He giveth more grace

I am searching anxiously throughout the Word for sources of peace. Recalling to mind 2 Corinthians 1 and Psalm 42, and I end up reading Psalm 41 (oh how often I feel like this fellow poet-psalmist!).  I am searching for a churning of the waters of my soul, of a wellspring of joy somewhere that He has promised me but I have yet to find it. I realize that I am reading in Scriptures as if I am taking a pill, with hopes of a quick return and fix of a spiritual-biological problem. And oh, how that is not so!

And I recall the gospel-reflection notebook I had started a while back, searching and reviewing frantically, gospel truths from Scripture and quotes; they somewhat revive me, like a life-boat that my fingers briefly touch in their frantic panic-hopes of being rescued, assured, surviving.

I’m sitting in the big, rose recliner in the corner of our living room, re-reading, re-reflecting and Cara asks if I want to listen to a meditation. And I am thinking, no I don’t want to listen to your stupid meditation; I am giving her that look that she should know after 9 years of friendships. And yet she plays it, and the voice is instructing her and I to lay on a yoga mat or in a comfy chair (Cara points at me) and she continues to speak and instructs again about the comfy chair (Cara points again at me) and I’m like fine, I’m already here in a comfy chair so why not? So I stop and shut my notebook and listen and breath and listen and breath.

The voice speaks on another fellow sister-sufferer, Annie J. Flint. My ears and heart are quick to listen. Fellow sister-sufferer, fellow sister-writer for the Lord. She knows pain—orphaned not once but twice—and she knows words and The Word.

The voice reads her poem:

“He Giveth Us More Grace”

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Oh!, how I feel my soul breaking within me. She is crying, moaning with the words I don’t understand. And my physical body is reflecting outwardly the inward heart-break, tears forming as I sit and listen.

Yes, these words were what my heart was seeking, searching for!

And my soul laughs because I see what God was doing after all through this “stupid” meditation!

Oh yes, dear Annie, I agree with you, my soul agrees with you in its distress, its cries: He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again! Even and despite of me, my thoughts, my frustrations, my doubts. (Now that is what we call grace)

Re-read, re-listen, dear heart! —–

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Oh yes, I have exhausted my store of endurance, of my own strength. Those canned preserves of strength, of time—they are temporary and easily used up by my hungry and weak body.

Here is the point that He is always bringing me back to: Why do I try to do all things on my own? Haven’t I learned by now that I cannot, and in fact that it causes anxiety, frustration, hurt, depression when I do because I was never designed to do anything on my own. 

john 5

Jesus: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

You can do nothing

I hate this, and yet I also rejoice in this fact. My flesh hates acknowledging that I am limited, and yet my spirit receives joy and peace in knowing who to rest in and find resource in this weary, weary world.

“He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”

I recognize and realize this in such a tangiable way over the next several days at my church annual conference, Xenos Summer Institute. God directing speakers on heaven, hope and suffering all at me it seems. I listen to Chris’ workshop on The Power of Weakness, Amy’s teaching on Suffering with Hope, Gary’s The Eternal Weight of Glory and many, many more and cannot deny that yes, He giveth and giveth and giveth again. Teachings bringing huge, spoonful portions of grace to my malnutritioned soul. Teachings reminding me of the lessons learned and engraved into my heart’s bark (pull back the vines that were covering it, remember the love and peace as you touch the deep engravings.) Teachings with their Word-sword knife running over the engraved-lesson, cutting deeper and deeper into remembrance, value, and ultimate understanding into my heart. Oh, how I needed this! Oh, how He gives!

He gives just when we need it. (Annie replies, yes!: “When we reach the end of our hoarded resources / Our Father’s full giving is only begun”)

I needed it this past week more desperately than others.

You see, this past week brought out memories deep from the dresser drawers of my mind, like missing socks that you forgot you once had the other pair somewhere, somewhere…

The sock, a date:
July 15th, 2014 — the day I learned I relapsed and had cancer for the 3rd time in my life.
3 days after my 23rd birthday.
The day of my parent’s wedding anniversary.

I’m holding the sock in my hands—mind remembering, recalling memory—and I do not like how this sock feels in my hands.

And yet, this past week is forcing me to mirror-reflect back on July 15, 2014 with July 15, 2015.

His timing is oh so good though.

The last teaching of the conference couldn’t be more of a confirmation that He is the Ultimate Planner of Good Things and the Ultimate Comforter.

Scott starts his teaching on death, “I Am the Resurrection” and my soul is laughing and crying and delighting.

You see, he is teaching is John 11.

John 11, the passage on the death and resurrection of Lazarus.
John 11, the passage God told me to teach on early summer of 2014 in which I didn’t understand why.
John 11, the passage I understood why I after July 15, 2014 and read and read and read every day the following month afterwards.
John 11, the passage that God spoke to me and reminds me still that —

“This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

and

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”

Oh yes. I needed that as I look back on this chemo-year and see this is more than just a chemo-year but a year of grace, of deeper understanding of my truly weak self, of spirit-dependence, of love for Him.

These are the fruits I harvest and hold in my hands.

He provides.
He sustains.
He giveth.
He giveth.
He giveth again.

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