Ready for some "California Whining" on such a winter's day? (Thank you "Mamas and Papas"…)
Before any of you bloggers out there look down in disdain at this California girl, let me be the first person to say that yes, we Californians are *winter wienies.* We complain when it gets below 50 degrees, we absolutely cannot drive in the rain, and we have been known to stare in dismay as a select (very) few trees actually turn orange and lose their leaves.
That's my California disclaimer…
But, still – when the weather turns colder and wetter, my body starts to ache. My joints are not jumpin' – they are creaking, grinding, and swollen.
Especially my knees.
Also, I've been a victim of terrible headaches since I was a young girl. Not sure if they're "typical" migraines – I don't get the weird little lights that they call a migraine *aura* – but they definitely send me to a darkened, silent room with an upset stomach. And I seem to get these headaches more during cold weather.
Do you guys have your hankies out yet?!
My point is this – winter sets off all sorts of alarms in my body.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in church on a very stormy day (actually stormy – not just California "stormy"). I had to run to the sanctuary through pouring rain – it was very cold and windy, too (actually cold – not just California "cold"). I found my sons, and sat down with them. I was wet, freezing cold, and I hurt – my joints were on fire, and my head was pounding in pain. I sat there and tried to re-adjust my attitude. It was, after all, time for worship…
I looked to the front stage of our church – they have this huge wooden cross up there. And it's always lit up in some way. This Sunday, there was a wash of red light across it. I spoke to Jesus…
"You know, Lord, I'm really hurting today. And much of this pain has become sorta chronic. It distracts me, it sidelines me, it's making it difficult to negotiate life sometimes. Am I always going to have to deal with this – for the rest of my entire life? I'm tired, Lord."
There was silence.
At first I was frustrated. Is the Lord just going to ignore me pouring out my heart?
He was just waiting for the quiet moment – soon I felt the still, small presence of Him near.
And then, something inside of me changed. I felt a rush of power and peace. An undergirding of strength. An infusion of encouragement and joy. And a great truth began to wash over me as I stared at that cross.
It doesn't matter.
It really doesn't matter what my body does or what it feels like.
And with a determination that I didn't know was in me, I said this to that cross:
"You know what, Lord?! SO WHAT? So what if my body hurts the rest of my life? So what if I always suffer from these stupid headaches? So what if I struggle with suffering? So what if the enemy plagues me every single day of my life until I die? SO WHAT…
If I have pain the rest of my life, it doesn't matter. If you choose not to remove my particular *thorns in the flesh* – OK, I can deal with that. You had a reason to leave Paul's with him – so I can accept that You have a reason to leave mine.
I can still serve You. I can still speak out. I can still write about You and walk with You and worship You.
And Lord, I will love YOU forever – in spite of anything else that comes up against me. It's all nonsense when compared to the joy of knowing YOU!"
And then my smile just got bigger and bigger.
Because, you see, while I had been talking, Jesus had stepped down from that cross, made His way across the aisles, walked through the crowd, and found His way right next to me. He'd sat down and put His arm around my shoulder.
"Yes, Sharon. You've got it! You and me together, it's all that really matters. As for all the rest of it?"
And then we said together, "SO WHAT!"
The holy *SO WHAT* that puts everything else into piercingly clear perspective. The *SO WHAT* that doesn't ignore the tough stuff of life – but subordinates it to the tremendous privilege of walking every step of life with the Lord. The *SO WHAT* that chooses to claim every "thorn" that comes along as a medal.
A sign of battles waged, and wars won by the One.
The only One who matters at all.
"Yes, everything else is worthless when compared to the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." (Philippians 3:8)
What are the things that plague your spirit? With the Lord's help, can you say SO WHAT?
It's time for Joan's GRACE CAFE - C'mon over and join us!
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"