The sun is setting outside the sanctuary windows. I work hard to be present – to continue listening as a friend in the pew speaks to me before evening worship starts. I pray silently that she doesn’t see the tears that threaten to expose my emotional response to what she is saying. It’s stupid.
“I’m over this,” I scold myself. “I’ve been over this for years!”. The little stab of pain surprises me in the way a driver cutting you off in traffic catches you off guard.
My friend is rhapsodizing about another woman. A wonderful, talented, godly, beautiful woman who I too, cheer for. Over and over, my friend says, “She’s just SO GOOD! She’s just SO GIFTED!”
99% of the time I would just happily agree, but this evening, in this setting, where others are validated with titles and pay-checks, the Evil One translates “good” and “gifted” to “chosen where you’re not good enough”, “important where you’re not“. The words aren’t true, but they bump into a wound that makes them feel true. The wound has healed over with much prayer and attention, but there’s a scar, and in the right circumstances it can surprise me with a leftover ache.
I’m still trying to brush away the feelings of inadequacy as we sing the opening praise song. “Let the King of my heart be the shadow where I hide.”
Yes, Lord, help me to hide in You, in Your place for me, in Your words about me, in Your story.
Can any of you relate to this? Are there times when emotion – pain, fear, envy, resentment – knock you upside the head without warning?
This morning I was reading Luke 1… about Elizabeth, who, with a wound of infertility, accepted her supporting role for other characters who in turn pointed to Jesus as the main character. She was a cheerleader for Mary – the one who got pregnant with the Messiah without even trying. And mother to John the Baptist, odd desert-dweller, announcing the main event.
Maybe Satan whispered in Elizabeth’s ear, “You’re not important like her! Child-bearing came easy for her because she’s SPECIAL and you’re not! You’re just an ‘also ran’. Her kid will be perfect. Yours just a bug-eater”
And yet Elizabeth was humble and affirming of Mary.
You’re so blessed among women,
and the babe in your womb, also blessed!
And why am I so blessed that
the mother of my Lord visits me?
The moment the sound of your
greeting entered my ears,
The babe in my womb
skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.
Blessed woman, who believed what God said,
believed every word would come true! Luke 1:42-45
Maybe there were times when Elizabeth’s scar ached in Mary’s presence. But I think it was because she knew it wasn’t about her OR about Mary that she had this godly perspective. It’s about Jesus. Always about Jesus.
It’s not about you. Or me.
But I wonder, did Elizabeth ever need to step back, be still, and ask:
- Where is this pain coming from?
- What is true? What does GOD say?
- Who’s the hero of my story?
God’s provision is often different from what we envision. Sometimes we forget the most important thing – He’s the author and main character in the Grand Story of redemption.
Today, can we be thankful we get to be supporting characters?