Friday, March 09, 2007

Blessings of... well, of life.

Jeremiah 12:1-3a
You are always righteous, O Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips, but far from their hearts. Yet you know me, O Lord; you see me and test my thoughts about you.

Have you ever felt like Jeremiah questioning the justice of God. I know that I have. Yesterday I flew out to Bethesda, MD for a follow-up visit regarding an infection in my lower spine. As I walked through the National Institutes of Health I began to pray like Jeremiah prayed here. Here I am, a minister, devoted to serving God with my life and livelihood. I have followed God everywhere He has led me. I'm hundreds of miles from family, and I've lived in some pretty crummy places as I've sought schooling and work. Now I find myself battling another infection that threatens, as so many other infections previously had threatened, my life. I have a wife and child at home who need me to be there for them, and I cannot because of this blasted disease. Why in the world would God continue to heap upon my family and myself struggles and trials and difficulties. As Jeremiah stated: God, you know me, right? I'm trying to follow you; I'm trying to do what is right and good and I cannot seem to get ahead; I cannot get a leg up. And look at all of these people here. People who don't even desire to have a relationship with you. People who have laughed in your face; people who have acknowledged your existence but refuse to follow your rules. These people seem to prosper. They have great jobs making tons of money; they vacation in Australia and drive BMW's. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Can't you see me doing what is right???!!!

And then I saw her.

I don't know her name, and I only was in her presence for an instance. She was around 2 years old, about the same age as my own daughter, and she was battling Leukemia. Her hair was falling out due to the chemotherapy. She was reduced to skin and bones. The treatment had punished her little body so much that she had lost many of her teeth. If any of us were found in a situation as pitiful as this little girl we would scarcely smile. But this girl was different. She was happy. She laughed and greeted everyone around her. As I saw nurses come and poke and prod on her little body she not once complained or cried out. In fact, she smiled all the more. When she greeted her daddy with a smile and a hug it hit me. I am so blessed. Barring a miracle of God this little girl was going to die, but she didn't let it stop her from living right now. Here I sat, nearly thirty years old, griping about how God is having me undergo a struggle right now, throwing myself a gigantic pity-party.

The truth of the matter is this: I'm no less a sinner than any of the "wicked" I mentioned earlier. The difference is God's grace in my life. One day this disease will likely take my life, and one of these days your life, too, will come to an end. Whether that is sooner or later, be thankful that you have the time God has given you, however short or long it may be, and use every minute of every day for His glory. Every breath is a gift from God. Thank you God for thirty years. Thank you for the life you have given me, may I use every day I have left to glorify you in all I do.

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