It all comes together somehow, doesn’t it??? Ha, ha.
So I was sitting downstairs, in the spacious living room, in my glider rocking chair, drinking my lovely tea, and reading morning prayers/Scriptures from The Divine Hours. I copied into my journal this prayer:
Pour your grace into my heart, O Lord, that I … may by His cross and passion be brought to the glory of His resurrection….
Somewhere in this time of prayer, Vitaliy mentions that he’ll possibly be going out to drive folks to work– this is civil/medical employees who are required/allowed to be at work during this very-strict quarantine– the government’s making it tighter every day.
And this surge of anger, irritation, and resentment began to rise up in me. You know, coronavirus exposure, he’s bringing it home. Him, me, four kids. He’s breaking my bubble of perceived safety. On and on my mind fumed. “He is so nuts. Why do we all have to bear the consequences and suffering for his risk level?? Ministry, ‘my eye’ (as Marilla fumed in Anne of Green Gables).”
That midlife angsty feeling about why I have to give up continually, pout pout. The struggle with aging and safety and knowing it all can happen to me, which youth seemed so blithely unaware of and untouched by.
I guess one nice thing about my fuming is that I do it all internally. I make a few silent signs of my struggle, but have to work it all out inside before I put it into words.
(And, now that I’m back in my right mind, I want to say that Yes, Vitaliy has a higher risk level than I, but he also is a very careful person even in his risker actions. Like rock climbing (serious rock climbing, like on the cliffs by the sea)– he carefully uses all the safety ropes and stuff. So it’s not that he’s recklessly risky. His risk-safety balance is also what makes him good at his ministry, too.) So, I generally appreciate all this.
So I fume to my journal, and that is what I want to put out here, in a more ordered form.
I will write it out as in prayer form, as I wrote it:
God, help me to make my sacrifices joyfully, not grudgingly.
And I started to think of all the sacrifices in my life that still hurt me.
God asks of me sacrifices, and I need to be able to offer them without resentment. [My mind roamed through Scripture.] Abraham offered Isaac. God offered His Son. Jesus offered everything.
What’s the key, God, of making sacrifices without resentment?
Incorrect sacrifices are to offer the worst, to offer what is invaluable to me–these are not sacrifices; we don’t notice or feel them. A sacrifice, by definition, has to cost me something.
Somewhere in here, the pharmacist in our church that Vitaliy had offered to drive replies that she doesn’t need a ride, so Vitaliy settles into the couch. (Read the end to know how this turns out.)
So what is the purpose of a sacrifice? God doesn’t need it, so its purpose is in my heart. He wants my heart, my love.
But He’s not sadistic, taking from me a sacrifice just to cause me pain. Pain is involved in sacrifice, but it’s not the point of the sacrifice.
There is always a greater point, sometimes we don’t understand this. Is it that, with the sacrifice, we’re choosing to hold something greater? ‘We’re redeeming something? Like with giving up a certain career to stay home with my kids– it caused me to serve other people (kids, current other ministries), possibly in a much greater way that I cannot sense now.
Jesus’ sacrifice fulfills God’s great plan of redeeming people for Himself in a love relationship. It brings enormous returns, or does it? Not for Him, but for us, the ones sacrificed for.
God’s sacrifices are not necessary for Him but it is the nature of His love and character to do them.
But what about the death of a child? Is that a sacrifice we make, to accept that?
The sacrifices for our sins in the OT. Well, our “sacrifices” are not atoning, they don’t help pay our sin debt.
So how to become willing to sacrifice something for the good of others? We sacrifice to obey God.
Our sin natures want to grudge and resent. We find some evil pleasure in feeling that we have a right to be angry at God (or someone else) for taking something that was rightfully ours.
So maybe the key to un-resentment is not the idea of being willing to make a sacrifice but thinking that we had a right to the valuable (to us) thing that God or someone else takes from us.
Or we feel it was an unnecessary sacrifice, like the death of a child or spouse. Is that rightly a “sacrifice” or just a loss?
God asking David to wander in the wilderness hiding from Saul– God could’ve done that deal a million other ways. Why didn’t Saul die as soon as David was anointed. Why did David feel compelled that he had no right to kill Saul? Did he struggle with being stuck in the wilderness with uncouth men for so long when he could’ve been having a good life on the throne? Was that a sacrifice for David, or is it in another category?
So what’s the key to no resentment (sacrifice or not)?
That God has my good, my best good, in this, His plan.
Trusting in people, even well-meaning ones, we learn that they can make mistakes. This can lead to suspicion and resentment, even when they’re trying to do something good for us.
But with God, part of the no-resentment giving-up is realizing the truth–that I have no right to that thing in the first place. That career. That feeling of safety. I have no right not to get sick with coronavirus. I have no right to have a nice apartment or van. I have no right to have a husband who stays home 24/7 when God has put him in a position of serving. All those things might be given to me, but that’s their nature– gifts. Health, career, possessions. They are gifts from God. Not my rights. Not permanent states of being.
So that talked me down off my high horse of resentment. And the pharmacist called again and said that she can’t get a taxi for the life of her, so he’s driving her to work even now.