This was brought on through some very wise words I was encouraged to hear a few Sunday's back. A middle-aged pastor was at the end of his sermon in which he shared that one of his greatest fears is to have his family taken away from him, for his family to be scattered, while he was serving the Lord and acting out his role as a provider and leader. After the sermon a wise, older gentleman was very gentle to remind the middle-aged pastor of the example of Paul the apostle. In Galatians 2, Paul explains that because he had been crucified with Christ, it was no longer Paul who lived and suffered, but Christ. His life was no longer his own.
"I have been crucified with Christ.
It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me."
This is also the reason that Paul was able to say in Colossians 3, "For you have died, and your life is hidden in Christ with God."
His life was completely and utterly in the hands of the Lord, to do His holy and perfect will.
This has been played out in different ways for me the past few weeks, especially at my Aunt's home. It was much easier to "make sacrifices" and "do more" with my time when I considered why I was really there: for me to be of service to them, be a blessing, care for the house/children, and learn what I could from my Aunt and Uncle while I was there. All of this being done for Christ. When I didn't think of things (time, resources, money, etc) in terms of them being mine, it made more sense to get up earlier instead of savoring precious sleep.
I suppose in the end, the "giving away" and "sacrificing" was easier because I understood a bit better that this life I have is so very short--but a vapor really, and I desire for my life to used by God for His glory. I want for His will--not mine--to be done, and I don't want to be struggling over things that belong to Him.
A quick application of that was when we recently check our voicemail and heard a message that sent my stomach into spasms. It sounded like the voice of my Sweet Nicole, she sounded in tears and that something was dreadfully wrong. For about three seconds multiple scenarios were speeding through my head and they all ended with me as a sad basket-case.
In reality it was a dear friend of ours, who happened to be yawning while leaving a casual message about dinner plans for that evening.
Yes, I felt pretty silly.
Later on I thought about my brief reaction and was reminded of His hand over our lives. If something did happen to be wrong with my sister, I hope that I would remember how much I love her, how much I want to be with her, and how much I want for nothing "bad" to come her way--then, I hope and pray that I remember how much more God loves her, how much more able He is to protect and provide for her, and the wonderful plans He has. Plans that we might not understand now, or ever. That is where I will find all of the comfort and peace because He truly is a great Savior, Provider, and Protector.
This is why I can be thankful that I no longer live; I have been crucified with Christ, and praise God, my life isn't my own.