Saturday, March 15, 2008

Deep Conversations on the Sidelines of Life

Last night, a friend asked how I was doing. “I’m doing great,” I replied. “No, really, how are you doing?” “I’m great.” “Are you great considering the cancer, or are you great?” “I’m great.”

I used to say that life is great, except for the cancer. But even with the cancer, I’m doing great. Right now I even feel great! That is not always the case. But I am great! It has nothing to do with me or any kind of inner strength. It has everything to do with the fact that Christ lives in me. God is strengthening me. He is upholding me. I am weak, but He is strong. He is my Rock. He is my Redeemer. In Him, I have life. Cancer, in the scheme of things, is merely an inconvenience. At times, a big inconvenience. But God loves me and sees me through this trial, just like any other trial I may face. He sustains. He provides.

I spent this morning with my four-year-old son at an Easter Egg Hunt. While he was hunting eggs, doing crafts, playing games, and listening to Bible stories, I was able to have a conversation with some friends that I do not get to see very often.

When people have the Lord Jesus Christ in common, friendship comes naturally – at least it should. There is a bond that transcends all differences.

We talked about trials in life, like cancer, financial difficulties, and the like. We all have trials. And we talked about God’s grace. Do we really understand the depth of His love and grace? We talked about recent experiences where God, through His people, have showered us with His love and grace. Often times, God brings us to a place of humility where we get a better glimpse of that grace. But how often do we underestimate His grace or take it for granted? His grace is so much greater than our need.

As we were talking, we were also listening to an adult leader read and explain Psalm 23 to the children. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. With Jesus Christ as our Shepherd, we have everything we need. Sometimes, we just don’t realize it. We’re just like sheep. We’re too stupid to realize how helpless we really are. [Stupid is not a nice word. It’s not allowed in our home. But it really is the most fitting word here.] We just don’t realize how much we need Jesus Christ. Once we decide to follow Him, we begin to understand that He is all we need. He is, as Paul wrote, our all in all.

We also talked about times when people seem to rip out our heart and stomp on it, and how much that hurts. And we were reminded that Jesus Christ knows what that feels like. He knows, because we do that to Him. It made us stop and think. And shed a tear. Because we rip and stomp.

Deep conversations on the sidelines of life are good for us. They remind us of how great our God is. They remind us that we are not alone in our trials. They remind us of the need to pray for and encourage fellow believers, and to reach out to those who have not yet embraced the love and grace and Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

Perry Covenant Marriage Seminars said...

Pardon me for missing the point, but since I’ve just attended a few covenant marriage seminars, I’m inclined to think more positively. My answer is neither yes nor no, but whichever is the most peaceful method.