It?s been over a month since I last wrote. I was struggling with the idea of how to explain to a 3 year old death and dying of a cousin/playmate. It is not over, but I have been amazed at how it has been. My son doesn?t understand all there is about death and dying and it?s permanence, but he understands enough.
He has made comments like; ?Does Jesus have a basement for Kira to play in?? Playing in the basement was one of the things they would do when she was at our house or grandpa?s so to him it was a matter of Jesus taking care of a child?s play needs to provide a basement. ?I saw her feet sticking out of the clouds.? I have no idea what that really means other than heaven is not here on this earth, somewhere else like ?up?.
One of the children?s favorite songs for months at church had been version of Swing Low Sweet Chariot. He asked to sing that song one night that my wife was at the hospital. I cried as we sang and did the motions
if you get there before I do, please tell my friends I?m coming too?
Did he get it in his 3 year old mind? I think a little. Kira died two days later. The next Sunday at church one of the other children wanted to sing it, my son looked back at us ? he made the connection I?m sure.
So shame on me for not understanding and/or believing what Paul wrote:
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I studied and taught this passage in my adult men?s Sunday school class a a number of months ago. I really did not understand the concept of sufficiency ? enough-ness. Grace? the enabling power from God has an enough-ness quality that is practically impossible to explain in human terms, but when you see it you know it.
If you studied physics you might be aware of the normal force, or static friction. Sufficiency is almost like that I think, in that it can change magnitude (to an extent). But unlike the normal force and static friction God?s source is never used up.
God?s grace if sufficient ? enough for the battle we have, but you, I, we need to want His power to carry us through. Of course we might fall on our nose if we think we can try to get through stuff on our own.
I saw an enabling power in Kira?s parent?s through various momentous challenges those days surrounding her death, funeral and burial. I saw an enabling power in Kira?s grandparents as they lost their first grandchild. I saw an enabling power in my wife and I as we cared for our children and tried (and try) to love and care for Kira?s parents, grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins.
[I] begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing [struggle] and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I [want to] take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size?abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just [want to] let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I [might] become.
I?ll end with a phrase from Paul that is becoming very important to me.
Not that I have already attained, but I press on..
Thank you very much to those that have left comments for us here, on facebook in emails, in person, through the mail. Thank you.
Write your experiences of God’s sufficient grace in the comments. Make this a testimony of sufficiency.
you’ve said it so well. thanks, hon!
Amen, brother!!! I just discovered that you had a blog and will be reading it some more.
I love this, Paul. this is so true in my life today, tonight, this moment. I feel His grace, it’s my survival.
On Friday when I walked into my classroom I randomly took a look at the calender and realized I was on for chapel! I tried to think what I was going to do. I printed this post out and changed a few things (I borrowed a pen from the person in front of me during the opening song) and it was time for me to stand up. The stuff was real so I didn’t read it, but used it for organization. Several teachers and students thanked me for it, one teacher said he thought they got it “it was really quiet, you had full attentions.” a student came and told me after school that day it was “exactly what I needed to hear, thanks.”