I’ve had a rough few weeks. I am not writing this to pour out my woes to my small, somewhat unknown to me audience who doubtless don’t read my blog to be made miserable. This is leading somewhere nice so stick with it!
In the last few weeks I have been involved in far more that I would like of very stressful relationships and interactions with people that frankly and plainly are neither easy to get along with, change, or avoid. It has been badly affecting my work life, my church life, my self-esteem, mental health and morale, making me thoroughly miserable, and this has been spilling over into the most important part of my life, which aside from actually knowing the creator of this universe, is my marriage.
The short version of the story of my marriage is that the first girl I met and kissed when I was 17 lasted just one day back then. That one day left me broken-hearted for 38 years wishing I had done differently and married her. I kept the birthday card she gave me when I was 17, I’m in my mid 50’s now. For decades I could not forget her. I went off into a life of several sins that I am not describing today. 38 years on from that a Jesus I didn’t yet know crept up on me unbidden and changed my life. He then arranged to put me on that girl’s doorstep knocking on her door and asking to take her out to a tango dance. All I could do was hope and put my whole life in the hands of the Lord who had saved me and changed me. I did not fall, Jesus did not have to catch me. One thing led to another and I went on to marry the girl I had loved and missed all my life.
Last week I received a completely unexpected payment of some money from somewhere I could not have had imagined I would. It was utterly unpredictable. It was not one of those compensation things that here in the UK everyone knows about. There is no way I could ever have imagined I would be sent this money.
Having the money will quickly solve problem that has been a longstanding annoyance to all concerned and will cause a pleasant surprise for someone when they see money in their bank that they had not expected. It will also help to resolve in some measure one of the issues that have indirectly been part of the unpleasant mess of the last few weeks. There is also some left for my wife and me once that other matter has been dealt with.
Then later last week I received an email saying that a certain very expensive item of furniture that we need for our house and I have been saving hard for was on offer at a very large discount.
Wow, great! But… I’m asking myself… what’s going on? Life was being horrible and all of a sudden there is unexpected money that is solving problems and then the thing I’m saving for is suddenly within reach. Then I was watching Joyce Meyer and somehow something she said popped the first part of the answer to my “What’s going on?’ question into my head. Grace. Joyce wasn’t talking about Grace, but somehow her words about something else just triggered the answer in my head.
The thing is, and I think I may speak for a lot of people here, one doesn’t think of Grace as being why something nice happened. When the Lord saved and changed me I had no understanding at first that there was a real living Jesus that had come along for no reason I knew of and changed my life in a way (without me having asked Him to) that most people believe is not a possible thing. It took me a long while to figure it out. It was Grace. Now Jesus has come along with some money and a discount on some furniture and I was asking why. Turns out is was Grace.
I, and I suspect most you you dear readers, don’t immediately think of Grace as the explanation when wondering why good things happen, it seems to me because we are not accustomed to being Grace-full people. We do not do many acts of kindness, especially we don’t do many random ones. Jesus however does them again and again all over the planet millions of times to the most unlikely and undeserving people. Because we don’t think and act like Him we don’t ascribe such a motive as to us it is a rarely exercised motive.
God of course solves problems like a Rubik Cube. With one twist several things are answered and pieces you didn’t imagine would be affected or line up suddenly are resolved into good order. He is clever that way. INFINITELY clever. He WILL surprise you. He WILL delight and astound you. He also is generous giving you not only more that you could or would expect, He gives you things you did not imagine or know you wanted until you get them and realise it is the completely perfect gift that was beyond your capacity to dream up. Like when He gave me my wife, the girl I would not have consciously dared dream ever actually could be.
But (He keeps on giving) there’s more. Today is exactly the third anniversary of the day I re-met my wife and asked her to the dance. Today I will be taking my wife to the bank to cause the pleasant surprise for someone else, and then to the furniture shop to buy the item that she has been looking at and hoping to eventually have for several months. This is possible because of the Grace of Jesus. However. like a Rubik Cube He has also arranged it as a gift for us on this important anniversary. The relationship with Jesus is full of Grace which we so easily forget because we simply don’t (sadly) think like Him and be nice to others for no specific reason other than that we should, nearly as much as we should. The relationship is however also personal. Jesus isn’t just a beneficent glow in the sky. He is not a belly buddha you rub for money. Jesus knows you, He knows your life, He knows those you love and He loves them too. He knows how you feel, He knows your secret deepest most hidden hopes and fears. He will help, sometimes with help you need but didn’t ask for, and sometimes He will also give you a personal PERFECT present for an anniversary or special occasion, like the perfect Brother He is, who knows how to make you smile big time.
Thank you Jesus for the perfect anniversary present for my wife and me. Thank you also for what it teaches.
There is another teaching that Jesus wants me to pass on. Just as when good things happen we forget Grace as an explanation, when bad things go on we forget the devil as an explanation. Just as Jesus is personal and real and is behind things that happen, so is the bad guy. When bad things happen, STOP and think about who might be motivating things in others and in yourself, REBUKE Satan, TRUST and ASK Jesus to get you through it, not in the way you think Jesus should, but in the altogether better solving a Rubik’s Cube way that He has planned (which may seem impossible, be hard on you for a long while, and require lots of fortitude and faith).
I waited 38 years to stand terrified of rejection on the doorstep of the girl who became my wife. Jesus did it that way for reasons I am still learning. Today He has arranged the furniture we want as a present and He has sprinkled some goodness for others as wrapping for the present.
Take hope, remember Grace, practice Grace, remember and rebuke Satan when things go wrong. Trust in the Lord who is also your loving brother, build your relationship with the real living Jesus. He is the loveliest person you can have in your life and He is there for you even when you don’t know Him at all, because that is His Grace.
Here is the birthday card my wife gave me when I was 17 years old almost 40 years ago. She still likes being with me, and we like being with Jesus. And here is a picture of the furniture we are buying. Jesus does humour – he just said a dreadful pun – Sofa so good. Nice one J!
Click the sofa pic to go to the Futon Company furniture shop that make them if you’d like to see more – this blog also deserves filing under the design label as they are really really nice sofas.
By the way, as I stood on that doorstep 3 years ago I said to Jesus “Catch me if I fall.” What do you see in the picture on that card eh? It’s all about trust and faith isn’t it.
I went looking for a nice Rubik Cube vid to illustrate my blog. I found a perfect one, but what’s that I see on her tee shirt – “I am”? Ha Ha Jesus I think that has your name all over it. Yeah I get how clever it was of you to arrange that – like solving a Rubik Cube. What a beautiful guy you are Jesus. Click the vid below to watch, it is lovely. God is great!