Locusts and honey

I’m far too easily discouraged by setbacks; if I needed a defense, I could posit that this could be because everything is such an effort for me in the first place, that the thought of doing it again makes me morbid. But discouragement under pure light is the color of sin: it is sin because I am telling myself that things should be otherwise than what they are, and that sanctification should not always have to come at the cost of having things perfectly, delightfully my own way.

Shortly after nestling delightedly into our newly arranged, unpacked living room, we touched up some paint that had developed little dark spots due to pigment failure — a common casualty, we’ve discovered, with VOC-free paint. We had to buy another gallon to do this, because our small amount of leftover Terrarium green had frozen. We mistakenly bought semi-gloss instead of eggshell, so of course that didn’t work. The semi-gloss is what we need for the bathrooms, so at least it wasn’t a write-off. I returned to Home Depot and bought the eggshell. The color did not quite match — apparently FreshAire has altered the base formula. Attempts at touchup worsened the original problem. We had to repaint the entire wall, and to do so, we had to move the furniture again. It was no big deal on the remodeling potential catastrophe scale, and my far more sanctified husband didn’t bat an eye at the task, which he, after all, performed entirely. But I, who merely had to endure the occurrence of the process, grumbled.

I settled down to watch my husband work, rue the wasted time and energy caused by the defective paint, and read Packer. J. I. Packer is a gentleman, a great theologian, and an encouragement genius. And as I read on, God dealt me one of those moments in which he nurtured me on pablum again, after I gagged a bit on my solid food. Rev. Packer happened to be discussing, in Knowing God, precisely this issue: how indwelling sin causes disruptions in the course of our sanctification, just when we think we have the drill down. He pointed to the promise in Joel 2:25ff,

“I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten…
You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied
And praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you…”

The years that the locust has eaten: this our God will make up to us. There is no wasted effort: nothing is ever wasted; we simply fail to see how it is spent. God always provides for his people, and he has surely dealt wondrously with us–with me. I haven’t been left to die alone and poor in the street yet. My times are in his hands; none is wasted, and he has dealt wondrously with me.

And the sweet thing is, the wall is standing, and the paint looks fine, and it looks like the other walls. And the really sweet thing would be that I would always remember when I look at that wall, that our God is a God of wonders, and that the reason I don’t always see how trivial something is, is because I can’t possibly see how tremendous the real backdrop is.

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Filed under Action & Being, Pneumatos, Thoughts & Reading

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