Recently I received the most peculiar birthday card ever. It wasn’t actually an old fashioned card-stock card but one of those nifty e-cards. I get them every year on my birthday (different cards, of course) from the same senders. Wonderful, thoughtful people who over the years have wished me many a beautiful wish and prayer on my special day. I love those cards. Besides the frosting and the presents, it’s one of my favorite things I get to enjoy each birthday.
This year, however, what I got was, for lack of better word, plain gibberish.
I stare at my screen filled with utterly meaningless, random string of nonsense. Try as hard as I may, I can’t detect a single meaningful word, much less a word of encouragement or the customary wishes for many blessings in life under God’s gracious wing. If I didn’t know the senders and a thing or two about electronic communication including a smidgen about coding, I would have been stunned.
I find the coincidence too good to pass.
See, sometimes God’s messages of love arrive in my life IN-box looking just like that - a bizarre mess of gibberish. I can’t make out any sense of what he is saying. Because the 'love' message appears too difficult to decode, and I don’t have the right decoding software, I am tempted to hit ‘delete’.
Delete. Delete. Delete.
In my little world, there just isn’t enough space for both love and pain, love and disappointment, love and loss. So when one is present, I tend to ditch the other.
It’s rather immature, I know. Or simply human response.
I want to insulate my heart and my life from all the pain, loss, disappointment and heartbreak. My brain says pain and love can’t coexist side by side.
This is why I need the Cross of Christ every day. It is the key decoding software for God’s apparently jumbled love messages to me and you. It’s the place – perhaps the only place – where perfect love and utter heartbreak are inseparably mingled together.
It’s also the gateway to a richer and deeper communion with Him.
And the birthday message? Well, with a click or two I found the ‘translation’ of the code – words, graphics, music, the whole nine yards.
It’s message is true for you as much as it is for me. So I pass it on as my birthday wish to you, whenever that may be.
On the day you were born
God celebrated your arrival.
He covered you with His grace
and filled you with His love.
He promised His presence and
His provision on your journey.
Today we join in celebrating you.
May His grace and love continue
to flow through you to touch
every one you encounter, to reflect
God’s presence in your life to all of creation.
In the year and years to come may wisdom,
kindness and faithfulness be hallmark
of your life as you live out the good works
He has prepared for you.
May grace and love follow you
all the days of your life.