At long last, we are settling into our new home. There is still much work to be done, but we are hopeful. To be true, this move has been one of the hardest trials ever set before us. It seems that nothing has gone right, and at times, we just want to give up. However, God has truly sustained us and will continue to do so.
Though there is much that I can write, I only have a moment.
This past Saturday was the height of difficulties for me personally, maybe even Mark, but I am speaking only from my own perspective. By about noon on Saturday, I felt hopeless and completely defeated. I remember praying:
Lord, only you can make this house a home. Only you can right the wrongs. Only You.
I was battling bitterness, lack of faith, and self-sufficiency as such that I had never experienced before. I was having an enormously hard time applying the truths of the Gospel – the truth that I am a sinner in need of a Savior, a Savior that has already been provided. I could not see my freedom in Christ. All I could see was my sin, and how poorly I was representing the gospel to others. I was not gracious, merciful, or filled with love. I was just the opposite of all of these. To add to it all, I lectured myself that I would have to write about this on a blog that’s all about being intentional by grace. The condemnings of my heart blinded me to forgiveness and any hope for change. However, God was at work – in a big way.
One of the biggest lessons I learned on Saturday is that Gospel joy is attractive and redemptive.
On moving day, we had no less than fifteen people, mostly men, at our condo ready to move us to our new home. Men who had families at home. Men who had worked all week. Men who were willing to give up a Saturday to come and serve us in any way that they could.
Not to mention, the women who came. Some had children of their own that they were tending to while they worked. Little ones were making our beds and putting away small boxes so that we could have a space to walk in our bedroom. Women were changing my son’s dirty diapers. Women on their hands and knees scrubbing toilets and cleaning our garage utility room.
However, it wasn’t the actual work that changed my heart though admirable as it were. It was each and every one of their faces. While they all worked diligently, what changed my heart was joy. It was joy in its purest form. Gospel joy radiated our home with love and laughter and care. Love and laughter and care that had the tables been reversed, I’m not entirely sure I would have responded so graciously. This was truly humbling in so many ways.
When asked how a group of people could serve so graciously, faithfully, and lovingly with so much joy, all I could say was:
They all just love Jesus and love each other and love us. I don’t deserve it.
And deserve it I do not. However, I felt God’s incredible love for me through the fellowship of our friends. I am so grateful for their example of God’s redeeming work of grace. So grateful for their example in making the gospel attractive.
Second Chronicles 20:12 says,
We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
I am refreshed by the example of my friends and filled with hope that what is to come is not outside of God’s sovereign care and control. And for that I am thankful. I am powerless against what is to come, but I am no longer afraid.
Have you ever had a day turn around because of a faithful friend? Do you know someone who exudes joy?