What Remains?

 

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Recently, I watched our oldest granddaughter toss college notes onto a fire in a fire pit as she came to the end of a grueling BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program. I am not so sure our oldest grandson who is finishing finals of his sophomore year in college in pre-med wouldn’t like to do the same except that he may need them in the years ahead. I have watched, as these first two of our six grandchildren have poured themselves out and fallen at the foot of the cross for the only One who could sustain and provide for them in the midst of exhaustion, doubt, discouragement, and sometimes disappointment. I have also watched as they have been stretched in trust and faith in the Jesus they have both believed in for quite a few years.

 

I have watched their parents, our children, as well who have poured so much into them stood with, exhorted, and comforted them as they take a step closer to adulthood and the responsibilities and challenges that wait for them on the other side of the door of their college life. It speaks of a big transition, a time of letting go of small things, small ideas, and small dreams and learning what remains. It is the first major sifting process of adulthood where the urgent clashes with the important.

 

It can be easy to make the urgent a villain in the mix and sometimes it can be, but life does not let us escape attending to the urgent many times. Our challenge is to discern the truly urgent from the nagging things at our elbow that may seem urgent, but are not.

 

It is our challenge to also remember that we are being molded and shaped by the Potter according to His design. The process of being spun on a wheel and molded and pounded into the shape He intends is not going to always be a picnic or a lot of fun. It will often hurt and we will want to pull back from the hands of the Potter, but we must not forget that He sees beyond what our human eyes can see and he knows well the finished product He intends. He knows what must be eliminated and what must be added and His hands are sure and full of grace and mercy.

 

God, the Father, shaped His son as well as Jesus grew up in human form, walked through the wilderness testing, and then the ultimate testing on the cross. He submitted to the process despite the shame and pain, the agony and the grief. He knew what remained and in Him the result was the manifestation of that.

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What remained? God’s love.

 

Jesus became God’s love demonstrated in the flesh so we wouldn’t miss it. It was what He wanted us to have confidence and assurance in. When we get confused about that or if we do, it is likely because we understand so little about what love, His love, is all about. Paul reminds us in that famous ending of Romans 8:38-39 NLT:

 

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

We hear it again in powerful lyrics and words in the song, “One Thing”, heard so often at Passion conferences and sometimes during our worship services. I love singing it in worship and allowing the words to resonate deeply in my spirit.

 

“Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me. Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me…On and on and on it goes. Yes, it overwhelms and satisfies my soul; and I never, ever, have to be afraid ‘cause this one thing remains…your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me…”

 

The very best news about it is that it was and is not based on who I am or who I’m not.

 

Love is just who He is!

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23 thoughts on “What Remains?

  1. My oldest is finishing fifth grade and has been challenged more this year than ever. It is hard to watch children struggle, but the payoff is worth it.
    You must be so proud!

    1. It is indeed hard to watch children or grandchildren struggle and it seems to be more common today in this complex, complicated, not-so-nice-world they are trying to navigate. Yes, we are! Thanks!!

  2. Hi Pam! (You know that I am a nurse myself, and I must admit to burning my last Anatomy and Physiology exam in the middle of the street outside the Science Building. The classes are so intense, I totally get the fire!)

    I like how you pointed out that God’s plans are often painful, because I think everyone can relate to that. Life is hard, but as you say, that love! It’s always there, always calling, always present. Where would I be without it?
    Wishing you God’s love today,
    Ceil

    1. Hi Ceil! Yes, I do know that and am sure you can appreciate the challenges that have been abundant! Now she is studying for taking the NCLEX as soon as the state receives all the documentation from the university. Love right back to you, my friend!

  3. Pam, I loved reading your post and found even more encouragement from your comments about your granddaughter’s perseverance. It’s so tempting to give up when things get tough and I’m glad she didn’t. Her award for perseverance and positive attitude says so much more than those grades ever could. And that in itself is a lesson for me!
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Marva! You’re right! In the end, the grades were there and I trust as she grows older she will see even more of what the Lord has demonstrated to, in, and through her during this difficult season. Truly a time of building altars for her…Ebenezer moments!

  4. Such a blessing that you get to see your grandchildren’s success. My oldest grandbaby is just six years old. I hope I get to see them all grow to be successful adults!

  5. Love this post! Congrats to your grandbabies 🙂 Thank you Pam for linking up at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I shared this post.

  6. This post spoke to me today as my daughter is making decisions regarding her future. I need to be more intentional on reminding her about God’s plans and purposes. Pain and difficulty can be additions to her journey, but His love is always constant!
    Great post!
    Visiting from #SittingAmongFriends

    1. So true! Our granddaughter had two major challenges in the difficult BSN program. The fall semester of her senior year she missed passing one course by .4 of a point and as a result of where it fit in sequence, she could not take it till the following fall which meant she could not graduate the year she had planned with her friends (2016). She spent the year working at a local hospital as a nursing assistant and they loved her and offered her a nurse residency position for her when she graduated and she will start there July 31. The lost year was a heartbreak, but we saw her grow a great deal in the process and apply herself to her studies with much diligence when she returned. Then a few days before graduation when she was taking a comprehensive exit exam there was another glitch when they score was placed at 98% to pass. Her score of 95% was not going to be enough AGAIN and we all prayed and the nursing program decided 98% was a bit too high and moved it to 95%. She found out the day before her pinning. All this was especially a challenge given that she was an honors student and graduated cum laude on May 6, 2017. God gave her several Ebnezer altars to build in the process. So proud of her diligence and perseverance. She received a special award from the nursing program for her positive attitude and perseverance!

  7. Being shaped by the Potter is often a difficult and long process, but if we yield ourselves to His design, we can trust that something beautiful will always take shape… even if it ends up being very unlike what we thought would be made. Thanks for your post… and congrats to your family!

    1. Thanks so much, Karen! It was quite a journey for our granddaughter and had some hurdles and disappointments before she finally reached the goal that extended up to the week of graduation where changing requirements had left her dangling, but God…..showed up and showed her where her trust always is!!

  8. Congrats to your granddaughter! Such an accomplishment, Pam! And thanks also for this reminder of how God’s love is always working in and through the challenges we face. Whenever I am discouraged or want to give up, I know that if I turn my eyes to Him and His love, I am able to stay the course!

    1. Thanks! She met many challenges along the way and a week before graduation a change in requirements left her dangling until the day before her pinning ceremony. It was a powerful thing for her to see God move in her behalf.

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