It was one of those less-than-ideal Sunday mornings.
The church meeting was to be at our house this week, but we had been busy and the weekly housecleaning hadn’t exactly happened when it was supposed to.
So, as has been the case more times than I care to admit, quite a bit of tidying was left to be done on Sunday. You know, the day of restful, refreshing time with the Lord and His people.
Usually my sweet husband takes care of breakfast for our family on Sunday mornings and even helps straighten up when we’re hosting, but this particular Lord’s day, breakfast was all he had time to contribute. I found myself not-exactly-joyfully decluttering the living room, coaching the kids on sweeping the floors, and cleaning up the breakfast mess in the kitchen. Not to mention preparing the elements for communion and doing something (anything!) to make myself look presentable.
My personal quiet time with the Lord didn’t happen that morning, either. Instead of recognizing Jesus was with me anyway, I pouted. Instead of serving the saints with joy, resentment began to build.
There were probably several things building up to this point, but I can’t remember all the details. I just know I felt very alone in my work. Ragged, unnoticed, uncared for, and alone.
I’m pretty sure the resentment didn’t die down in time to greet people warmly as they arrived. In fact, I remember finally coming downstairs after changing into sensible clothes and doing something with my hair and makeup to find that everyone was seated in the living room.
It was hard to sing joyfully.
But then came time for communion.
It’s difficult to hold on to your resentment when the bread and wine silently tell of the One who died for it.
My thoughts began to spin. I felt alone. He bore my sin alone. I can’t remember, but I think one of the men mentioned something to that effect as they served the Lord’s supper.
Wherever they came from, the meditations on communion spoke to my heart. I’d had a lot of resentment–not just this particular morning, but as a pattern recently. For times when I felt forgotten, alone, neglected, and unhelped in my work–in the cleaning and regular upkeep of life, and most freshly in getting the house ready for church.
Well, I considered, Jesus was betrayed by Judas and abandoned by His followers and friends when He faced His greatest trial, His most weighty work. Jesus bore the wrath of God against sin utterly alone. It wasn’t right. And yet He submitted Himself to it without grumbling, but as the will of God.
He laid down His rights.
There was no defending my resentment at this point. There was only room for repentance.
After all, Jesus, my High Priest, could identify with everything I was feeling. And in all the places where sin merged with those feelings, He had made provision for that, too.
Isn’t the Lord’s table such a precious gift to the body of Christ?!?
After communion, my thoughts turned to the hidden care of God. When my service and work is overlooked, or taken for granted, or underestimated, I can remember that God is all the time doing good to people who do not see it or appreciate it.
When God says to “do in secret” and that He rewards what is “done in secret”, I don’t think it is only a test of our awareness of God and our desire to please Him. It certainly is this, but I see something more. I think the command must also procede from the character of God–that He Himself delights to “do in secret” and that we should be like Him.
The flowers of the field, we are reminded in the same passage, are beautifully arrayed. The lesson of God’s greater care for His people is clearly connected to our observation of the flowers we can see, but have you ever thought of the fact that God makes beautiful flowers that no human eye sees before they whither and die?
If we aren’t there to behold it, does it mean that the beauty and glory of God isn’t there? No.
He creates beauty and shines light in places where we have yet to venture. So much of His handiwork is unseen to us. I can’t help but think He must take some pleasure in His own work regardless of man’s interaction with or appreciation of it.
The implications of this on homemaking are numerous, though I won’t slog through the details here. Suffice it to say, these thoughts exposed yet again how far my self-focused and praise-hungry heart is from the heart of a God who lays down His life for His enemies and who lavishes the earth with unseen and unsung goodness.
Is it too much that I’m called to find joy in serving others? Too much that I have a home to care for and that most of that work falls to me? Too much to trust and persevere even when I feel alone and unnoticed? Even when I am alone and unnoticed?
No. I’m not really alone in any of it. There’s one who sees and cares when it seems no one else does.
My great God and Savior has been there. He knows what it is to be alone. He knows what it is to be unappreciated, and on a scale far greater I can imagine.
Yes, I’m in good company.
We, dear sisters, are in good company.