Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Not Our Own

One evening my daughter's boyfriend and his best friend were sitting around our dining room table and the question came up, "What one thing would you grab if your house was on fire?"

The question assumed all loved ones and loved pets were safely out of harm's way. . .what possession would you seek to save from the destruction of the flames?  Each person at the table had their various answers, some were sentimental, some were practical.

My mind flew to so many tokens of my children's childhoods, and remembrances of a long and beautiful marriage, but more than that, my mind flew to a day when I did indeed walk through my house choosing what would be saved, not from fire, but from wind.

It was a day much like today.  The curving outer rain bands of a hurricane swirled in the sky.  A category five hurricane was bearing down on our city and I was having to choose which of our belongings would fit into the car with us for the trip to the hospital.  As a nurse, I can always rely on the fact that I will be in the hospital during severe storms.

When faced with the possibility of losing everything, the possession of things takes on a different meaning.  I found there were very few things that I actually felt I needed to carry with me away from our house.  Once all four of us were packed (our oldest daughter was still living away at college at the time), we stood outside on our front yard, held hands and prayed over the house we had lived in for so many years. 

The truth is, it was and still is, not our house.  The things inside are not ours.  They are God's and we are merely the stewards of them.  He has the right to do with them as He will.  Acknowledging this, we drove away not knowing if we would ever see our home again.

More than our things, our very selves belong to God.  We have been bought with a price and we belong to God:

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."  I Corinthians 6:19,20

What a sense of peace this can bring to our hearts to know that our things, our possessions and every our very being is His.  They are His to maintain and His to control.  We can let our fingers release their grasp and simply be the stewards He desires us to be.  In doing so, we will find more enjoyment, more pleasure and more satisfaction in what He has given us than when we tried to hold tightly to them lest they somehow slip away.

So what happened that stormy day when we drove away from home with the category five hurricane headed our way?  The storm came, but it just sort of fizzled out along the way and it ended up being only a lot of wind and rain.  Our house was just fine, our things were just fine.  But there was something more.  Deep in my heart I knew that I could live without those things.  Yes, there would be the feeling of loss, but I had walked away from them once.  I knew -- I still know -- that if called to do so again, the Lord Himself would be sufficient, would be all I would need to sustain and keep me.

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth.
What though the darkness round me lie?
Songs in the night He giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
Whilst to that Rock I'm clinging,
Since Christ is Lord of Heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?
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