Read: 2 Chronicles 30:1-32:23
Wow. That’s the best way that I can describe this day. Wow. From start to finish, wow.
I got up dark and early like I normally do, snuggled with my Cinnamon Apple tea and my Bible while I periodically snuck peeks into the living room to watch my husband doing his morning workout. While reading I laughed out loud at king Sennacherib (32:9-19) and rejoiced with the Israelites in their victory over the pompous windbag (32:20-23). When I finished I felt like a gigantic weight had been lifted from me that I didn’t even realize was there. God takes care of his kids! It’s so funny because of all the times I’ve attempted to read through Chronicles I’ve always done it casually (read slowly) and have gotten lost in all the battles. I’d come to another one and think “Ugh! Not another war! BORING!” But that hasn’t happened at all this time. By reading it through with a specific time limit in mind and 2 ½ pages a day to get through the battles haven’t drug on like they usually do and I’ve been able to see with amazing clarity the overlying message that I’ve always missed before. GOD TAKES CARE OF HIS KIDS! When His children are drifting too far away from Him, He pulls them back in by sending an attacking army at them and helping them remember that they need His help so they cry out to Him. When they’re right on track with Him the attacks still come, but in these times He delivers them in amazing ways.
I liked how today’s reading started out with a celebration of the Passover Feast that had been long overdue. Of all the feasts to read about them celebrating, that is the one that I think is the most significant. Because although the Day of Atonement is the most sacred day of the Hebrew calendar, Passover is one of the most jubilant, it’s a feast! And these Hebrews were having such a great time celebrating the LORD’s deliverance of their ancestors from Egypt that they decided they needed to celebrate for an extra week! Have you ever been to one of those kinds of parties before where you’re just having such a great time that you don’t want it to end? I just finished up a party like that in our back yard to celebrate God’s revelation of our mission to pass out Bibles. Hallelujah!
What a day that God gave me today! I started by reading this great story of deliverance and walked away feeling ten pounds lighter because of the way that God delivered them from the hands of their enemies, yet again. After that I had a great conversation with my husband about the scriptures I had just finished reading. Next I got the boys (my husband and son) out the door to school and work and sat down in the recliner with my laptop to get some writing done before my daughter woke up, since she had amazingly slept through the usual morning chaos. But as I opened up my computer for the day, I couldn’t seem to get even word one on to the screen! Here I was all pumped up about getting to talk to you about this great story we’ve just read and I suddenly had writers block! Sigh… So I opened up some other projects that I’ve been working on and played with them for a while, although I really would have preferred to have been writing, but I figured I might as well make the best of my time. After two hours had passed, Anna had woken up I’d gotten a little done on the other project, nothing written still, and taken about ten phone calls and twenty texts I came to the realization that I probably wasn’t going to get to write today. And I was pretty close to right since I’m writing this at 11:30 pm. In all the phone call/texting madness I was asked to babysit a friend’s boys (close to my sons age), invited to be treated for lunch at Chik-fil-a with another friend and her daughter, received news that another friend’s aunt with terminal cancer was doing worse – prayed with her what little we could in the chaos of texts coming in and calls, made an appointment with the massage therapist to work out all the kinks I’ve managed to fill my body with by sitting very improperly at my desk while I write for hours on end. All in a short two hour span! Just as my friend was pulling in to pick us up for lunch I was finishing the phone call to the school to change the after school transportation plans for my son. My daughter and I hopped into their van and they whisked us away from, at least some, of the craziness. And in the car ride over I marveled at how quickly MY plans for my day had changed from a quiet afternoon at home writing and working on the website, to a crazy fun filled day with a free lunch at a favorite restaurant, a stop by Barnes and Noble to talk to a guy about starting a writer’s guild and check in with him on my “Christian Fiction Book club” that meets there. Then they dropped us back off at home where we threw our leftovers in the fridge before we headed back out to the Dollar General to pick up some hot dogs, buns, marshmallows and graham crackers for the impromptu “fire party” that had somehow managed to get planned via text for dinner during our lunch out. I had just enough time to pick up our supplies before it was time to be at the school to pick up my son and run around the pick-up line shouting to the moms I knew and letting them know about the party at our back yard tonight. “Be there or be square!” We have so much fun around here! Then I shuttled the kids off to home before racing on to my massage appointment where my new friend Dianne Lawson practically beat me up working out all the kinks that I had worked into my arms and legs and neck! That poor woman had to WORK! But oh was she good!!!!
You know it’s funny, I learned quite the lesson on the massage table today as Dianne was causing me so much pain…. and yet, not only was I PAYING her to cause me pain, but I had called her and asked her to cause me that pain… because I had been in pain to begin with!!! How messed up is that? It started because I spend hours a day hunched over a computer keyboard without moving from where I’m sitting, stopping to take a drink or apparently even remember to breathe. I’m not sure how that works, but she kept telling me that I need to remember to breathe, and I would find myself holding my breath! How did she know that? (Cause she’s that good!) Anyway, all that hunching was causing my neck and shoulder muscles to tighten up. Eventually they got so tight that they started hurting. Yesterday it all came to a head, literally, as the pain started creeping up the back of my neck over the top of my head all the way to my eyebrows! By the end of the night last night my head hurts so badly I could hardly see straight! So that’s when I called Dianne, I knew I needed help and the Holy Spirit had been nudging me for the last few weeks that I needed to get a massage, but I’ve been too cheap to spend the money on one. My thinking was that massages were for luxury, not really anything else. Well, last night as I was debating whether I should call Dianne or not the Holy Spirit says to me “When you hurt something what’s your first instinct?” “To put my hand on it and rub… Oooooooohhhhhhhhhh…… OK Lord, I get it, massage is THE most natural healing method there is, so natural that we just do it by instinct when we’re in pain. Alright, I’ll call her.”
Then today after all the craziness, there I was, lying on her heated massage table breathing in the heady scent of a fragrant oil on the headrest towel, with Dianne applying pressure to my already aching muscles to release the tension and stress that I had allowed to build up in them it hit me. That’s exactly what God does! When we’re in pain we cry out to Him, and He comes and He applies pressure to the tender spots with His healing hands. And while it may hurt for a while and cause us even more pain, it’s a “good pain”. If you’ve ever had a massage you know exactly what I mean when I say “good pain”. It’s a pain that’s, well, painful, but it’s a good pain because you know that it’s making the other pain better in the end. There were several points in my massage where Dianne asked me, “is this OK”? And I would say, “It hurts but it’s not more than I can handle. I’ll tell you if it’s too much. It’s a good pain, I know it’s helping.” The first time I said the words “good pain” it struck both of us at the same time – there aren’t many things you can say that about. And yet as I sit here tonight pondering it all again I’m realizing, it is ALL good pain. No, it’s not all fun pain, or enjoyable pain, but it is all good pain. Because it’s all good for us pain.
Romans 8:28 tells us
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.
And 2 Chronicles 32:7&8 say
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.
Take confidence in these words – they are the truth.
If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31