Friday, March 17, 2006

A Moving Moment

Six months...almost to the day.

The Gomez family moved out of our house today into their own apartment.

With the help of some very dear friends we packed the family's belongings onto a trailer (don't worry someone sensible arrived later and organized it better) and we took them to their new apartment only a couple of miles away.

Six months...almost to the day.

We went through a lot during those six months since Katrina hit. Complete strangers moving into our home with very little notice. Admittedly there were some very, VERY difficult moments...but there were also some amazing extended periods of joy...pure joy.

I can not count the number of people during these past six months who advised me - with the best of intentions - "You need to get them out of your house." None of those people had ever met one member of the Gomez family but they had already decided what was best.

I also must confess I can not count the number of times I felt the same way. I wrote about some of those hard times, but certainly not all of them...I will readily admit it was difficult.

My blog friends, Katy and Doug, have been going through a rough period in recent months and not too long ago I made a comment on Katy's blog - - that I was going to take it up with God when I get to Heaven (there's a matter of presumption there we needn't debate here) the merits of this too often repeated cliche of, "God only gives you as much as you can handle."

One of Katy's readers - forgive me for being lazy and not going back to find the exact response and crediting the author - left an astute comment essentially asking,"Where's that in the Bible?" Her point was that throughout the Bible there are examples of God giving people WAY MORE than they could "handle." In fact, her point was that strife is one of God's key strategies to grow us in our relationship with Him.

It struck me like lightning.

Quite often God does give us more than we can handle. We are dealt a full house of hassle and turmoil while the other players seem to be blessed with an easy street straight flush.

Life is hard...and many - if not most of us - fail to cope with all of its obligations: the stress, the financial burdens, medical problems, and job demands...the list goes on and on and on and on and that's only my list.

If we let it...we fail...and that's a good thing.

Okay, perhaps I should have warned you in advance...that is the hard part to accept. You have to admit you can't handle it.

Get down to your knees and finally admit you're incapable of handling it all...alone.

And then cry out for help...God's help.

That's when it happens: God says something equivalent to, "Whew! I've been waiting to love you and hold you and help you...but it had to be your choice. Free choice...remember?"

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:3

Six months...almost to the day.

There were a lot of hard moments during these past six months...frustration, anger, disbelief...but I'm now convinced the memories of those hard moments will quickly fade.

I'm equally sure that the good times will be etched on our hearts...permanently.

Six months...almost to the day the Gomez family literally had nothing but the clothes on their backs. Tonight they have an apartment of their own, every family member is in school, and they are possibly in the best position of their lives to actually grow and "succeed."

So who gets the credit?

Amy and I certainly don't. The Gomez family - although everyone applauds their efforts - didn't do any of it alone.

It was Christ's love...

It was YOU.

Your acceptance and generous spirit gave this one family another chance...I believe a better chance.

I can not begin to thank all of you...some of you gave to this family without ever even letting us know your names. Some of you have given repeatedly, not simply money, but with prayer and encouragement for them and for Amy and me.

How can we possibly thank you? How can the Gomez family thank you?

The only way I know is to say that Amy and I feel so very privileged to be a tiny part of this outpouring of love...this abundance of caring...this body of Christ.