Now I can confidently say to you, dear readers, under penalty of perjury, that I have no skeletons in my closets. But simultaneously, I must hereby confess to you, there is another dead body in my basement. (I am not saying that I know anything whatsoever about how he/she? came to be there. In fact, I have never seen that body before!) Can I help it if they end up in my basement?
And I must further confess – you know those things that go bump in the dark? I am one of them. At least last night I was. I bumped into my vacuum cleaner (which I had not put away) and my big toe was the casualty of the encounter. I have never seen so much blood. (well probably I have, I just can’t remember when) All this to say, today’s visit to Urgent Care and not being able to wear a shoe are serious interruptions to my Advent agenda. This wasn’t part of my plan. I didn’t figure being injured into my equation.
After all, I have a house to prepare. But maybe it is more necessary that I spend time preparing my heart than my house. I guess I can do that from the couch, right? These are the verses that have come alive for me today, although I don’t see the connection to Advent at present. But here is the lesson I am learning first hand.
“But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. . . . If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:18-19 & 26)
I am in the every part suffers with it phase at the moment. My body is showing solidarity and deference to my left big toe. Who knew one big toe made such a difference in my mobility and daily routines? But it does! Ok, big toe, I appreciate you now, let me count the ways! In the same way 1 Corinthians 12:27 tells me,
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” I am a part of a body just like my injured big toe is a part of my body. Romans 12:4-5 explains it this way,
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
I belong. I belong to something bigger than myself. Romans 12:6 further explains,
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” This makes sense. We are not all the same. As we just read in verse four we do not all have the same function. (because we are different) No other part of my body can substitute for my ailing big toe. As members of Christ’s body we are called to a purpose, a purpose that is fulfilled through our connection with the other members of the body. Without connection, the body doesn’t function at all.
But God brings unity while maintaining our unique diversity. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 explains this saying,
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
Members of Christ’s body came to my aid last night. My neighbors across the street showed up to help me out. You know them, they are the housemates of Stella and Toby, whom you may remember from a recent, previous post. I was grateful for their physical presence with me in my hour of unexpected injury.
Unexpected is the operative word here. This was not part of my plan. My Advent season and preparations have been hijacked by my big toe’s physical trauma. Or have they? Proverbs 19:21 reminds me,
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Those words are reassuring, comforting, encouraging – my Heavenly Father is Sovereign and He is good. Just because I don’t see the upside of my troublesome toe, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. These words from Isaiah 55:8-9 shed some light on my situation saying,
” ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ ”
I can trust that my Heavenly Father is present with me in this interruption to my Advent season of preparation. Mary and Joseph had a huge interruption to their preparations for Jesus’s birth. (like a road trip in the ninth month of pregnancy) Why should I expect any different? So today I will pray this prayer of David as I ask God to prepare my heart for His coming –
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12)
maybe Advent is more about letting God do the preparation work He wants to do in me, than me trying to prepare myself on my own?
Jesus has come! Jesus is coming! Listen . . .
“A voice of one calling: In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.” (Isaiah 40:3-4)
Advent awaits, interruptions and all!
sincerely, Grace Day