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December 18 - A Gift
...FOR THE KING
...And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11
As I make out my Christmas gift list, there is one recipient that is always a challenge. What do I give the King for His birthday? What do you give someone who literally has everything? Over the years, I've learned by experience that I have no idea what to give Him, and so I ask Him what He wants. He lets me know. And it's always something sacrificial in nature. Something I wouldn't give Him except that He has asked for it.
This year, exactly one week before Christmas, He whispered to my heart what He wants me to give Him...
I am sitting in the hospital room with my husband as he fights a wicked MRSA blood infection. He was rushed to the ER by ambulance on December 9th. Why? Why is my husband suffering so intensely? Why has he been subjected to such a bacterial killer when he has done everything "right?"
But that's not my only why question. At the end of the most intense ministry schedule I have ever had, with the most severe health issues I have ever been afflicted with, I find myself not taking a breath...not entering into the joy of Christmas preparations...not spending time with family and friends. Instead I am doing bedside hospital vigil. Why?
From time to time between tests, doctors' visits, and nurses' interruptions, we have had the television on. Both Danny and I have watched with horror, anger, and heartbroken grief as picture after picture of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut have come across the screen. It's difficult to wrap our minds around such a random, senseless act of unspeakable evil...as well as wrap our hearts around the shattered lives left in its wake. Why?
Why? Why were the innocent slaughtered? Why are families ripped apart with shards of grief that make even the next breath painful? Why? Why has the joy of the Christmas season been turned into a nightmare?
Added to the questions rising from my heart, rampaging in my mind, forming on my lips, are other questions. Why do the innocent suffer? Why does God let bad things happen to good people? To defenseless people? To children? Why does God let bad things happen, period?
There are no easy answers. No pat answers. But this is what the King whispered to my heart. This is what He wants me to give Him for His birthday. He has asked me to give Him my why questions, and to trust Him when I don't understand.
And so I find myself stumbling into the stable, collapsing at the manger with tears streaming down my cheeks for all those who are suffering this year, and I lay my why questions down before the Baby of Bethlehem, who is the King seated on the throne, in control of all that's taking place. I give Him my whys, and my worship, and my total trust, when I don't understand.
before Your cross
in worship kneeling,
my mind beyond all hope,
my heart beyond all feeling;
realize that I
don't need a "why?" 1
1Ruth Bell Graham, Footprints of a Pilgrim, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1998