We were celebrating a friend’s birthday at Yankee stadium a few years back, and before the game we had a cookout in the parking lot. At one point a few of us girls went to the bathroom (porta potty), and without thinking I left my phone in my back pocket. As I finished up in the bathroom, I hear “plop”, to only realize that my phone had fallen into the beautiful porta potty toilet, and then sunk to the bottom with everything that was in there. I opened the door to a line of about 10 people and said to my friends “I have a big problem” “What?” “My phone fell into the toilet”, and that is when basically the entire line of people said “Leave it there!” As you can imagine I was hesitant about sharing what happened to the person my husband and I have our cell phone plan with, and that hesitation was matched with the response “how could you be so stupid?” Ouch. I am sure that I am not the only person who has made a mistake and gotten a poor response from a loved one. Responses like this can have a rippling negative effect. It can begin anticipating a poor response from other people, then continue to feeling even more hesitant to share when a mistake has been made, then wanting to hide when a mistake has been made, and then even being afraid of receiving a poor response from God resulting in trying to hide from Him. Hiding is better than receiving a poor response from God right? If another person could respond with “how could you be so stupid?” isn’t that how God would respond as well?
Last week, I had another phone mishap. I didn’t drop it in a porta potty this time, but I did drop it face down on tile floor…shattered. Now, I have been a bit absent minded since becoming pregnant and my husband has had to have chats on a few occasions with me about this. As you can imagine I was again hesitant to tell him about my newest fail. So I texted him telling him I had good news and bad news, which did he want first? Great way to begin a conversation huh? So he called me and considering my not so great track record lately he surprisingly responded gently and kindly.
And this is how God responds to us when we lay at His feet and share with Him our struggles, mistakes, insecurities, and shortcomings. He doesn’t call us stupid, dumb, or a failure. He doesn’t respond by saying “Again? You just did that last week! When will you learn?” He responds with grace and kindness, gentleness and forgiveness. He will not tear you down but will raise you up!
I think of the woman again who had bled for years. She had seen doctor after doctor and no doctor could heal her. But she knew that if she touched the robe of Jesus she would be healed. She approached Him from behind, maybe because that was the only way to get to Him but I can only guess it was because that as an outcast she didn’t feel worthy of being face to face with Him, and once she touched His robe she was immediately healed. That could easily be the end of the story but it’s not. Jesus knew power had left Him and wanted to know who had touched Him. She falls at His feet and “trembling with fear” tells him everything. She thought He would be angry, but He wanted to know who she was so He could face to face say “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.
1 Peter 5:6
I remember a few years ago as my parents and I had gone to say goodbye to my godmother who was dying of cancer. When we got to the nursing home the nurse said we didn’t have a lot of time (I didn’t realize that she meant minutes). It was during the Christmas season, so we put on Christmas music, and as her daughter was saying her last words to her over the phone, she breathed her last breath. It was tragic and beautiful at the same time. I remember my mom saying that she wished a pastor was there. I asked why and she said so they could pray that God would be merciful and take her heaven. I was kind of taken back by that, because as a Christ follower we have the authority to pray. I said I would pray, and I thanked God, who is who He says He is, that He already had her in His arms because of her faith in Christ.
There is a lot that can keep us from laying at His feet and calling out to Him. It may be feelings of unworthiness, or fear of how He will respond. It may be because you don’t think you have the right to approach Him as you have fallen too far. But we don’t have to be timid as He calls us to humble ourselves under His mighty hand so that at the proper time He may raise us up. There is one name that gives those who abide in Him access to the God of the universe. There is one name that allows us to be sons and daughters of God. There is one name that allows us to approach God in confidence when we fall. That name is Jesus.