Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Is Jesus Enough?

I get these daily devotions from a wonderful group of ladies called the “Proverbs 31 Ministry.” Today’s devotion was called “Is my Jesus Enough?” Hopping on that topical bandwagon, I remember back when I was homeless. (By homeless, I mean I had a few places to spend the night, but I didn’t have a place of my own. Although I did spend a few nights on the streets just because I thought it was the right thing to do at one point.) I became a Christian while I was homeless. During that time, God just perched Himself on my shoulder and didn’t stop calling my name until I realized who He was.

When you are so persistently sought after and loved like that, you can’t deny it. And so I gave Him my life. I really didn’t want my life anyway and was kind of relieved to give it away. I remember when I finally realized that life is precious. I hadn’t thought of it like that, I guess. I had suffered from depression which really did a number of my perception of reality. I knew what a mess I could make out of my life and was eager to see what someone else might do with it. Had to be better than my failed attempt.

I wasn’t one of those Christians who hears the Gospel, responds to God’s call, and immediately goes back to living the life they had once lived. I didn’t want anything to do with my past way of living. It was a disaster. It wasn’t fun. It was stinking awful. So when I decided to give Christianity a ‘try,’ I wasn’t going to mess around. I had been given a portable tape player with a FM/AM radio, and every morning, after having poured over the phone book looking for places to go interview for a job, I’d head out for the bus and plug into what Christian station I could find. I found myself singing Christian songs at the bus stops and just feeling like I was floating. And I did like the music, but I really listened for the programs. I wanted to hear how other people had interpreted Scripture and what their experiences were like being a Christ-follower.

Then one day came when I didn’t want to have my attention taken away from God by these commentators, so I left my radio at home so that I could ‘just talk to Jesus.’ My bus ride, to and from the job I eventually got, took two hours. After work that day, I was eager to get back on the bus and ‘just talk to Jesus’ some more. I was enjoying my time and remembered a song that was played a lot at the time on the radio called “Just Give Me Jesus.” I prayed that I would never forget that all I ever really need is Jesus. That I could overcome anything as long as I had Him as my Savior.

I had to take several different buses to get home, and when I got off the bus in Downtown Dallas, I realized that I had left my purse on the last bus. I just laughed. It was as if God wanted to know if I really meant it, that if I had literally everything stripped away from me, would I be ok just having Jesus? Now I really should’ve panicked a little more. My purse had my ID, my last two dollars and my bus pass. If I didn’t get it back, I couldn’t go home. I couldn’t get to work the next day. I just couldn’t get anything.

But I was fine. Truly. I knew, really KNEW, that no matter what happened, I’d be alright since I had Jesus as my Savior. And I was. I asked the lady at the bus terminal to call the driver of the bus I’d last been on. The driver found my purse and brought it back to the terminal just in time for me to make the last bus that night going to the house in which I was living. My calm reaction surprised me. I hadn’t handled any kind of stress calmly before. Jesus was enough for me.

Last week, my Mamaw, my dad’s mom, went from bad to worse really quickly. She’d been in the hospital for a few weeks, having gone in because she couldn’t keep any food down. The doctors discovered that she had scar tissue causing a blockage in her colon. So they went in and cleared it out. But then she still couldn’t hold down anything. They did some more tests and determined that a portion of her stomach had stopped functioning. Just up and quit the job. During that time, she developed pneumonia in her lungs and a portion of her lungs had collapsed. They fixed that and were trying to remove the fluid from her lungs, but she really didn’t want any tubes hooked up to her. My family and I were down in Houston last week for Thanksgiving, so I had the opportunity to visit with her, and I did everyday, usually more than once a day. Thanksgiving evening, she started failing quickly, and my sweet uncle Danny called everyone to come up to the hospital. She had to be put on a breathing machine. She had already told her family that she didn’t want to be kept alive by machines and that if she was going to have to be kept alive with machines if she crashed, to not bring her back. After her children discussed it, they turned off the machines Saturday morning. We were all up there and sang hymns over her and read Scripture. It was even harder because I had to drive back up to Dallas that day. After I visited with her a couple of times and had lunch nearby, just in case, we left Houston.

And ever since, I’ve been a brat. I’ve been short with my children and my husband. I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions, with no real attempt to harness them or control them. I’m a mess again. And I realized today, that as often as I’ve prayed for Mamaw to be comfortable and for my family to be comforted, I haven’t really allowed God to comfort me. I haven’t rested in knowing that no matter what, I’ve got Jesus, and that’s enough. That my Mamaw has ‘got’ Jesus, and that that’s enough. I have been jealous that she gets to go be with her Savior and reunited with her husband of over 50 years, my sweet Papaw. I’ve been jealous, mad, confused, and just really upset.

And she hasn’t even passed yet! They moved her back home so she could rest more comfortably. She’s got a strong ticker working for her. But we all know that without the help from those machines that her body just won’t last that much longer.

These last few days have taught me that I haven't been relying on God as desperately as I have in the past. As I need to on a daily basis. And it's so like Him, that this devotion would be sent this week to my inbox so that I could really ask myself whether Jesus is still enough for me.

Please pray for my family during this time. Mamaw is amazing, and although we are all excited for her to be in the presence of her Lord, we will all miss her terribly.

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