After my Saturday birthday party, I feel different. It isn’t about the milestone or aging. It is about my place in the world. After receiving so many expressions of love, encouragement, and even appreciation for what I do and who I am, I’m both humbled and deeply moved. It is as if God is verifying to me a significance that I’d not realized.
Oh yea, this could go to my head, but right now all I can think is that I’ve done nothing to earn or deserve this. These people at the party were such a blessing, and in my mind, they are each the guest of honor for doing and saying what they did. Their kindnesses make me realize how important being kind is, and how vital to tell others what they mean to me. And don’t wait until an ‘occasion’ to do it.
My devotional book verifies to me a similar thought. Abraham told his wife (who was barren) to tell a particular king that he was her brother, knowing custom would keep this king from harming him. The king put Sarah into his harem, but God told him in a dream what was going on, and said “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.”
The king approached Abraham with a strong rebuke. Abraham told him that Sarah really was his half-sister and confessed he lied to protect himself. The king gave Sarah back to Abraham along with livestock and silver. “Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again, for the LORD had closed up every womb in Abimelech’s household because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.”
As I wondered how this applied to me, my devotional book explained that it showed the strength of Abraham’s spiritual life in that he could ask God to give children to others when his prayer for his own wife remained unanswered. The book suggested Abraham had a deep fear of losing Sarah, and something happened in this incident to show him the total care of God for himself and his wife. In his confession, he was released from that fear and able to truly and honestly bless others.
Before Saturday, I don’t think I’d have understood this reading, but I do now. Something in me, perhaps because of past rejections, has always feared rejection. The party was sort of a surprise, but what I knew would happen, I feared. I couldn’t imagine people giving me a party. Then when they did, and when they were so kind to me, I realized those fears were groundless. God had given me a place in their hearts and was taking care of me. And like Abraham, I’ve been released from a bondage.
This is so profound. Writing about it almost makes it trivial, at least with my writing skills. How can I express it? All I know is that I more deeply desire others to know what I am even more convinced of—that in Christ, we are absolutely and totally loved and accepted, and that in the body of Christ we need to deeply and passionately affirm that love of God to one another. This is our good news, and this is our freedom.