Friday was one of the longest nights of my life. It was painful, it was glorious. I fought with the Lord most of the night. In the wee hours of the morning I could sing these lyrics with gusto:
On these lonely raging mornings I would whip you if I could
But Your on the mighty side of strong and the perfect side of good
If I raise my hands will you grab me by the wrists
And will you try to pull me from the fray?
And even if my fingers join together into fists
Will you hold me firmly anyway?
‘Cause I would try to escape you but for everyday I’m sure
That You’re on the huge side of big and the holy side of pure
And as the dawn broke, by His grace –
Ok, hear what I say
As I raise my hands and surrender today
Ok, here I will stay
Hands in the air, singing have Thine own way (Hands in the Air by Waiting)
Have you ever fought with the Lord? Like a mental all around knock down drag out? Here’s a secret – He always wins! And for that I am thankful beyond words that He does not leave me in my sin and pride.
Saturday was the day of a big race, one that I had tried to run last year, but my first bout of MRSA prevented me from running just days before the race. This year despite 4 more rounds of MRSA and a weak body I was determined to run. I enjoy running and it’s a time where it’s just me and the Lord and the wind. Over the summer I started training for race again. Victory was going to taste even sweeter this year.
When round’s 3 & 4 of MRSA attacked my body again this fall, I was devastated as I once again missed out on crucial weeks of training. But for everyday I could run I was oh so thankful! I didn’t take any day for granted anymore. And I learned there were no good days, there were no bad days, and there are only days of grace. As the race drew near I came to the very painful conclusion that I would not have the stamina to run this race. To much time had been lost! My prideful perfectionism took another blow. A friend suggested wogging it (walk/jogging). I wasn’t thrilled at the idea, but it would kill my perfectionism so that became the new game plan.
Staring at the ceiling Friday night, silent tears streaked down my face – why oh why couldn’t I sleep? I wasn’t even going to have the strength to walk the race tomorrow. And that is where the fight began.
The Lord started pointing out that I was trying to kill my perfectionism and pride by walking. It doesn’t work that way. When we tell the Lord how and when to humble us it still puts us in control and full of the worse kind of pride – false humility, because we think we are being humble.
But oh how I wanted to be in this race! I fought Him stubbornly for a while, coming up with every justification and excuse I could, trying to drowned out His voice. Thanks to my smart phone, I decided a 4:00am browse of Facebook might make Him go away. I didn’t want to rest, to drop out of the race and be humbled.
Wanna guess what I read on facebook? (God isn’t one to let us get away, He fights dirty, in the cleanest sense!)
It’s a race. But the race is not always to the swift.
Tears once again began to flow as I read. I could no longer ignore Him. The prize is testifying to His grace, and we win by slowing down enough to realize it. For me that meant slowing down to a stop, not being in the foot race at all. As I raised my heart in surrender, grace flowed unearthing and uprooting the real issues in my heart.
Forgive me of my pride Lord! I will not run. I will rest, I will accept this illness as being allowed from your hand. The acceptance Elliot speaks of – the distilling act of faith. Lord I can only accept by your grace, not by a choice of my will. Please help me. I wanted to run because I was fighting that this sickness would become part of my identity. But what if you have willed it to? So that your grace can also become part if who I am? – Journal excerpt.
Identity. My biggest fear is that this sickness will become a part of who I am. I hate that it changes and affects the way I live my life. I fight against that with every part of my being. Peace only comes when I accept. Not resign myself to it, but accept it as from His hand – there is a huge difference. Resignation is giving up. Acceptance is trust. Knowing God has allowed this and that He sees, knows and understands the pain it brings me – and that through it all He is good. And He is loving and He is faithful.
Oh so faithful! To keep this sinner up all night, to not give up on me, but to wrestle with me until I rest in Him. He is not satisfied to allow me second best, but pushes me until I accept His grace. He does not want my identity to be one of sickness, but one of grace. One that reflects His glory.
And so this weekend, I ran, I just ran in a very different kind of race.
Today’s Tidbit of Truth: The Lord wants grace to be apart of our identity.