Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Grace in all things...

One of the things I learned long ago, working as a nurse in the pediatric ICU, is that it is easy to build walls around your heart...walls of protection against the pain of watching children and parents suffer. But I also learned that once those walls are there, you become hardened to the suffering and you can no longer feel the compassion of God - either flowing to you or through you to others. I remember the days of asking God to make my heart soft again, to make me compassionate again. And He did.

It is a temptation once again, to build those walls, as I spend yet another sleepless night, remembering the faces and conversations that I have had in the last few weeks with people who are desperate. They are desperate because they are running out of food, and there is no work and no rain. Food prices are soaring as corn becomes more scarce. So they come asking, many times begging for food. Now, I know that some needs are not really legitimate...but many others are - and how do I know? And how do I tell people about a God who loves and cares for them and then say "no, I can't help you." So "I earnestly ask for your prayers..." (Psalm 38:22). Pray that our hearts remain soft, that we have discernment to judge rightly the need, that we manage the resources that we are given wisely, and that we can effectively share the love of God.

Not everything has been difficult. The arrival of our son Ryan, his wife Katie and our two grandsons has brought us much joy. How blessed we are to have all three of our grandchildren so close! One of my favorite quotes is from a man named Graham Cooke. He talks a lot about the kindness of God to us each day - but that we have to look for that kindness. He says, "God always gives us grace - some days it is grace to enjoy, other days it is grace to endure." How true....

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