We drove to Boaz this week to look in our storage unit for winter coats and my garment bag filled with my suits and dress shirts (I haven't needed them).
We found coats but no garment bag. I stood at the opening of the unit somewhat frustrated after looking in boxes and finding no suits or shirts. I asked the Lord where the bag was. Two things impressed me. First, I experienced a subtle embrace of peace as assurance the bag wasn't lost. Secondly, I was encouraged to go back home and look in Anna's closet. We got back and found it in Anna's closet. I'm pretty sure I looked there before. Anyway, I had it all the time.
The things in storage seemed to be items from a different life. April said they were things from a life she didn't associate with anymore. Why go to the storage unit? Did we have to recognize our disassociation with what was in storage? We have all we need.
There's something comforting to me to be told in a moment to look in Anna's closet while I was standing outside the storage unit asking God where my suits were. While we approached Boaz and our storage unit, the CD in the car played Fall Afresh. I felt the goodness of God manifest in tears flowing from me. I told April the tears blessed me. It was not a recollection of the past as we drove in familiar territory. It was a strong impression in the here and now.
A few days ago I read from Luke 13 the story of a woman crippled for 18 years. It was the sabbath. Jesus saw her, called her over to him and said she was set free from her ailment. He laid his hands on her. She straightened up and began praising God.
"But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, 'There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.'" - Luke 13: 14
The sabbath was believed to be much more important than this woman being set free. Human tradition aided by a religious spirit was more valuable than this woman being made whole. I've seen human tradition valued much more than the love and power of God impacting loved ones and strangers. Truly, the leader's encouragement to do such things on one of the six days of labor instead of the sabbath is echoed in congregations all the time.
Jesus was not a person who delayed doing the will of God for a more appropriate time in order not to offend anyone. The will of God was for this daughter of Abraham to be set free here and now. In Mark 3, Jesus asked, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” A chapter earlier Jesus said to the hyper-religious, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath (2: 27)." We're not created to adhere to the perversion of revelation in order to keep to a religiously mandated set of traditions so we don't offend. What is to be done in the here and now? For us, perhaps it was to be sure what we do have and don't have immediately in our possession. For me, perhaps it was to ask the Lord in faith and then to hear afresh his voice here and now.
We talked later about these stored items we rummaged through for the first time since our move to Anniston. They appear to be from another life and not from ours. It was as if the promises made to us are also boxed up and put in storage, sealed and stacked and locked for safekeeping. April said she didn't want to get to the place she couldn't recall the desires of her heart, but, at times, it feels that way - promises sealed in boxes like mementos of times long past. Those items were in our house when the promises were received like witnesses and carriers of testimonies. Now, they're in storage.
As we approached the storage facility and the song Fall Afresh played in the car and tears rolled down my cheeks, the spontaneous lyrics sung by the worship leader on the CD accentuated what I felt, You're doing something new, and its fresh; we haven't seen anything like it yet. God is familiar with doing the unexpected in the here and now. I felt it. I knew it was true. I was not recollecting what was promised or what we'd mutually experienced months or years ago. God entered our car in the here and now. The promises remain true, and we know they will be fulfilled, and I will take great pleasure in documenting what God does. The here and now, however, is what takes your breath away in the moment.
The storage unit keeps secure our things we will use again but don't need right now. We've been given great and precious promises of our destiny, but, right now, we're stewards of what's been promised, and we're to trust and wait. Each day has the potential to reveal afresh to us the will of God, but we can't allow frustration to redirect our spiritual sight from what we have already, like a garment bag hidden in a closet.