An elderly friend of mine has been in the process of moving to a retirement community. It has been stressful to downsize, to make decisions regarding placement and disbursement of her belongings, and very wearying on a physical and emotional level. Just before leaving home to help her to pack, I had a strong compulsion to bring her something that would be meaningful to her, to strengthen her spiritually and encourage her emotionally. I looked around at my things, praying for what I could bring or even pick up along the way there but nothing stood out. Food? Flowers? A book? None of these would meet her immediate need, and I realized that I had nothing to give her that would meet her true need.
“Lord,” I cried, “what can I bring to her? I have nothing.”
“Cindy, your hands may feel empty but your heart is not. Abide in Me. You have Me to bring. I am everything she needs.”
As I pondered these words, the prayer of Arwen in Lord of the Rings echoed in my mind. Frodo was in great need physically and his life was fading as she was desperately trying to bring him to the help he needed.
Arwyn “Whatever grace is given me, let it pass to him…”
God then reminded me of some conversations I had in the past. Others in similar times of stress told me that God’s presence in strength, in gentle wisdom and in peace was present as I was with them. I didn’t do or bring anything of myself, I clearly knew, but His gracious presents were available as I brought them awareness of the Presence of God.
“Lord, may Your gifts of strength in her need, Your wisdom in decisions, Your peace and comfort in her stress be evident as we are together. I don’t want to rely on my own strength but on Yours, for without You I truly bring nothing. I don’t want to do anything of myself. Fill my hands, my heart, my words with only what You bring through my vessel. Whatever grace is given me, let it pass to her.” I prayed. “Amen.”
Amen means “so be it” and is more than just an ending to a prayer. It is a stamp affirming and concluding with surety of what has been stated or sought.
And God tangibly added His ‘Amen’ that night, graciously pouring out His Presence and His Presents to both of us. I marvel at His grace and creativity. While packing together, her stress in decisions wasn’t draining her but draining away from her. My stress in feeling like I had to bring something, do something, to fix it all also faded away and life and lightness was renewed to both of us. After all, He created all things, all life, from ‘nothing’, yet breathed His very life into us. And shines His light through our clay vessels. And as we share His life, His presence, His breath, we make His joy complete. It is an act of worship, a reflection of the Giving-ness of God. In us. Through us. And we find great joy in the process!!
I love how God’s expressions of Himself and His nature are uniquely displayed in His kids so we can bear His likeness. That in itself is a picture of grace – the receiving of His ‘DNA’. As His child, it is not a thing that could we have earned or achieved, but is all completely from and of Him!
Thank You, Lord, that we are never truly ’empty-handed’ when we abide in You, bringing You with and in us. You provide all sufficient grace that is needed in such a custom-designed way. God’s divine grace wrapped in mortal flesh, the extraordinary spiritual life of God delivered through the ordinary physical life of His people. You are our joy. You are our Amen!