Sunday, November 18, 2007

Undeserved Blessings

This past week God taught me a lot about His goodness and His amazing ability to come through in need (again!). This time, however, it was in a context of particular unworthiness on my part.

I bought a new bike this summer that I absolutely LOVE. The picture above IS my bike. Sweet ride, huh? I ride it almost every day between City and East campus. This has been a fun adventure to see how fast I can make the commute and has been an very enjoyable time, allowing me to spend time outside that I never would have had I driven or ridden the bus this whole time. It has also been about my only source of exercise all semester.

Since it has been getting a little colder, I've gotten lazy and started driving instead of biking. This is important because before Wednesday, November 14, I hadn't biked for about 5 days. This means that my poor bike was locked up all by itself (and a hoard of other college students' bikes) outside my building for five days. But this particular morning I went to my bike to ride it to class. My breath caught in my chest as I went to remove my U-lock. My back wheel was gone.

It could have happened at any time during the past 5 days. And as I walked across campus to my class, I was livid. Who would steal my bike wheel? Why would they do such a horrid thing? Didn't they know that the bike BELONGED to someone, a real, live person? Needless to say, my faith in this foolish idea of "innate human goodness" was crushed (okay, okay, I don't believe in anything like the goodness of people- people are all utterly depraved apart from Christ- but at times one likes to think that people have a twinge of goodness in them, it makes being a social creature a little easier), and my morning and afternoon were nearly ruined. Also, due to my own sin, I was behaving particularly badly that day, which didn't help matters. I was pretty much a creep on Wednesday.

By evening, after mulling the situation over in conversation with my Abba, and after thinking about turning the other cheek, offering the cloak as well to a person who demands your tunic, and going two miles with the person who demands one mile from you, my attitude on the subject had changed from anger to sadness and wondering if it wouldn't have been right, had I been there when the person was preparing to steal my wheel, to offer to unlock the whole bike and hand it over. Of course I didn't LIKE the idea, but thought that it was probably a meet thing to do. I also had changed my view a little on the idea of possessions and what one truly owns, in light of the fact that you can't keep it. Yes, that's a bit extreme, but I was mentally on that topic because of what had happened.

As I went through the buffet line at CPN for dinner that night, Matthew who goes to my church was there working, and as he always does, asked me how my day had been. I told him that it had not been too good because I had discovered that I'd been robbed. He lamented that with me briefly while I was there in line, and then I moved on to go eat.

The next morning I received a phone call from him. He told me that he and two other men from the University Lutheran Chapel (my church) had been praying for me about my bike the previous evening, and they had decided that they wanted to fix it for me.

I couldn't believe that.

It is very difficult for me to accept the generosity of others for myself. So at first I hesitated, not wanting to make them do that, almost preferring to take care of it myself. But, after thinking about it for a while after our phone call, God showed me that it was good for me to let them do this for me. They had come to this conclusion while lifting me up in prayer, they are my brothers and they wanted to show an act of kindness and love to their Christian sister. So I agreed and took my mangled bike to the Chapel for them to fix. This was at 11:30 AM on Thursday.

I went about my day, going to lunch and class and so on. After I left my Biochem lab around 4:00, I saw that I had missed a phone call from Mark, one of the other men involved in taking care of my bike. He had called at 12:48 letting me know that my bike was fixed and that I could come pick it up at the Chapel at any time.

Wow! He had gotten it fixed in an hour and fifteen minutes! I rushed to the church, and there it was, two wheels and all!

I write this so that I may let you all know a couple of things. First, God is amazing. He worked in my brothers to do a wonderful thing to bless me in the midst of my disappointment. Second, God is amazing. He blesses us wonderfully beyond anything that we could ever "deserve." I was a pretty slimy person on Wednesday and Thursday, but God did a wonderful thing for me in spite of it. I have no merit before Him of my own, but only Christ's sacrifice for me and His blood covering me allow me to be worthy before my Father. And finally, God is amazing. He's got all kinds of good plans for not only me, but all people who love Him (Romans 8:28). I can't wait to see what He'll do next!

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