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A grateful one bows before you to thank you, Lord…in silent tears, there is so much to thank you for.  I have nothing, nothing if not for you.  How can I repay you?  How can I ever give back to You?  I always will remember your great kindness.

In desperate need, I cried out you delivered me…my soul from death, my feet from stumbling, my eyes from tears.  I will lift up salvation’s cup and call Your name.  How can I repay You?  How can I ever give back to You?  I always will remember your great kindness.  ~ John Ellis, Tree63

Today I experienced the joy of sharing something God has done for me with a friend.  She’s actually my hair stylist and whenever I visit with her it’s a blast.  I don’t know the extent of her faith in God or how personal it is to her, but I always feel open to share whatever with her.  We joked that bartenders and hair stylists probably hear people’s woes and personal stories more than anyone.  We’ve been “friends” long enough that we ask about each other’s kids and families while she washes and trims my hair.  She asked how the girls were doing so I shared with her the awesome thing Jesus did for my youngest on Wednesday night.  It was fresh on my heart and on the tip of my tongue, just begging to come out and glorify God.  She was happy along with me.  I hope it will stick with her and cause her to think about God tonight and want to know Him more.

I know I don’t always feel like praising and sharing what God’s doing, especially when those low times hit and I feel sad or am having a hard time pulling my feet out of the sticky glop of self-pity….but truly His kindness is shown to me and my family by walking with us THROUGH yuck, through hard times, through times of great need so that we realize the truest, deepest, real need of our hearts and entire lives is to know Him.  In fact, I’m starting to think that the most loving way to pray for those we love is not that God will always protect them from difficulties, keep them from trouble and disease, or prevent them from experiencing pain but that when those times come He will be so near and so evident they can’t ignore Him.  He’s proven time and time again lately that I can trust Him to do that very thing.  He is trustworthy.  Even though it may not seem so sometimes, He is love.  And love is kind.

Do you remember the story of King Saul who had hunted and chased David, trying to kill him?  One day Saul and his son Jonathan were killed in battle and David actually mourned.  Jonathan had been the closest friend he’d had.  King David sent his servants to seek out any remaining descendants of Saul and discovered several including Mephibosheth, one of Jonathan’s sons, living nearby.  Mephibosheth had been dropped as a little boy and was crippled, unable to walk.  When he was summoned to the king’s court he feared for his life.  After all his grandfather had tried to murder David, why else would David call for Saul’s descendants to be rounded up and brought in?  Instead David told Mephibosheth that he had made a promise to Jonathan to show kindness to any of his relatives and intended to keep that promise.  From that point on he would live in the palace and eat at David’s own table every day as if he were his own son.  He was seated with the king in a place of honor.  He was surprised by great kindness.

We may feel entitled to a better life and get angry when it gets really hard, but what are we actually entitled to?  We are so often just like those who called for the death of the King, Jesus.  We don’t deserve even a second glance from the mighty, powerful, wonderful, holy, gale-force Spirit of God that exists for all time and beyond and could snuff out the tiny flame of our lives with the slightest breath.  We’re lame in our sin from birth and should be outcasts – not allowed in the kingdom.  Instead, Jesus comes to each of us where we are and carries us to the table to sit with Him, the King.  Life stills hurts sometimes but those hurts are dwarfed by the enormous love and kindness God’s shows to us every day, as He keeps us close to Him.  Like the words of the song “How He Loves” say so well:  “All of the sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affection is for me.”  (by John Mark McMillan)

How can I repay You, Jesus?  How can I ever give back to you, God?  I always will remember, in every circumstance, your great kindness.

When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life  Titus 3:4-5  NLT