I was stunned by the outcome of the Outstanding Graduate and Servant Towel Award portions of the banquet. I had expected to be stunned by the beauty of my brothers and sisters and I had expected to stun people with my karaoke "skills" but that I did not expect.
Chip said that I had spent a lot of time in the hospital this semester. As I was driving around earlier this evening, I found myself in the St. Matthews area, near Breckinridge Lane (and Baptist East), and I could not help but think about that turbulent week, that week that a new phase of testing began for a brother, and many other brothers and the sisters jumped into the fire with him to keep him company. I think of that and I wonder at how they did that all in love for God and for their neighbor and how I was just a part of that. My meditations required the quick shedding of a tear or two, for I remembered just a bit of that pain I felt and how much more pain I saw. My trip today took me to Frankfort Starbucks, and during that week, I was there often, because they were brewing Gold Coast Blend, my favorite. (This was before I became a regular customer.) Just being near that Starbucks brought me back to the Wednesday of that week, a day on which I picked up some coffee on my way to church/the hospital. I walked toward where the cream/sugar area was and didn't notice that they had moved it. There was a table there in its place and at that table sat Lauren Farmer, who I barely knew at the time. I couldn't help but convey my weariness to her, because the week was pushing me out onto a ledge of ministry I had never been, even though this was not the first time a friend lay in a hospital gurney. If I had not had God's grace that week, I would not have been able to bear up under the emotional pain.
Looking back on that week of turbulence, I type this as one who just came off a week of joy, one of the best of my life. All I can think of is the verse in 2 Corinthians (4 I think, I'm too tired to find it), a verse in which the Apostle says "We have these treasures in jars of clay that the surpassing greatness might be from God, and not ourselves." I feel like a jar of clay right now, once again. Oh brothers and sisters, the surpassing greatness is from God and God alone. There is nothing else.
During that week of testing, I found myself stunned by the power of Christ. May he continue to do so.