My son woke up with a fever; he wouldn’t be going to school. I got in the car to take my daughter to school. I turned the key in the ignition. Nothing. We quickly switched to Kris’ car and off we went. Later that morning, we tried jumping my car. The battery wouldn’t charge. Kris drove to the auto store – it was a bad battery and thankfully under warranty. He drove back home, but when he went to put the battery in, he realized the guy at the store gave him the wrong battery. By now, he had used every ounce of energy he had. There wasn’t enough time for him to go back to exchange the battery then. I got home from picking up my daughter, and Kris immediately left to go exchange the battery. The problem was he needed to eat, and he ran into some pretty heavy construction traffic. It was too much, so he turned around and came home. We desperately needed to go to the grocery store, so dinner was an interesting mix. Finally, we gave up on getting to the auto store that night. Kris went to pull his car into the garage to discover he now had a flat tire. We called the shop. They didn’t have an opening until Thursday, but maybe, just maybe, if he got there right at 7, they could squeeze him in. My two-year old poured his milk on the couch. My 7-year old was on the verge of tears because he just doesn’t feel well. Kris and I were done.
One of the most challenging hurdles for us in this chapter is Kris’s limited energy. So what may seem like bad for some can be catastrophic for us. This day back in December was just that.
We decided to just put the kids the bed early because we had nothing left. I went into my four-year old daughter’s room. She bounded across her room, grabbed her purple Bible and plopped down on the floor. “I need to read to my little friends, mommy.” I was so tempted in my exhaustion to say no – that she needed to brush her teeth and get to bed. But instead, I let her. She opened her Bible, flipping the pages. “I have to find the right one (flip, flip flip); here it is!” Then she said “I don’t know the story, but I can sing the words!” And she started to speak/sing, “Away in a manager, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head. The stars in the sky look down where He lay. The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.”
I looked down at her Bible and saw the title page for 1 Kings. Our King, our ONE King came here. Not as a great ruler, not into a wealthy family or a palace or even a nice suburban home. He didn’t even have a crib. He lost his father. He lost a friend. He was falsely accused. He suffered. He was hungry. He was tempted. He wept. He was abandoned. He was beaten. He came to die. He came for you. He came to give us hope – that trust and reliance that would allow us to be thankful, which would give us unexplainable peace.
And this is the beauty of and final piece of The Hope Cycle:
“Therefore, since we have a high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us fold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
At the center of the whole process is grace. You see, God doesn’t just leave us hanging. He doesn’t let us suffer just for sufferings sake. He understands our suffering because He too suffered.
In His grace, He uses it… for our growth and for His glory. He uses our suffering – to build perseverance, to deepen our character and to give us hope. It’s all because of His grace. And here’s what is so cool… look back at verse 16 – “find grace to help us in our time of need.” That Greek word used for help there is actually a nautical term and the only other place you see it in the New Testament is in Acts 27:17… When Paul was in the storm on his way to Rome… it says “they used to supports to undergird the ship.” Undergird means “to sDuring storms, sailors would take rope or chains and wrap them around the boat to literally hold it together as the storm waves beat against it.
That is the word for help used in Hebrews 4 – it means that He wraps grace around us to hold us together during the storms of life. It means that when the wind and waves are beating on our lives from all sides and we fear we aren’t going to make it through, His grace holds us together. His grace supports us. His grace strengthens us. His grace keeps us secure. It doesn’t stop the waves from coming, but it keeps from falling apart.
The Hope Cycle: Hope, Thanks, Peace – all wrapped in Grace.
I am so thankful for His grace. It is now March. Four months have passed since I originally wrote the words above, and I am happy to report that we are in a much better place. Kris isn’t without symptoms, but we are learning to manage it. We have a great deal of margin in our schedules these days in order to provide room for rest. He’s figuring out what he can and can’t eat, and we are settling into our new normal. We continue to pray that the medicines he is on keep working and his iron levels remain in the normal range. Thank you for continuing to journey with us!