Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The hidden graces

I wanted the happy pills for my surgical root canal. I was told they would ensure me no pain, no awareness of what was going on, and no memory of the procedure. Since this was a particularly difficult tooth, I was all for that plan!

But as so often is the case, the world failed to adjust itself to my expectations :). No, instead I found myself awake and alert, wanting a nap but unable to sleep for the noise.

I've decided that our old nature makes it easier for us to see things the way we want them to be, the way that we planned them out, and when we give in to that, we miss a lot of the dewdrops of grace filtered throughout our lives.

During my time in the chair, God spoke to me that the bottom line of what I was doing was trying to avoid suffering ... a very human response and one that God sometimes decrees for us in ways that demonstrate His majesty and reveal His power. We never doubt his love when He helps us avoid suffering!

But other times, God requires us to walk through suffering. This can be the suffering of health problems, or conflicts, or time constraints. It can be mental anguish, difficult relationships, a seemingly hopeless ministry situation. It can even be persecution for our faith. It's at those times that we naturally look for a way out of the suffering or a way to minimize what we feel in the suffering. It's at times like these that we doubt God's love, question our salvation, and get generally snarly or self-righteous about our pain. This also becomes what Henry Blackaby calls a crisis of faith: believe God and see Him in a new way, or lose the opportunity to go deep with Him.

In the chair today I realized that was exactly my problem: I had been expected to be delivered from the suffering by the "happy pills" ... but God was walking me through it and was with me all the way. And I sensed the dewdrops of His grace revealed at every turn. He asked me to consider this type of surgery in a third world country - no anesthesia, little numbing, not much special equipment. I would probably have lost the tooth because of the complicating factors of the surgery. Then He brought to my mind what the "happy pills" accomplished for me - a sense of rest and peace, a lack of anxiety. Without that the suffering in the chair would have been much more pronounced. And the shots that I didn't feel at all - what a huge blessing that was. To even have the shots available - what a huge grace to not have to endure it without numbing.

What I learned today is about far more than dental care. What I learned is that God's grace is always sufficient, and His presence is always profound, and we learn that not by numbingly avoiding suffering, but by holding His hand as we press through it, asking Him to point out the dewdrops of grace along the way. I never want to think about what suffering would be like without those dewdrops.

What are you or your people facing that you wish for miraculous delivery from, or at least the ability to close your eyes and wake up when it's over? Seek God's hand in the midst of the suffering. Open your eyes and ask Him to reveal the dewdrops of grace.

No comments: