I saw a picture on Instagram this morning from @desiringgod. It quoted Psalm 40:2: He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of my miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
My grandfather died on Friday, and we bury him tomorrow, so wasted time and wasted days are on my mind a lot right now. What occurred to me when I read this verse is just how literally I’ve always translated it. I’ve always thought of this verse in terms of how God has saved so many people from lives of addiction and lawlessness, and how grateful the ones I’ve met are for it.
Today, that’s not what I’m thinking. Sometimes, for some people – myself included – what that miry bog and pit of destruction really look like is a life of luxury, and plenty, and abundance, but none of it has the stamp of God on it. I’ve driven my nice cars and worn my nice clothes and gone to my nice churches and still had the stink of the grave all over me and no sign of God anywhere in my life to be seen because I was so busy living for myself and not thinking about God AT ALL! I’ve been selfish, self-centered, and self-righteous. Thinking I had my act together – and looking like it, too – but never letting God into all the parts of my heart. Trying to behave well, without trying to be well. And those days were empty and wasted and more disconnected from God than people could possibly imagine.
Yesterday and today I have been fretting over the fact that I did not bring a suitable outfit for my grandfather’s viewing, only an outfit for the funeral. The bottom line is: I’ve not been to enough funerals to remember that there’s usually a viewing or visitation beforehand. Besides that, I got a frenzied call from my mother after my grandfather’s second seizure on Friday, asking me to bring her and my father some things from their home, and we live eight hours away from my grandparents. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, my mother was crying and distraught, I’d just heard my grandfather most likely would not still be alive by the time I arrived, and I could not think straight. All of this before 9 a.m. on Friday. And now, here I sit, just a little over 48 hours later and I am worried about the fact that I “should have” thought about a simple change of clothes.
That’s pit of destruction, miry bog thinking. And I am just done!
My grandfather loved me. He is even better able to love me now. My family loves me. The most important thing is that I do what I do out of love for all of them. Because 2 days from now, nobody is going to remember OR CARE that I didn’t have appropriate-enough clothes for 2 functions. What’s going to matter is that I showed up and served as I could with my whole heart because I love these people and they are suffering!
I refuse to let Satan cajole me, rush me, or make me take my focus off of being present for my family over a simple change of clothes. People are rushing around trying to please everyone, making sure they have decent clothes to wear. On the one hand, it is endearing. It really is. Everyone trying to make these days as they should be. But on the other hand, all this rushing around over a change of clothes has people stressing over something that we have been told in Scripture not to worry about.
Granted, I may not look as beautiful as a lily of the field when I show up at my grandfather’s visitation, but God will be judging my heart, and it will be in the right place, whether my outfit is quite the one I’d like or not.
P.S. – this is not a slam on the folks who are trying to make sure they have appropriate clothing. At all. This is their way of relieving some of their own stress. I am all for allowing people to grieve and process the way they need to, especially when that means auto-pilot can kick in and alleviate some stress of having to think about what’s being prepared for. All I’m saying is: Stressing and Rushing are not how I best serve people. I drove 8 hours to get here. I am not spending another 4 hours of my short time here driving to town, picking out an appropriate outfit, and driving back from town. I don’t need any more clothes because my heart is adorned well enough.
P.S.S. – God was gracious to me, and ON ACCIDENT, I happened to pick up one extra shirt that will go quite nicely with the nice slacks that I brought. I thought about putting it back down when I saw I had carried it out of the bedroom, but I just didn’t have strength enough to go back into my bedroom and stare at more clothes, feeling helpless and confused about what and how much to bring.