I dropped off my son yesterday afternoon at his assisted living home and the tears immediately began to flow. It isn’t always like this, but some days it hits me hard. Grief mixed with guilt, a stubborn feeling that tells me I’m not doing enough. A reminder that I can’t fix this thing called serious mental illness. I can’t make it better for my son, for others. Inside I want to scream out again about how much I hate schizophrenia! You are a blatant liar, an insidious thief! You rob people of clear thoughts, enjoyment of relationships, and the every-day things us “able minded” folks take for granted! I hate nothing like I hate YOU!
This morning I read Psalm 72 in my Bible and God breaks through the muck and mire, I see a king named David asking God for a heart like his own. One that loves justice and righteousness, to be a defender of the poor and needy, a refreshment to others. And I see a picture of what our great King Jesus is really like.
“Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly.” - Psalm 72:1-2
I’m hit square by the reality that I am so unlike God. I’m hit square in those words right there in scripture that God sees my disabled son and He cares for him fiercely like no other can. I also see how God loves and wants to refresh me.
“May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass, like the showers that water the earth. “ - Psalm 72:6
I’m struck by what David is really asking here, he is really asking for death. To die to self, dreams, a life of ease. He’s asking for death from seeking applause and for the crowds to think well of him. He’s asking for a life that seeks to honor God with what is near and dear to our great King’s own heart. Because death to self actually leads to life. Could it be that God wants to use my weakness to revive me for something better too?
Left to myself, I just want things to be comfortable. I want this suffering to end. And I think about how it’s easy to speak up about injustice and fight in the public square. But what do I do when God wants me to be patient again? When my schedule is interrupted? When I drop off my son at his home through grieving tears? When fears assail me like crashing waves? When I want to seek refuge on social media and Netflix binges? Dying is hard.
How can I endure when I’m lacking so much? How can I have God’s heart and grow?
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” - James 4:6
I read on in James and see that God gives more grace. And he keeps on giving and giving, a never ending supply of grace. All God asks is that I acknowledge my weakness in humility. Paul tells the church at Corinth that weakness is actually strength. God’s grace is enough. Not only enough, but he gives more of it. Wave after relentless wave.
But do I reach for it?
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9
I will never be the perfect and just King. There is only One and through his life, death, and resurrection, Christ dresses me in his perfect robe of righteousness. Yet in this broken world and weak vessel I remain. At the same time this is also amazingly true: his grace is available for every temptation, grief, and failing. God hasn’t taken away my son’s ongoing suffering or changed the injustice of a broken mental illness treatment system, but I need to remember that His grace is sufficient. And as I remember, I turn to him through prayer and opening of his Word, through repentance and through rest, because he always gives more grace.