Sunday, January 23, 2011

the power of problems

I'm reading through a little book this year called Dare to Journey with Henri Nouwen by Charles Ringma.  For each day there are a few short paragraphs for reflection.  Somehow, the author must have known that I would need these words today:

"God ... creatively uses difficulty to gain our attention.  He does not create the difficulty.  We are good at doing that; or sometimes the difficulty springs from the brokenness of life itself.  But problems can arrest us.  And if we are willing to learn from them, they can become our friends."

I've been sick since Wednesday.  And though I needed to make major progress on my thesis this weekend, I did not.  I have rested, slept, emailed, and spent what little physical strength I had left on the house. You see, we had two showings scheduled for this weekend.  Our first ones.  We were jazzed because we haven't even put our house on the market yet, and we wondered if God would give us the gift of a Spring with no roller-coaster of house-cleaning-and-showing.  Danny literally spent every waking moment working on the house Friday, Saturday, and this morning (minus the hour he was at church).  You don't really realize how much clutter there is until you start to box it up.  And you don't realize how dirty the house is until the clutter is gone.

And then both showings were cancelled.  The second one at the last minute.  Both of us wanted to collapse from exhaustion.  We wanted to cry.  We wanted to know "Why, God?!"  We could have had a restful day.  We could have been playing with our kids.  We gave every ounce of our strength to a project that didn't have to be done.


The Scripture for today's devotional is this:
"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." (2 Cor 12:9)

I'm still not sure what this was all about.  Perhaps God wanted to give us the gift of a clean house to enjoy this month.  Many of the tasks we accomplished will not have to be re-done, and this weekend put us way ahead of schedule.  But maybe the lesson is for us to seek the Giver and not the gift.  We have certainly come to the end of ourselves, and there is no doubt left that we need Him.

He is good whether or not we have energy. 
He is good whether or not we show the house.
He is good whether or not we sell the house.
And His grace is ALL we need.

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