Monday, April 08, 2013

THE GIFT OF COMFORT


IN MY CLOSET IS A BOX FILLED with t-shirts I earned for running in races. The t-shirts are usually distributed before the race begins, and I am always looking for a place to stash my shirt until I complete the race. I have an unwritten rule; you cannot wear a race shirt until you have finished the race. You don’t get to wear it for just showing up. After I have completed the race I proudly wear my shirt, and over time, and a number of washings, it get relegated to the box in the closet.

If that box could speak it could tell of some great races and some not so great ones. It could relate stories of races hard-fought and of a few where I gave less than my all. There would be tales of sweat-stung eyes and of bloody knees. But alas, the t-shirt box remains quietly tucked away in the corner of my closet, so tucked away that I cannot even remember how many shirts are in there. One thing I can say, whether the effort was difficult or easy I earned each one of those packed-up t-shirts. Honestly, I don’t really give them much thought…until…

This past Valentine’s Day my wife surprised me with a wonderful gift. She grabbed some of those special shirts; shirts that told a variety of stories and had them made into a quilt. It was a wonderful gift and as I looked at each shirt she had picked out I was able to relive the story of that race, and of even the weeks of preparation that took place before those marathons. I treasure this gift, benefitting from it almost nightly as I settle into my chair to read or catch a few minutes of mindless television. The gift was not earned. I didn’t sweat over it or get leg cramps to receive it, it was simply a gift of love. Sure there are enough t-shirts left to make a number of good-sized quilts, but the truth is they will most likely stay boxed-up: but the gift of comfort…the unearned gift, shall be enjoyed on a regular basis.

Much like my special quilt the Lord Jesus has given each of His followers a gift, the unearned gift of the Holy Comforter, the Spirit of God to live in us and with us. Not a gift received because of some toil we produced, or even some race that we had run, but simply another aspect of God’s great, eternal gift of grace. A Gift not meant to be packed-away until some day of sweet remembering, but a gift to be enjoyed every day, a constant reminder of the presence and love of the Lord. Given to encourage us in the race we yet run. 

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