Yesterday my husband met with his boss for a yearly review. There was no doubt in my mind that he would be given an excellent assessment, but I still prayed for him and was anxious to find out how it went. His appointment got me thinking, when have I gone to God, my “Boss,” for a review? So, I wrote the mysterious sounding appointment on my calendar for yesterday afternoon and wondered what it would be like.
It’s not that I never meet with God. Most mornings my first conscious thought is, “Thank You, Lord, for today” or “Help!” or, preferably, both. And every day I spend at least a little time in His Word and in prayer. My ideal is to have three hours, surrounded by stacks of Bibles, concordances, biblically based commentaries and my laptop (with someone else preparing lunch so I’m not distracted, of course), which is about as common as a polite hippopotamus. Reality is somewhere in the middle. Not that it replaces much needed quality Bible study, but the older I get, the more secure I am in the reality of our relationship, God and me, talking with Him whenever, wherever I am. (I’m love studying and praying … my weaknesses are being still and listening.)
So, there it was, my shining moment, my official meeting with God to find out how well I’m doing on my mission for Him! If my meeting had been in a professional office, I’d have meticulously dressed and groomed myself, preparing the exact words I was going to say and perhaps practicing my smile in the mirror (at least I’ve heard of people who do that). I would have been early, with no hint of scrambled eggs on my breath. But, no…
Even though God didn’t care that I had not curled my hair and was wearing crop pants, a t-shirt and sneakers, I failed. It was a Midwestern mess of my own making: while working on “important” things time got away from me, and my three-year-old doesn’t sleep as long as he used to … and zlip … there my afternoon went. I felt miserable. God used my irresponsibility to show me a glimpse of how I’m doing. To add to the pile, It hit me afresh that I am not graded or judged by God in comparison with:
The women in my church
The Proverbs 31 woman
My pastor’s wife
Elisabeth Elliot, Ruth Bell Graham, or Beth Moore
My sisters The girl I used to be
No. It’s way bigger than that! My Creator God is my example, His holiness my grading scale. Gulp. What a relief that God has provided a way to forgive my sins and restore our relationship … it was paid for by Jesus on the cross, my only way of salvation. There’s nothing I can do to earn His favor. I am a recipient of His priceless love gift.
And thankfully, God understands my struggle with sin, not expecting absolute perfection right now. Not to say He doesn’t want obedience – there’s a difference. God wants me to obey Him and depend on Him every hour of every day. But, there is a process … and, being the wonderful awesome God that He is, He takes full responsibility for the sanctifying of my life.
However, anyone who doesn’t have tunnel vision realizes she is not “off the hook” of responsibility:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Why did He do that? And what does He ask from me when I can’t begin to resemble Him?
“That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” Philippians 1:6
How I spend my time matters to God. Isn’t it encouraging that He knows what life is like, because He came to earth as a man?! God knows our hearts, our schedules, the demands on our time, the interruptions, that our five-year-olds were being grumpy and disobedient, our teenagers missed the bus, the toilet overflowed, the electricity went out, and that we’ve had insatiable cravings for chocolate since before breakfast. Is He angry with us? No. He loves us more than we could ever imagine, still!
When we need mercy, He shows mercy:
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He has not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities (sins). For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those that fear Him.” Psalm 103:8, 10-11
When we need forgiveness, He offers free and full forgiveness:
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:13
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrightousness.” I John 1:9
When we are pitiful, He pities us:
“As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear Him.” Psalm 103:13
Today I am looking forward to my appointment with God for my mission review. I’m preparing to meet Him this afternoon while my boys are resting. And if things spin wildly out of my control, it’s going to be okay. With my whole heart I thank God for His love and patience. He’s the best Boss I could ever have.