Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It's All Grace

Yesterday morning began with a phone call from my husband.

"They want me to come in and meet with the doctor this afternoon to review the test results."

Was all he said.

I didn't understand. Last week they had promised an easy Monday morning phone call to reveal his CT scan results... no appointment needed.

"Did you ask for the results over the phone?" I asked, certain there was some communication breakdown.

"Yeah, they said they needed me to come before they tell me what's going on... appointment is at two."

What I had thought would be a typical Monday morning... a little laundry, some dishes, a trip to the grocery store, suddenly became a long desert highway with 9am on one side, and 2pm on the other. Minutes seemed like hours as I waited for the afternoon.

I knew it was the same for him as he went through his day at work.

My mind created scenarios of all sorts to explain this unexpected meeting, only briefly did I let it travel to that worst-case place, the one where I would lose him forever.

"God, please don't take Him from us", I uttered, tears rolling down my cheeks.

I left the dishes piled, open jars and unfinished breakfast remained on the counter as we (the kids and I) took to the sunshine. I thought to myself, "I will be ok, whatever the diagnosis, I will be ok." And then I looked at the plump, baby-soft cheeks of my two-year-old and though, "God, he won't be. He won't be ok, and I don't know how to handle that."

All the little things started to flood my mind... All the ways my husband knows how to love us well... and how he is the only person in this world who knows our kids as well as I do... knows their different cries, their laughs, their dimples, and their eyes... knows their smiles, knows their strengths and their weaknesses, knows their little personalities and quirks. He loves them with a love only matched by my own. He knows them with a knowledge only matched by my own.

I thought to myself, "I need him."

and then God spoke into my musings.

"I know them too."

"I love them too."

"You need ME."

And I knew He was right.

Our human love, as deep and intense as it feels, is no match for the rich, full, depths of love that the Father has for us, His children.

I preach eternity to myself, my spouse, my friends and family, but what does it look like when you are faced with the possibility that the person you love most in this life could enter into eternity before you expect them to?

With eternity in mind?

It looks the same as two matching rocking chairs, side by side when we are ninety, reminiscing over a long, full life together.

It's all GRACE.

All of it. Grace that the Father has given us the last five blissful years together. Grace if He gives us another seventy. Grace if He doesn't. Grace that we have two beautiful children. Grace if we have more. Grace if we don't. Grace that we are healthy. Grace if we get sick.

Grace if we live to see 1,000 more sunrise mornings.

Grace if we wake up in eternity tomorrow.

Grace that our inheritance has been won, bought and paid for with the precious blood of Christ. The deed to eternity has been signed and sealed when we put our faith in Him, and everything beyond that is an extra measure of God's abundant grace.

There is no room for doubt, fear, and anxiety when looking through the lens of grace. God has been and still is good. He forever will be good. When phone calls, doctors appointments, car accidents, and cancers take the very breath from our lungs, God is still good.

And so I waited and rested, and prayed and hoped, and counted all the blessings embodied in my husband, all with the lens of grace firmly affixed to my eyes. And when the time came for me to get in the car and ride to where I would meet him, to attend the appointment hand-in-hand, I turned the volume dial hard to the right, and let the life-giving words of a familiar song fill up my senses.

Can He breathe in to the dust?
Can He make sons out of us?
Life is in His mighty hands
Life is in almighty hands

He can do it, yes, He can
He will prove it, our God can
No one else can save us, redeem us, create a new life in us
Only Jesus can

With the windows down, a warm breeze blowing made white cottony puffs float from nearby fields, surrounding the car in a beautiful dance, orchestrated by their Maker, performed for His pleasure and my comfort. I knew what He was doing. Reassuring, loving, showing me His grace when I needed it most. Using creation to display His glory.

A half hour later found us in a different place, shifting uncomfortably in the waiting room. Maroon 5 played through the speakers, while the receptionist impatiently answered phone calls from lines that wouldn't stop ringing. We exchanged knowing glances, and hoped for his name to be called next, squeezing each others hands and taking turns saying, "It's going to be ok".

Finally his name was called. Finally the doctor entered the room. Finally we heard the words we hoped for all day:"You are perfectly healthy. The CT scan revealed a few minor concerns, but nothing that cannot be fixed. Relax, stop worrying, your going to be fine."

With that we both sighed, releasing the pent up tension we carried all day. The world began to turn again, and the clocks hands no longer moved in slow motion. We sent elated texts and emails to a few concerned friends and family, and held each other tightly.

We thanked God for His goodness to us, knowing many others do not receive good news in doctors offices and hospital beds. We returned home, greeted by the laughter and smiles of our kids, happy to see us.

Through it all, I know God's hand upheld us, His smiling eyes ever watched us.

And I know our day of waiting was not in vain. Not for one second.

Because His grace is sufficient. 

And it is in our weakness that His strength is made perfect in us.

(2 Corinthians 12:9)

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