Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Breath and Faith

Sarah, Stephen, and I went to a Christmas Eve service tonight.

The pastor called the children up to the stage to unwrap gifts that he was using as object lessons. Among other questions, he asked the kids, "Do you remember what you got for Christmas last year? "

"Noooooo," was the seemingly unanimous reply.

But one boy, about five or six years old, shot his hand up and announced his memorable gift: "I got socks and underwear!"

The congregation howled and chuckled for a solid two minutes.

It was funny, no doubt, but I was touched by the child's recollection of something so ...
unexciting, as most people would view it. There was a sweetness, a sense of gratitude in his voice. I was humbled to think that I would not receive such a gift with such a heart, let alone remember it with enthusiasm. Socks maybe --if they were cute or warm --but not underwear. Sorry.

After the service, a close friend called me aside to tell me the sad news of a family
whose children we had homeschooled with years ago. Their oldest, my Ben's age, was killed on the job this past July--electrocuted. I hadn't heard till tonight. Shocked, saddened, feeling a burden unlike I had known in a long time. As I lit the luminaries at home later, I found myself wanting to do something to "make it all better" for this family. What do you give a family who has lost a child? I prayed, "God, I can't I can pray hard enough or well enough to relieve their suffering." God showed me that I was trying to figure out a way to do His job for Him. A human life has God's breath in it. Once it's gone, I can't breathe humanity back into it. Nor can I relieve suffering all by myself. That's also His job.

He came to do His job. Rather, He came to do His Father's job: to reconcile sinners to Himself.
He did it.
He did it perfectly.
It is finished.

He didn't need me.

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for doing for me, for us, what we can't do for ourselves.
For without breath, we can do nothing.
Without faith, we can do nothing that pleases You.
You give us both breath and faith.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, saw Stephen and Sarah, but missed you! :)