FOR KEEPS

 

By Lisa Huddleston

“Who can separate us from the love of Christ?  Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. … [Nothing] will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:35-39)

Alright then.  Where did I put those stamps?  I remember Sarah handing them to me when she got back from the store yesterday.  And I know where I should have—always do—put them, but they aren’t there.  I have dug through the desk drawer, ransacked my dressing table, and overturned everything on the kitchen counters (and that’s sadly quite a lot this morning), but all to no avail.  Somehow something has separated me from those stupid stamps, and I still haven’t found them (but I will). 

Funny how stuff like this happens around this time of year.  Gifts get misplaced.  Lists fall between catalogs.  Stocking stuffers hide only to be found a year later.  It’s just a crazy time.  The more there is on our minds the less we seem to be able to keep up with it all. And as I ran around like a headless chicken this morning trying to find my stamps before Chuck headed out the door so that he could mail some cards (and even after he silently slipped out the door without them), I began to stir myself up into a steaming gumbo of negativity.  “You’d lose your head if it weren’t attached!”  “Can’t you do anything right?”  “Why are even the simplest things so hard for you?”  And my favorite, “I just want to quit!”

Even as I ranted and huffed around vainly searching for those stamps (and some self respect), I couldn’t keep from hearing a tiny voice in the very back of my head.  Sure there were other voices, too.  Mom saying, “Can’t died in the poor house.”  Doc saying, “You can’t trust your feelings.”  Even Elisabeth Elliot (what was she doing in there?) telling me to “just do the next thing.”  Good advice surely, but the one voice that finally rose above the rest was saying, “You can’t lose me.  I’m here for keeps, Lisa.”  And I sat down to write these thoughts.

Yes.  I remember, Lord.  I read these words just last night.  I breezed past them while focusing on other things, but now I can hear them calling from the turmoil of my thoughts.  “Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”  Not my failures?  Not my stress?  Not my stupidity nor my inability nor even my own desire to quit?  “Nothing.”

And, this morning, as I ponder these words with hungry eyes, I find it interesting that they don’t ask “what can separate us from the love of Christ?”  Rather, they ask “Who?”

It’s not the things that are my problem.  The stamps will turn up somewhere—if not, there are more where they came from.  It’s not the cards nor the cookies nor the parties nor the lists.  It’s not the “whats” that are my problem.  It’s the “who.”

Right now it would be easy to blame the devil.  Sure.  He’s the “who” who would most like to separate me from the love of God, right?  It’s his fault, God. 

Well, that’s partially true.  But, this morning, as I fuss and fume and rant and rave and stir up all sorts of anger and self-loathing along with the dust and clutter, I am the “who” these verses seem to be pointing a finger at.  And thankfully, in this brief moment of clarity, I can see that even I can’t lose this gift.  I am loved in spite of myself—and I (even horrible I) can’t do anything to mess that up.  Yeah.

Now, where did I put those stamps?

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