Among other things, I have been spending my afternoons lately building some simple shelves for my work bench in the garage. At times it has been a little frustrating as I know I have certain tools to do some of the more precise cuts and work on the wood, but can’t as yet find them among the still unpacked boxes that fill the guest room. But never-the-less, I have made due with the tools that I have found and completed the job yesterday. Now all I have to do is concentrate on unpacking those boxes so I can fill up the new shelves!
In the midst of building the shelves I was reminded of the various homes we lived in with our family over the years, the different work benches I had in those houses, the numerable projects I worked on as well as many other family events that Piper and I experienced together with our kids. All those memories brought about good thoughts and feelings, but also saddened me as I recalled the vibrancy and passion that Piper always exhibited with our family. She was always game for a new challenge and was usually the first in line to attempt it… except for the time we took a group of youth to Great America in Santa Clara California in the late 1970's. It took a friend and I ALL day to convince her to get on a roller coaster! Then it was almost impossible to get her off it during the last hour before the park closed for the day.
When I had completed the shelves and put away my tools, I took a long look at my work and drifted a bit as I thought about our journey over the last nine years beginning with our move to Oklahoma for Bible School back in 2007. I pictured all we had done, the trials and tribulations, the good times, the many lessons learned, of those who encouraged us along the way and those who didn’t. I guess it is not unusual to question if everything you’ve done over the years was right on or not!
But throughout my walk down memory lane, I kept hearing the words that I believed the Lord spoke to me during my Bible Study time earlier that day. I had read a statement in the “Be Joyful” commentary on the book of Philippians where the author stated one of Paul’s underlying purposes for writing to this church. He commented that “We should be a people that practice what we believe.” That sentence flipped a switch in me and that’s when I heard from somewhere deep inside the Lord’s encouragement to me saying that “The bottom line for Piper and I is that we’ve always tried to practice what we believe… just like we are doing now in our stand for her healing.”
I have to believe that this is why the Lord has continued to guide and bless us. Sure, we’ve made our share of mistakes along the way, but I think that He is more concerned with our hearts and how we grow through those mistakes, than the mistakes themselves. It goes back to the way that Paul concluded his letter to the people of the Philippian church in Philippians 4:23, praying that they “Receive and EXPERIENCE the amazing GRACE of the Master, Jesus Christ, DEEP, DEEP, within yourselves.” (The Message Bible)
I needed that encouragement yesterday morning… and then throughout the day! I needed a shot in the arm with the GRACE of God! Do you every feel the need for a shot of His GRACE? Then take a moment or two today and think about ALL the times that He has come through for you. All the times that He has answered your specific prayers. All the times that He has turned a negative into a positive for you.
I couldn’t help but shake my head and think, as I looked upon my finished shelves, that “It really doesn’t matter what others DO or DON’T – What matters most, as I seek, listen and obey the Master, is what I DO and DON’T!” (and believe me… there are plenty of ‘em out there that will be more than happy to tell you that your do’s and don’ts are wrong!) The bottom line is what HE thinks about your daily progress! That is the only opinion that counts.
So, with that thought, have a great day today. And as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose GRACE am I expecting to EXPERIENCE deep, deep within me today?”