Today much-needed grace came to me in the form of a three year old girl. Her name is Arianna, and I've been considering a request to start caring for her on a regular basis. I've been putting off the decision....wanted to wait until my children were both back in school (Liam starts next week.), then Ed has a week long vacation and I'm looking forward to that time together, just the two of us. But last night the phone rang; Arianna's father was on the line. Due to a change in circumstances, he had no sitter for Thursday and Friday this week; would I be available?
Truthfully, I felt put on the spot. I didn't want to do it on such short notice. I was planning on preparing first: a trip to the library to check out books that would interest a preschooler, craft supplies bought and crafts planned out, my closets all organized, the carpets professionally cleaned, etc. etc. My emotions shouted, 'I'm not ready for this!' But I listened for God's whisper, and I felt prompted to say, "yes!"
God knew what He was doing. Without this "encouragement" of being faced with a pretty dire need that I could help meet, I could have postponed my start date indefinitely. The house would never be clean enough. I would never be organized enough. I'd never feel one hundred percent "ready." I just had to jump in and trust God; what I lacked in lesson plans or structured schedule, His Holy Spirit could supply through divine intervention.
Truthfully, I've been feeling kind of down lately. Depression is something I have always struggled with, and it didn't just automatically disappear the moment that I got saved. I carry a great unnamed sadness in my soul, and it has haunted me since I was young. Tears are rarely far from the surface. According to Psalm 56:8, God enters each tear in His ledger. I have a feeling my ledger is one of the thickest in His possession! (Jeremiah's might come close!)
On top of this perpetual aching, I've carried the weight of condemnation. I have felt so guilty for feeling this DIScontent. Isn't joy a fruit of the Spirit? Do I not have the Holy Spirit? What's wrong with me, Lord? I'm such a mess!
Recently, I have come to realize that there IS a reason for this melancholy! There IS something wrong, but it's not me...it's called "the fall." It's a part of the human condition here on earth. Some people just feel it more deeply than others, but the Bible tells us that the whole earth is groaning with the weight of sin and its terrible consequences.
Enter Arianna. How I thank God for little children; surely the Lord is with them in a special way! When Jesus walked the face of this earth, children were drawn to Him. His love, His joy and delight, must have been so evident in the presence of little ones. He welcomed them and held them and blessed them. I don't think much has changed in 2,000 years.
Today with Arianna, I was given a gift....the reminder that though there is much wrong with this world, there is still much that is right! Today with Arianna, I was with my Lord. To see the world through a child's eyes is to see hope and wonder and excitement and joy. Only three and a half years on this earth, Arianna is fresh from heaven and still carries with her the innocence that we have lost.
We spent two hours at the park this morning, and the highlight of her day was....the birds!?! How often have I walked that same path, ignoring their song? It's just background noise to me; absorbed in my own thoughts and concerns, I don't even notice the beauty of their singing.
But Arianna.....she was spellbound by the bird songs. She thought they were singing just for her, and she starting singing back to them. She called them her "best friends." Arriving at the park, she bypassed the playground equipment to "play" with the birds. As they swooped and soared in circles around the field, she ran below them, chasing them and calling for them to "chase" her. To a child who sees "friends" in wild animals, how precious will life be under the rule and reign of the Great Redeemer!
Imagine....."the wolf will romp with the lamb, the leopard sleep with the kid. Calf and lion will eat from the same trough, and a little child will tend them. Cow and bear will graze the same pasture, their calves and cubs grow up together, and the lion eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens, the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent. Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill on my holy mountain. The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive, a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide." (Isaiah 11:6-9, The Message)
I praise God because He is bigger than my brokenness! He reigns over depression! He is mightier than the "blues!" This innate knowing of "all-that-is-not right" will one day be put to rest. In the fullness of time, He will make all things right again. Earth and all living creatures will experience life the way He intended it from the beginning.
I can hardly wait for the return of Christ, for the one thousand years He will reign here on earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! I look forward to the day when all His enemies are defeated, even death itself! What joy! What celebrating! What gladness there will be!
me........................without the depression!
Jim........................without the wheelchair!
Sharon...................without the arthritis!
Isaac and Elijah......without the autism!
Michelle.................without the braces!
What a glorious, glorious, glorious day that will be! How I pray that Christ returns quickly! The whole earth is groaning and in pain without Him!
I thank Him today for the hope that this life is not all there is! A better day is coming! I thank Him for His good work of restoring and redeeming and rescuing and renewing. Truly, He does make all things new, and He makes them beautiful in His time.
I am humbled that it took a three year old child to remind me of that truth. Being with Arianna today gave me a foretaste of that coming Kingdom. God used her to rejuvenate my weary heart and breathe life into my spirit. Her father thanked me profusely when he picked her up, but the truth is....I'm the one who is most grateful. Amazing grace indeed!