In April of 1995, I gave birth to my oldest child. Munster Community Hospital in Northwest Indiana has never been the same. I was told by several nurses that they had never had a mother as loud as me.
Wonderful. My vocal chords are a legend for all the wrong reasons.
All I remember is someone (a nurse name Jennifer) turned the pitocin up too high and I had no breaks between contractions. I had progressed too much for an epidural, so I felt every single bit of every single titanic contraction. Then came the back pain, which I promise felt like an elephant standing on my back.
People were coming and going from my room and I was in agony. All I wanted was relief and there was none to be found.
I remember Mark trying to comfort me and adjust my hospital gown, so I punched him. That is when my mama came up along side me and took my hand. She looked at me as only another mother can and said, “Honey, I know it hurts, so go ahead and cry, holler if you have to.”
And I did.
Not many hours later, my 9lb 7oz baby girl arrived.
I didn’t do anything to deserve my mom’s comfort that day, and I have never forgotten what it felt like to have someone on my side while I was suffering. Mom showed me grace. She could have told me to suck it up and get over it, but she didn’t. I’m sure it ran through her mind, but she loved me so much and saw I was not prepared for the pain I was experiencing, so she chose to stand there and hold my hand while I cried.
In Exodus we can read about the children of Israel being delivered from bondage in Egypt. They needed water and God sweetened the bitter waters of Marah. They needed food and God provided quail and manna. They got thirsty again and God provided water from the rock of Horeb. They were threatened by Amalek and God provided the victory.
The children of Israel were always complaining and dissatisfied, but if you take the time to think about what it must have been like for them, you wouldn’t be so quick to judge. I doubt any of us would react any better if we were hungry and thirsty. Shoot, we get upset when our order is wrong at McDonald’s or heaven forbid when only 2 lanes are open at Walmart and we are forced to wait in a 10 minute line. I doubt we would fare any better wandering around outdoors with no food and water. Let’s get off our high horses!
After all the complaining and dissatisfaction do you know what God says?
“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:” Exodus 19:4-5
This is a promise to the nation of Israel, but I believe we can see God’s nature and God’s grace shown in these verses. Obviously He is about to give them the Law and He requires obedience, but He offers them a position and a relationship with Him without them ever having done anything to deserve it.
That is the same God who looked at me and offered me salvation by GRACE through faith.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7
When we dwell on this thought of unmerited favor, it should move us to thankfulness, praise and dedication to the Lord. But beyond that, we should be willing to behave the same way towards others.
Often times I see Christians, especially Independent Fundamental Baptists, thump their chests and look down on everyone around them. Their speech is not seasoned with grace nor are their actions. This is so sad. We need to realize that we have done ABSOLUTELY nothing to deserve God’s favor and be willing to come up along side someone who is suffering and just offer to be there for them.
You have heard the saying, “People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care”? Well, it is true. How about showing some grace to those around you today? How about instead of thumping your chest and being proud of what you believe, offer your hand and tell someone you know it hurts and let them cry.
Maybe they will want to hear about the Good Samaritan if you behave like Him.
Until Next Time, Lord willing,
READ THE BIBLE THROUGH WITH ME IN 36 WEEKS!
Today’s reading: Exodus 21 / II Samuel 12-13 / Psalm 38 / Acts 13