Monday, October 7, 2013

Grapes of...Grace.

I'm afraid.  I'm also arrogant, so when I saw fear rising up in my six year old daughter (and not myself) I wanted to wage war against it, for her sake, in the word of God.  Let me explain my fear first.  Our church is about to break ground on a building project that is bigger than we can afford.  We have sought the Lord over six years and come to this place, but it almost unraveled at the last minute.  We were denied by our city Planning and Zoning Board.  We appealed to City Council because we felt we had met all the obligations.  The City found in our favor and has allowed us to proceed.  The following day I was confessing to several others that in a way I would have been relieved if the council had voted against us.  We would be back in the safe, comfortable, place of feeling in control.  I didn't recognize my fear.

I was distracted and alarmed instead by the fear my daughter had after my wife found and killed a black widow spider in our back yard.  Now our daughter thinks a spider is under every toy and under every sheet.  We have prayed and sought the Lord and talked about trusting him.  This is all the back story for the grapes, not of wrath but of grace.  I wanted to bless my daughter so I took her to Numbers 13 and we read how twelve spies went out from Israel to look over the promised land.  They found it to be a land flowing (just like the Lord had said) with milk and honey.  They found a cluster of grapes so large it took two men to carry it, and they named the place Eshcol (Bushel of Grapes).

As I continued reading to the response of the people I was already preparing to demonstrate for my daughter the necessity to trust in the Lord even if we are afraid.  The people had seen God's provision but were too afraid to lay hold of it.  But I was unable to get that far.  As I was reading, my two year old son came to me in his distress.  He had reached up onto the dining room table and had taken a grape from his sisters bowl and the grape was now lodged in his esophagus.  Back blows would not dislodge it, he was gasping, we called 911.  Five minutes passed in an eternity before the EMS and Ambulance arrived.  I held him on my lap trying to comfort and calm him as he gasped (successfully) for air in the back of that ambulance.  Then I heard those words from the man who had been instructing me through this process, "it's out."  I turned to see there on my shoulder the now dislodged grape resting there.  A block from the hospital I also saw the the provision of God in the form  of a grape.

My son is fine.  He had aspirated and had pneumonia but I am thankful the Dr.'s at the hospital identified this so we could be treating it.  Then my attention was focused on my own fear.  I was reminded that God is God.  I will not have the air to finish this sentence if God does not uphold me by the word of his power.  He exercises his authority over snow storms, and traffic lights, and black widow spiders, and banks, and grapes.  If you are walking with the Lord and in obedience to Him, " strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."  He has caught me and my son and my church again and again and again.  I write this post largely because i never want to forget his immeasurable goodness to me.

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