But I put my trust in your mercy; my heart is joyful because of your saving help. I will sing to the LORD, for he has dealt with me richly; I will praise the Name of the Lord Most High. Psalm 13:5-6
So last night I kept falling off of my veritable propping-up throne of pillows, so I didn’t sleep so well. This little busted rib thing just isn’t going away. So I read from a couple of my favorite perspective guys, C. S. Lewis and Brother Lawrence.
From his deathbed he wrote: GOD knows best what is needful for us, and all that He does is for our good. If we knew how much He loves us, we should be always ready to receive equally and with indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter; all would please that came from Him. The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, but when we see them in the wrong light. When we see them in the hand of GOD, who dispenses them: when we know that it is our loving FATHER, our sufferings will lose their bitterness, and become even matter of consolation.
Let all our employment be to know GOD: the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love: and if our love of GOD were great we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures.
And perspective is a mighty thing.
Birthdays are all about perspective, today, so many years ago, I walked into the San José de Ocoa Sanatorium a very bewildered but oddly enough not terrified but very about-to-have-a-baby-girl. I was in a muddled fog of people-do-this-all-the-time-so-I-can-too and the peace of God’s kind mercy.
And the memories abound. The nurse snatching the only fan off of the hospital director’s desk to give it to me, the visitor from America. The hours stretching into more hours in the stained wall room with my momma and Alan as we tried to explain to the equally bewildered nursing aides that they weren’t doing things correctly according to the book that we kept showing them, even though they were all fascinated by the pictures. And the final flurry of confused excitement as they wheeled me into the delivery room with an IV and three doctors and a bunch of nurses and the final burst open door of everyone in the hospital and the cat and maybe a chicken or two who wanted to join in the fun of welcoming Little Nicole into the world.
And she was La Princesa and everywhere I went, crowds pressed in closely behind, in this little mountain village. And we were accepted because she was beloved but who would have ever guessed where that bro ken asphalt road would have led?
And certainly we never could have imagined the up and down path as she flies through life on a bicycle that that is traced on her Facebook page nor the dozens and probably even hundreds of birthday greetings today like May you keep dancing and spreading happiness around the sun, because well, who could have guessed about Facebook?
And I reread Mary Anne’s sermon from Sunday last night as well, about Paul’s prayer in Ephesians, For this reason, I ask God to give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation so as to understand these blessings and know God better.
(I pray that you) May have POWER
To GRASP (to understand, to comprehend) the amazing dimensions of God’s love:
How wide (Includes all peoples and beings in heaven and on earth)
How long (from this day through all eternity)
How high (Beyond the immensity of the Universe)
And how deep is the Love of Christ (Deeper than all of our human sin, need,
guilt, failure, emptiness, loneliness)
And may I not only rest today in this great love, but rejoice, to drink from Lewis’s fountain of joy.
Because last night C. S. Lewis smiled as he invited me to join him: Meanwhile the cross comes before the crown and tomorrow is a Monday morning. A cleft has opened in the pitiless walls of the world, and we are invited to follow our great Captain inside. The following Him is, of course, the essential point.
And Mary Anne smiles as well: We pray to the Father of all, who loves us
We ask that He strengthen us in the inner man by His Spirit
So that Jesus will make His home in more and more areas of our lives. And will feed us and fill us with His love, so we can give it to one another and to the world around us.
And Nicole, dear beloved Nicole, Nicolasa Calabasa, smiles just before she heads off down the road to love her jungle of aching middle school wildebeests, smiles and posts a reminder from the great prophet who saw things that none of us will ever understand, Albert Einstein: There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Now to Him, who is ABLE
To DO immeasurably more than ALL we ask or imagine,
According to His POWER that IS at work within us,
(Will we ask and let His power work within us?)
To Him be glory in the church
And in Christ Jesus
Throughout all generations
Forever and ever