Sunday, May 29, 2011
For the fourth time in eight years, my wife Kim was laid off from her job. The implications of this are big for us because she has Multiple Sclerosis and therefore we have to have medical insurance. If we were to pay for it on our own, even with government help, it would cost between $1,000-1,200 per month and we don't have that kind of money.
We've been through this so many times, and have seen the Lord provide every time, that we normally just rest in that, pray, do what we can, and trust him. But we have our days, and a week ago Thursday was one of those days for me. I just felt so stressed out by the whole situation, and I felt so bad for Kimmy for having to go through this again when she's done such an amazing job at work the last couple of years. All day long I was preaching to my heart but I couldn't get it to turn toward the Lord and rest. "Consider it all joy when you face trials of various kinds," "God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose," "the mercy of the Lord has not come to an end, it's from everlasting to everlasting" (James 1:2; Romans 8:28; Psalm 77).
I preached these things to myself all day long, urging my heart to turn and yet it wouldn't.
That afternoon, while I was sitting on the couch working on a project for church, I looked up and saw a female duck waddling across the yard. I've seen ducks down near our drainage area but I've never seen one in the yard like that. And what struck me most was the casual pace at which she was walking. She seemed happy and content and just enjoying the day. I literally got lost for about three minutes as I watched her waddle along, but then she waddled out of my sight and I went back to my projects--and my stress.
But just a few minutes later she waddled back into my sight, only this time she was on our concrete porch, within three feet of our back door. I smiled. As I watched her make her way over to the far side of our porch and help herself to the food that had dropped out of our bird feeder, the Lord very tenderly spoke these words into my heart:
"Therefore I [Jesus] 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? Look at the birds of the air [OR the duck on your porch]: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' [OR 'How shall we get insurance for Kimmy']. For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 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 cannot tell you what depth of peace washed over my heart at this moment. Jesus, my Lord and Savior and Sheppard, made these words live in me and to this day I have known his peace.
Later that evening, Kim and I sat on the same couch and I told her what had happened. Just as I was speaking, guess who waddled back into the yard? You got it, but this time she brought her husband with her! We laughed, and cried, and praised the Lord together, knowing that he was speaking to us through these little ones who were, in our minds, messengers of God.