Getting What You Don’t Deserve

Today is my sixteenth day to be sick.  If a person has a chronic illness, I am sure that sixteen days seems like nothing; and I offer to you my full compassion.  But to me, sixteen days is feeling like forever.   I had a bad cold that turned into a sinus infection (meaning stuffed-up head, a bad cough, a mild fever, and a voice that was barely there) and I also caught pink eye!  Yikes!

For all those who took an instinctive step back from their screens, don’t worry!  I have been on antibiotics a full week, and the pink eye is totally gone.  The respiratory issues, however, are not.  But this blog is not about my sickness; today’s blog is about God showing His power and goodness in my weakness.

I think part of the reason I haven’t recovered is because I have been so busy!  Of course I am always busy with my three wild boys and my sad attempts to keep our home from looking like a disaster zone.  But these last few weeks have been jam-packed!  My church just finished a full week of Vacation Bible School (VBS), and I got to sing a solo in two church services this Sunday.

So here I was last week, majorly struggling through VBS.  In all honesty, a few full days in bed would have served me well.  But instead of quiet rest, I got to lead one of the VBS preschool music classes. I know, I know!  I shouldn’t have spread my germs.  But I promise that I practically bathed in hand sanitizer, and I didn’t touch any of the kids or the musical instruments.  I kept my distance; I promise!

But in my time of extreme sickness, God proved Himself great.  One day I came into the building, literally thinking to myself:  “I am too sick to be here.”  Thirty seconds later I was introduced to a little girl who was weeping over the fact that she didn’t know if she would go to Heaven when she died.  I was able to talk to her and pray with her to receive Christ as her savior!  She was so peaceful afterward!  What joy!

Preschool music may seem like just fun times, but we had some very serious moments.  A little girl in one of my groups told us that if you were good enough you could go to Heaven.  I thought my heart would break, that as a preschooler she already thought she had to earn her salvation.  I was able to tell her the truth:  we are not saved because we are good; we are saved because the good God sent Jesus to save us!

Another little girl asked me multiple times if “God really loves us no matter what.”  Later she asked me if you could go to Heaven after committing suicide.  Friends, small children shouldn’t have to worry about that question.  No one should.  So I got to tell her what God says in His Word, that if you ask God for forgiveness and ask Jesus to save you, then you are saved–regardless of what sins or mistakes you make later.

In my music class we sang “Amazing Grace.”  I taught the kids what grace means, and everyday they repeated:  “Grace means getting something great when you don’t deserve it!”  We talked about how God loves us no matter what; and Jesus came to die for us, to take our punishment when we didn’t deserve it.  Did you really catch that?  God loves and forgives you and me, even when we don’t deserve it.

On Sunday morning I could barely speak, but I was scheduled to sing a solo at church.  I asked Jeremy if I should just cancel, but He encouraged me to go and see what God would do.  The song was one of complete praise to God.  The Lord strengthened my voice and made me able to sing for His pleasure and His glory, even though I really couldn’t sing at all afterward.  God showed His power.

I have seen the LORD’s power and His goodness so many times in the last week.  I don’t want you to think I am saying, “Look what I did!”  In fact I am saying the opposite.  This week I had almost nothing to offer.  I was too sick to rely on my own strengths and abilities.  But I got to see God’s hand at work in amazingly mighty ways.  He did things that only He can do.  And I was able to watch and marvel.  I was able to rejoice in humility, knowing that He chose to use me, even though He didn’t need my help at all.

Are you in a time of weakness in your life?  Do you feel like you don’t have the ability to do what you need to do?   I pray that You will get to see God’s hand at work.  I pray that you and I will remember that the LORD in His grace and lovingkindness “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

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