[Web’s Wednesday Wit and Wisdom is a regular feature at the 4thDaveBlog. You can follow Webster Hunt on Facebook, or on Twitter as @livingheart.]
There is a man who, right now, is experiencing the grief of the shadow of death in the illness of his wife. I’d like to call him my friend, but I don’t know him well enough – and if I did it would be I who would have the honor, and he who would be taking the risk to his own reputation. But he is my brother in Christ, and he is suffering. And it’s what he’s focused on in the midst of his suffering that has be blogging today, because I was otherwise going to go another silent week with nothing of value to say.
I read an update he gave concerning his wife, and although the grief was evident over the disheartening information that he had to give, what were shadows gave way to lovely light as he began to give thanks to His God, His Father in Christ Jesus, His Lord that he would be given such a wonderful gift as his wife. The mournings over the close touch of death were drowned out by the overflowing love and thanksgiving he wrote concerning God’s right to the gifts He gives His people, and how if in His goodness He would give the gift, what complaint have we if, in His goodness, He receives that gift to Himself again, from us (to paraphrase my brother’s own words). Because that’s the only way God does anything He does – in the goodness that He is, for the goodness that he has IS the goodness that He is, to quote another brother.
So today, for my blog, I want to think aloud about the good things that God doesn’t owe to a sinner like me.
- Freedom from the wages of sin in Jesus Christ.
- Being able to pray on account of Jesus Christ.
- The Holy Spirit helping me to pray, because I don’t know how to pray as I ought.
- Repentance that has been perfected by Jesus Christ on my account.
- Good works to glorify God in His Son through a sinner like me.
- Baptism into and communion with a body that I am not worthy of because of Jesus Christ.
- Fellowship with a body of believers that I am not worthy of.
- Being able to read, discern, learn from, and live the truth of the Scriptures because of Him.
- Being counted among God’s own people that He chose and completes.
- My wife, a good woman, a good gift, given to me to glorify the Name of Jesus Christ.
- My daughters, lovely children, that, though not with me now, were given nonetheless to glorify the Name of Jesus Christ.
- A job by which I can work and proclaim the Name of Jesus Christ and live the truth of His Scripture before my co-workers and friends.
- A body of Christians at a local assembly who love my wife and I, pray for us, strive to help us when we’re in need, rebuke us when we’re wrong, encourage us when we’re right, and are dedicated to us despite us, in all the Biblical ways that is meant by that.
- A pastor who prays for us, calls the body to pray for us, calls on us when Sheena is sick, works diligently to prepare the sermons he preaches by which we grow and are made more perfect, loves his own family, and serves Christ faithfully in the office that he took as pastor.
- A home to lay my head, where my food is stored, where my clothes are stored, with neighbors who aren’t seeking to kill, maim, steal from, or otherwise bring harm to us.
- Friends who love my wife and I, of whom we are not worthy.
And the list goes on. There are so many things to mention in the day-to-day of life that, if God treated me skin for skin, I would have none of.
I’m writing this because, until I read that man’s letter tonight, all I could think of is all that I lost. As I’ve briefly glossed over before, two years ago this month, my wife and I decided it in our daughters’ best interests that they be adopted by the best parents a child could ever have, in my opinion. My wife’s illness in unpredictable, and we still have no way of knowing when she’ll go down again (because right now, praise our Lord, she is doing spectacularly well as I write this!), and we didn’t want that kind of life for our daughters. The details can be sticky, so I’ll leave it at that.
In fact, the reason I haven’t written anything in the last two weeks is because that was all I was thinking about, and I sure didn’t want that to become a kind of blog fodder and clickbait, solely for the purpose of venting my feelings and sorrows and getting some kind of imagined resolution by you reading and responding – I’m of the opinion that writing in detail about those things would be a kind of manipulation and would cheapen all the sacrifices people have made to our good. But reading that, I remember all the way back to Adam and the garden, remember the sins of Israel, remember the life of Jesus Christ – lived on my behalf as he fulfilled the Law I could never bear – remember His death on my account – the invaluable for the worthless – remember His resurrection and ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and His return for His people, and His perfecting His people – all of these things exploded from my memory in an instant as I read that brother of mine giving praise to the God who ordained the suffering of his wife, and even her coming death, because everything God does He does in the goodness that He is, He does it for the good of His people, and He does it to glorify the Name of His Son Jesus – and it is a sin to call evil, good and to call good, evil; but when God ordains that an evil thing should occur, it is good that it occurs, to quote a brother. And I praised and gave thanks to Christ because Christ was being glorified in them.
And before I close, I forgot something, a very important something: God has given us Himself. He loves His people with the love He has for the Son – very God, the radiance of His own Glory, the second person of the Godhead, the only Begotten Son. God’s own perfect, holy love is the very love with which He loves us. It’s authoritative, binding, and to quote a good brother, He will get the object of His love – nothing will sway Him.
My Lord! Help my unbelief!
PS: Not to mention the love that He shows His enemies in providing food, shelter, families, love, air, life, and even sends His own servants to preach to them, to love them, to rebuke them in love, to proclaim the Name of Jesus Christ to them that they might turn and be saved if they will (yes, even a Calvinist can say this, because it’s Biblical), although they use all of those things to profane, to blaspheme, to add evil to evil against the one who gives and takes away life at His own pleasure.
What love. What patience. Again, my Lord! Help my unbelief!
3 thoughts on “Web’s Wednesday Wisdom: “Everything God Doesn’t Owe Me””
My original plan this week was to start with a post about my “new” (very used) vehicle that H. and I purchased over the weekend. I was going to snark about how the seller, who was a professing believer and talked about being active in his church, failed to inform us of at least a dozen (admittedly minor) defects in the functioning of the vehicle. I was going to complain (but in a funny way that would make my complaining entertaining for the reader and let me off the hook from feeling convicted about it) about the challenges of buying a used vehicle and somehow, maybe, throw in a turn at the end about trusting God. As pious as the ending would have sounded, the bulk of the post was going to be griping.
And then I read this.
I’m not owed a vehicle. Let alone a second vehicle for our family. Let alone a second vehicle that’s new or newer or used or very used. Let alone a vehicle that has no minor or major mechanical issues. Exactly as I am now, I am wealthy beyond measure in light of the average human being on planet earth. And that’s just the physical, material blessings. Don’t even get me started on the riches of spiritual blessings and relational blessings.
[Lord, keep humbling me. Keep reminding me that I am dust. That everything I have is a gift. That You are gracious.]
Thanks for ruining my plan, Web. I needed this.
One of my particular skill sets is ruining things. Ask my wife about the paint job I *tried* to give one of the walls in our house.
Seriously, though, I was exactly the same way until I read that last night. When Christ is glorified in His people, for some reason especially in their suffering and grief, It’s as if it’s contagious, and you have to glorify Him too. I wonder if that will be the wonder of being with Christ as He is – that His glory is so obvious and manifest that we cannot help but glorify Him to the point that it’s the only proper response, forever.
You forgot #17: Friends who love you and Sheena who are not worthy of you, brother.
Great job. This post was really moving.