Why these years are the best (. . .so far!)

 

I discover the openly hidden grace at the end of a sleepless week, in the midst of a day when I can hardly stay upright.

I think again of surrender, of learning to give control into wiser, kinder hands. Why do I still resist arms proved true again and again?

A friend struggles with why we are given deep desires which are not fulfilled.  The pain is deep and tears near the surface.  But as she voices the honest questions, she quietly speaks for us both the choice which rests on deeper truth. Though the questions aren’t answered, though we lose our health and careers and are not blessed with husbands and children, we will still trust Him.

Soon after, I find it, the openly hidden grace.

“For his lovingkindness is great towards us.” Ps 117:2

This tame language of ours can’t shout the truth loudly enough.

I first learn the Hebrew root as a noun. A warrior.  A hero. As an adjective, it means mighty or valiant. Here, in its verb form, it retains the sense of a warrior’s strength and ability to triumph.

What girl doesn’t dream of a love so deep it will pursue her through flood and fire, fight for her heart though it must fight hell itself, wait for her, woo her, though she hesitates to trust?

When I first think it, it feels startling. In a week when illness lies heavy, why do I feel this way? But the truth rises and will not be suppressed. These years of disability have been the best years of my life, this illness one of God’s greatest gifts.

And suddenly I see why. It’s because in these years I see Him fight for my heart.

That which keeps me from seeing His love most often lies within me.  And so the warrior-surgeon cuts deep, but just deep enough to remove the poison arrows which threaten my life. He himself bears the deepest war-wounds.

And I realize it afresh. No matter the cost, this is the love that I want to know, the unfailing passion of this Lover who will fight to the death for my heart.

And all of a sudden, the cost feels very small.

More of the thousands of grace-gifts in this illness:

His love with skin on

Time to listen

Joy that rises to fill spaces opened by suffering

Grace that settles in when I’m out of self-help options

Presence in sleepless nights

Learning to let go

Discovering that the toys I clutched are replaced with the real thing

Flowers and clouds and his love writ large outside my window

Friends who run errands and bring pizza and don’t mind tears

Care-packaged leftovers from the dinner I missed