Saturday, August 29, 2009

You know what really hurts?

I am still in awe of the quick ruling in favor of my wife's disability claim, and the dawning awareness that four of the hardest, most painful years of my life are about to have a measure of relief.

A few times, I've called these the worst four years of my life. So much stuff all at once. My vibrant wife suffered a terrible decline in health, then became someone I didn't recognize for awhile. Our autistic son suffered his first grand mal seizures. Our finances tanked. Divorce and bankruptcy entered my thinking and our arguments. I worked extra jobs but things got worse. My church denomination plunged into madness and I found myself deep in ugly conflicts.

Looking at that today, I'm amazed - but the litany of calamities doesn't bug me. Instead, Psalm 30:5-6 comes to mind,

For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, his favor for a lifetime.

Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning.

You know what hurts? As I look back over these last four years, I see the ways that God and kind people reached in to keep us going. I see sacrifices and kindnesses of all kinds. I see extravagant measures of compassion, patience and love poured out all over me, not the least of which was the deepening of our marriage and the resurrection of my wife, at least in personality if not in physical strength. I see both of our kids flourishing here. I see how our parish grew in numbers, resources, knowledge, prayer, service to the community and just about every way a church could experience blessing. I see God changing me in ways I've long desired.

WHAT HURTS SO MUCH is how little I appreciated the blessings while whining about and protesting the hurts. What hurts is that I was so full of myself that I emptied my thinking of Jesus' message: that God loves me and is ever faithful to that love.

It hurts enough that I can finally step back, bow down and really join the guy in Jesus' little story,

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'"

And in saying that, I know I will be getting up as someone new - not yet complete - but new today and closer to who God wants me to be forever, because He loves me.

God bless you all this weekend.


SL said...

Tim - I will just say: Thank you God for your endless love and compassion.

frcop said...


I thank God for this blessing for your family and for giving you the faith, strength and humility to endure and to really share your faith serves to strengthen all who listen.

TLF+ said...

I was wrapping up with a pre-marital couple this morning. I've certainly been able to give them plenty of "how not to" illustrations from my experiences, but also some "how to" encouragement about the blessing of God and the support of loving people.

Ann McCarthy said...

Thanks for the post. It's helped me.

TLF+ said...

Thank you, Ann. God bless you.