” (Ephesians 4)