Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Point of No Return

This morning I continued reading in Isaiah 61 and there are several things that keep leaping off the page and into my heart. Just for the record, I needed that right about now.

This passage is very familiar to us church-goers and we recognize it as the same passage that Jesus read when He first stood in the temple. It's easy for us to visualize Jesus saying The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed me to proclaim the good news. But it becomes difficult for us to read it for ourselves. I think that difficulty is magnified even more as caregivers.

Sometimes we can be made to feel as though we don't play a significant role in society. I know for me, at least at first, I felt like more of a drain on society, definitely not a benefit. We become absorbed into caregiving - we have to. This can make it hard to see beyond our little box. How can we influence a generation?  How can we proclaim the Kingdom of God? How can we share the good news? We demonstrate it.

Even though we may not be standing up behind a pulpit come Sunday morning because we'll still be doing the same caregiving tasks we were doing the rest of the week, doesn't mean we aren't proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Actually, all the while we are changing, bathing, feeding, clothing, transferring and other tasks associated with taking care of another whole person - we are proclaiming His love. His grace. His mercy. His kindness and His strength to the generations.

The obvious question now is how?  Right? First of all, we've discussed in previous posts how we demonstrate the true love of God by laying down our own lives to care for another. We show another side of the same love that held Jesus on the cross by surrendering our life on behalf of another. Each motion we make in taking care of our loved one is a demonstration of His love.

Secondly, proclaiming His kingdom doesn't always require words. How do I know this? Psalm 19:1 says this:

The heavens tell of the glory of God.
The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
Night after night they make Him known.

So far I have never heard the sun, moon or stars utter a word. We literally do not hear the voice of nature telling of His glory - but we see it demonstrated. Nature is cyclical and doesn't have an end. One plant yields more seeds and more plants grow - so there can be more seeds. The water cycle continues to circle around - the earth isn't making more water - it's a limited supply that goes around and around. Seasons run in a certain order every single year. Even though there can be some slight variations, they don't vary from the pre-designed course that He set into motion.

The same way we hear nature proclaiming His glory, others can see His kingdom demonstrated in the life of a caregiver. If they take time to look. Many don't want to look. It's not always pretty. But neither is nature if you look deeply enough. Every time we do something for our loved one, our actions are declaring His kingdom. Simply wiping the drool from my son's face says, I'll cover you. I'll protect your dignity.  And God does the same thing for us when He wipes away the things in our lives that are not appealing.

I think it's important for us to know, or at least I need to be reminded, that we were not displaced in His kingdom when we became a caregiver. He did not boot us out and call us unfit. We are still just as much a part of the Kingdom of God as a caregiver, as we were before. It has literally no bearing on our standing in His kingdom. We cannot earn His kingdom, we do not work to get into it - it's ours. Period. He doesn't stand there with a clipboard and a checklist asking what our profession is, what social class we are in, our income level or anything else. We are part of the Kingdom because we worship Him as our king. 

He took us from the kingdom of darkness and placed us in the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). He did not prepare a way for us to go back. We are planted in Him, in His word, in His kingdom permanently. No tragedy is big enough to remove us!

Today I'm going to meditate on being in His hand, in His kingdom. I'll turn my thoughts to how He can cause my life as a caregiver to bring Him glory. He is the power source - and He is able to cause what feels like a very broken life to demonstrate and proclaim His kingdom. I have to trust Him to do what He says - I don't need to make Him. He's good for it. So I'll trust that He is big enough to keep me in the kingdom where He placed me - and He is powerful enough and smart enough to shape it so it brings Him glory. And with that, I will rest in Him and trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?


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