Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns in the story, always an ebb and flow to the pattern. I’ve been thinking on crisis situations… our sweet elderly neighbor recently found out she has rapidly spreading and aggressive lung and breast cancer. She went from being normal, living out her everyday life, fostering sweet greyhounds in her home next to us, going about her business… to sudden hospice care. A retired police officer herself, she was a strong cornerstone for me… in the midst of feeling helpless against the growing hatred and misunderstanding society, she was such a rock. Such a beautiful, strong woman. I feel overwhelmed and heartbroken in letting her go. She loved us so much. 😥
Her granddaughter has come down from another state, and has been helping wrap up all the details of her house and affairs, basically providing the hospice care herself. She described her grandmother as a “hoot!” And she still is even in her last days here. A few weeks ago, when she was in the hospital having fluid drained off her lung, the nurses wouldn’t let her have a cookie. “You have diabetes…” they said.
“I don’t think cancer cares, honey!”
I was reminded by a friend this week, when it all just seemed a bit much, that things come in seasons. Apparently, when things get difficult, I try too often to “save the world.” It sounds all good in intention, but it comes with a heap of responsibility – trying to take control over things I have no power (or business) in controlling. Maybe you understand this, too?
I can’t stop people from dying. I can’t be everywhere all of the time. I can’t change a person’s attitude or pride. I can’t “make” someone like me by being kinder, sweeter, or more gentle if they have their heart set in shame and blame.
I’m not talented enough, smart enough, or mature enough to affect any of those situations on my own. None of us probably are, and that’s why we desperately need God’s grace in order to have grace ourselves in crisis. All we can do is walk in God’s glory, allowing Him to shine through us – through our pain – to carry us when we are weak, and to hold us when we are overwhelmed. Repair us when we are heartbroken.
In the word’s of one of the wisest women to walk this earth, the late Elisabeth Elliot,
Elisabeth Elliot was a woman who understood what it meant to have powerful grace in crisis situations. Losing her beloved Jim to the violent and rage-filled unreached population of the Auca Indians, whom Jim was passionate about reaching with God’s love and compassion. Any normal woman would be outraged, lose it, be vengeful even, if she witnessed this play out – and she was there in the missionary camp, with their 10 month old daughter, very intimately involved with Jim’s ideas and plans. Jim didn’t even get to see their daughter reach 1 year old. The heartache, pain, and sense of overwhelming sadness in this crisis would be enough to shatter any woman.
But Elisabeth was so different.
In her godly maturity, she was able to offer grace to her husband’s murderers. She stayed with the Indian population, continuing to help them even in her overwhelming grief. She even lived with the tribe, among her husband’s murderers, for two years.
Some of her husband’s killers were so affected by her display of grace and love while living among the tribe in Ecuador, that they converted to Christianity. Seeing her grace in heartache moved them, broke their own hearts, and allowed God’s love to penetrate deeply.
If you aren’t going through something difficult now, you either have or will be in the future, but carry Elisabeth’s words with you in your heart… reminding you to let go of interfering in God’s business. To walk this road of life, one step at a time, to keep obeying God in the daily monotonous tasks, being faithful.
And to trust that God will give us the strength and maturity we need when it’s our time to face crisis, and that we can face it with grace.