Lessons learned (learning)

Today's guest blogger is Stephanie Van Gorden. Stephanie is a wife, and mamma to two young children. She and her family are with Village Missions, a missions organization whose purpose is to strengthen and establish healthy Biblical churches in North America, primarily in rural areas. They live in the beautiful state of Colorado, which is currently suffering with devastating wildfires. I know you will enjoy today's post. 

 I have a chronic illness that includes a whole constellation of symptoms. Some days are inevitably crash days, days where even thinking about moving is painful and exhausting. Sometimes, oh the joy, the exhaustion and pain is accompanied by some…unfortunate...intestinal issues.

Heart-grumbling is usual, I'm afraid. Sometimes our circumstances scream so loud that we can’t think of anything else. But that kind of thinking isn’t pleasing to God (Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 2:14), so we need to put it off.

In my case, one such day, I began diagnosing what was going on in my heart. Why was I grumbling when I knew I ought not? Because I felt that I deserved better than what I was getting. I firmly believe that whatever happens passes through the loving and wise hands of my heavenly Father, so when I was grumbling because I deserved better (I thought), I was grumbling against perfect Wisdom and Love that had ordained that day for me. Not smart.

And besides, in the presence of a holy God, what do I actually deserve?

Hell. Pure and simple. I deserve hell—total, eternal separation from God and from the joy and hope and help that can be found only in Him. But He hasn't given me that, because of His Son. As the Spirit reminded me of that truth, I had some preaching to do. "Self," I said, "you deserve hell, but God's mercy isn't sending you there. Life plus digestive issues is grace. Get over it.”

We all deserve hell, so life plus _______________ is grace. Lesson learned that day.

And God, in His grace, continues to give me opportunity to learn it.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in n the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:1-9, ESV