Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eyes Lifted Up

I lift my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. ~Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)

For the past 14 years, health struggles have been a major part of my life.  There have been good periods, good days, but physical limitations and uncertainties have been the norm.

Producing multifarious symptoms, one of the main struggles has been with my thyroid. For the last nine months, the thyroid struggle has been pretty intense. Seemingly, this body was being assaulted by every thyroid-related symptom previously experienced, as well as some new encounters.  To name a few: severe weakness and a heavy brain fog -- some days, it was as if my mind was almost blank, hardly a thought, no energy to form a thought.   Many, many days, I have had absolutely nothing to give.

I was physically experiencing what I knew spiritually -- that I had nothing to give to God.  To realize that you have nothing to give to God and yet to give Him everything you have, this is quite a paradox.  Everything comes from God: there is nothing that I have that was not graciously given to me by God, but nothing I have is needed by God.  His desire that I give myself back to Him is for my benefit not His.  For as I abandon myself to God and give back to Him everything that He has given, He gives more grace.  It could be said that the portion of grace is doubled.  For as I realize that He is my portion, I inherit the full portion that He desires to bestow upon me.

I have seen this in such a remarkable way in the last few months.  I love to read God's Word, but to even read a Psalm has been a supreme effort - at some points throughout the day, to pray, a mighty task.  Many days, all I could do was just look up -- Look to the hills from where my help comes.  Beautifully, each and every day the grace to get through that day, the grace to look up, was there.  God knew my heart and He lifted my eyes when I could not do this for myself.  That is the beauty of abandonment, of a surrendered life: we see ourselves for who we truly are -- realizing we are nothing apart from God, we offer the reins of our life to the One who truly knows what is needed, and He takes over and accomplishes all that needs to be accomplished.

God's grace is ever sufficient.  He takes nothing and makes it into something.  I do not know all the somethings that He is making within me, but even in the last few weeks He showed me that He was making something out of nothing: For years my hair has been growing -- growing -- I did not cut it, just let it grow.  Then two weeks ago, I had it cut -- 17" cut -- for donation.  You see, this body that has been so wasted was still endowed with something to give.  It may sound small, but it was huge to me...Sufficient grace, sufficient in wisdom and supply, sufficient to produce a gift from what the locusts have devoured.

As we look up to Him, His grace is constantly renewing us from within, making a new thing, producing a good gift.  All appearances may show a very contrary picture to true reality -- do we believe that our Maker knows what is best even when every outside indicator says that we have been cast aside?  Do we believe that He is producing a good thing even when production cannot be measured by human standards?  We can rest assured that fruit will always be produced from a surrendered life -- are we willing to allow God to enable our eyes to see the fruit that He is producing or will we stubbornly refuse the fruit that does not meet our hopes and expectations?  Will we keep looking up even when we are scared of what we might see?  We must, for as we do, Grace will be waiting to give more Grace.