The other day, already late to a service project we were doing with a few other families, we ran out of gas completely. On the highway. Go me! We managed to get ourselves onto the exit ramp and then onto a stretch of grass where we'd be safe from marauding mini-vans. You see, the Professor has been spoiling me by filling up the van on weekends lately, and apparently I'm quite spoil-able, because I've already fallen out of the habit of checking the gas gauge. Go me!
As I awaited the arrival of my Knight with Shining Gas Can, I fought feelings of frustration over our lot. Who shows up an hour late for a service project? Us, that's who. Then, itching for a distraction, I reached down and grabbed my copy of Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World. It's been neglected since I last wrote about it -- why do we so often resist and procrastinate what we need most?
Here's something I read, waiting alongside the highway with my kids strapped into their seatbelts. It's a quote from C.S. Lewis:
"He seems to do nothing of Himself which He can possibly delegate to His creatures. He commands us to do slowly and blunderingly what He could do perfectly and in the twinkling of an eye."
I also read about Jesus ministering to all kinds of folks as He went on His way, as He went out of His way, and in all kinds of ways. And about how like Jesus, we need to love God's "rag dolls." Are you a rag doll? Even sometimes? Or know one of them? Maybe not the shiniest toy on the shelf? Maybe kind of like my old Polly, who for years was missing one felt eye? Maybe a bit beat-up, a bit cast-off by others? These are the ones for whom God goes out of His way. Others may lavish attention on the Madame Alexanders of the world, but God loves and pursues His rag dolls. And "slowly and blunderingly," in oneness with Him, we can too.
Sometimes it takes a breakdown on the highway, amidst a flurry of doing-doing-doing, to get us to hear His quieting voice.
Another thought. This Saturday some of you will gather with family or just your own small circle, sharing a special and long-anticipated time. For others of you, it's just another day. These verses really spoke to me this year:
5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14:5-8)
Regardless of what you do or don't do for Christmas, I'll leave you with a prayer that burst from my son at his grandparents' table. It surprised me. "Lord, thank You that You laid aside Your position in heaven and became a mortal man." Amen, buddy. Amen.
And last of all, this made me laugh ... and cry, because I am a Bonafide Sap. It's hard to imagine a better day at the mall.