Sunday, April 24, 2016

Always Wanting More

“I tell you, do not be anxious about your LIFE, what you will EAT or what you will DRINK nor about your BODY, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body MORE than clothing? Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for TOMORROW will be ANXIOUS for itself. Sufficient for the day is its OWN trouble. (Matthew 6:25, 34)
I wanted a baby SO badly. I watched all my married friends have babies before me, but I was too sick to have one. Pardon the cliche, but it was the definition of heartbreaking. It was agony, trying to be happy for my friends and this new life they'd be given, trying to be happy about being asked to be a Godmother, and trying not to wonder if my inclusion was a little out of pity.

And then, miracles of miracles, I had Josie in 2013. I was over the moon! No words can describe how I felt when she was born healthy, happy, and ornery as can be. And even though I promised myselfI promised Godthat I'd be happy with one, if I could just have one, and now...

I want one more.

But the circumstances are the same as they were before: I'm too sick. Again. My friends' babies have brothers and sisters while my baby is alone. My friends get to experience that calmer second child and they get to be the calmer second-time-around parents with clearer memories and more enjoyment of their babies while I feel like mine grew up so fast, I don't even remember her as a baby. And meanwhile, I'm watching my youth slip away, my ability to have children is fading so fast I feel like I'm trying to hold onto a handful of sand that keeps slipping through my fingers no matter what I do. The idea that thisalong with everything elseis in God's hands, that this all is part of His divine plan for me and my family (however big it may or may not be) either doesn't occur to me or it just isn't good enough.

There. I said it. I want more than God wants to give me.

Is that all we humans know how to do? Look at Adam and Eve: the end-all and be-all example of wanting more when you already have everything you need. See how it worked out for them? For us all? And in the same way as they, even though you and I are well aware that we ought to be grateful for what God gives us, we just can't seem to manage it. No matter how many promises we make to ourselves to be satisfied with what we have, we will always want what we don't have.
It's our sinful nature to always want more, so we have to remind ourselves dailysometimes hourly and at the very least weeklythat our goal here isn't a mansion. It isn't a worry-free retirement, and it isn't perfect health or to live as long as humanly possible, or to have as many kids as we can fit into our childbearing years. It's not to gain an extra special place in heaven, either. Our goal is to love and serve God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and our neighbor with all that we do, with all that we are, and with all that God has given to us. Why? Because we can. Christ has freed us of the immense load of work God's people had to do in the Old Testament to atone for their sins and given us a free ride to salvation. We are God's children through Christ's perfect gift of Himself.

That is who we ARE regardless of what we HAVE.

Jesus wasn't saying that our lives here are meaningless, and neither am I. He was saying that our salvation doesn't depend on them, and apart from our salvation, what else really matters? So, we thank God for our daily bread although it's not caviar, and maybe buy a loaf or two for the local food bank because some people don't have enough of the things we don't need. We thank God for each new day, painful though we know each day will be, and maybe stop by to visit a sick friend because we know they're hurting too. We ask God to watch over us at night, and should we die under that watchful eye, we look forward to seeing His face because we will, whether we bought those loaves of bread or not because Jesus fed thousands.

And I thank God with every breath for my one kiddo because she is a miracle every bit as much as she is a gift and an answer to years of fervent, desperate and tearful prayers. What is it that I hear on the radio over and over again these days?
"I might only have one match,
but I can make an explosion."
from "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten

God owes us nothing more than to make good on His promise: His gift of salvation through Christ. Not a familybig or smallnot good health, not a house, not a job, not money to pay our bills, not prestige, and not a nice car. Be thankful for what you have: you have Christ crucified for you. When those feelings of wanting more than perfection creep in on us, and they inevitably will, PRAY without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Thank God for what you do have and humbly ask Him for what you want (Philippians 4:6). Go to church. Read the Bible. Listen to hymns. Receive the Lord’s Supper, receive forgiveness for wanting more, for doing wrong and for failing to do good, and remind yourself that it's your Baptism in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and not your ability to be content in all circumstances that gets you to heaven. In other words, make use of that Gift you have been so freely given and welcome the peace that follows.

Suggested verse to repeat if it's a difficult day is 1 John 4:19
"We love because He first loved us."

Finally, brothers, whatever is TRUE, whatever is HONORABLE, whatever is JUST, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is COMMENDABLE, if there is any EXCELLENCE, if there is anything WORTHY of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received & heard & seen in Me—practice these things, & the God of PEACE will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)