Saturday, August 30, 2008

It Begins and Ends with Grace

I slept on and off for most of the day yesterday. Perhaps it was my body's way of dealing with the persistent pain.

I awoke at one point to build Lincoln Log structures with our son. Another time, I helped my wife shred zucchini using the food processor. At dinner time, I had somewhat of an appetite and enjoyed two small helpings of fettucine alfredo and salad prepared by our daughter.

After dinner, my wife asked if I felt up to having some friends over to play a game. I agreed and we did. While we waited for these friends to arrive, I returned a phone call from earlier in the week from friends in Georgia. We spent some time talking about our current health conditions then reminisced about the good times we had in Georgia. A little later our other friends arrived. We enjoyed ice cream and zucchini bread. Life at this time of the year has a way of revolving around zucchini. Then we played Phase Ten. We laughed and talked as we played. We had a great time. And I felt the best I have in a long time.

When I climbed into our sofa bed at the end of the night, the pain started up again, and I had the first sleepless night I have had in a long time.

This morning, my wife and daughter are on their way to Highland Falls, New York to pick up my son for the Labor Day weekend. I am looking forward to seeing him.

So is my younger son, who is still sleeping upstairs. At any moment, I expect to hear him coming down the stairs and see him burst into the living room with a big smile on his face.

Even though I am in pain and not very mobile, I need to make a strong effort to give him more attention. To play with him more. To read to him. To talk with him. To laugh with him. I do not want his primary memories of his dad being those of his dad reclining in my chair, covered with a blanket to keep warm, taking pills to keep the pain at bay.

More than that, I want my life to be pleasing to God.

In 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 Paul prays for the believers in Thessalonica that their lives might be pleasing to God. This prayer consists of two parts. First, that God would count them worthy of their calling. Second, that their lives might be characterized by goodness and works of faith through the power of the Holy Spirit. Such a life, a life that is pleasing to God, brings glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. We, in turn, are glorified in Him.

It is a great feeling to be commended for a job well done. To be told that we have met the expectations. That we have lived up to our responsibilities. How much better will it be to stand before God and be told that we have been counted worthy of our calling?

A life that is pleasing to God, one characterized by goodness and works of faith, is only possible because of the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit. It is a work of God's grace. Only by God's grace can we live a life that is pleasing to Him.

Only by God's grace can we bring glory to God and, in turn, be glorified in Him.

It begins and ends with grace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. B.,
You continue to be a blessing of eternal proportion! Words can not describe how encouraging you are to us. The power of our Lord is amazingly evident as He gives you a supernatural courage & joyful attitude. There is no medication or worldly device that could cause you to live as you are. Clearly, God has given you incredible strength. I stand in awe of our great God. I thank him for you & your wonderful family. I thank the Lord for the gift of you!
Penny & Mandie