Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Do You Have Your Receipt?

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." - Psalm 100:4
This past week I pulled a jacket out of my closet that I had not worn in a while. I was in a hurry, so I threw it on and proceeded to leave the house. My day was packed full and I rushed out of the house without saying goodbye to my kids. As I got in the car, I reached in my jacket pockets for my keys and found two pieces of paper, both of which I thought were trash. One was a gum wrapper and the other was a receipt.
As I began to throw them both into a cup holder, I stopped and decided to look at the receipt. It was for a meal I had purchased for my daughter and myself on February 8, 2007 in Little Rock. Memories began to flood my mind about that particular season of my life. That was the day before my youngest daughter came home from the hospital. She was born with a heart condition and had to spend some time in the NICU at Baptist Hospital.
My wife was staying in the NICU with our daughter and my oldest daughter, who was three at the time, was staying with me in a camper on the backside of the hospital parking lot. I’ll never forget that night because after eating at the restaurant with my daughter, she became sick in that small camper. It was a long night and we both slept very little. When we finally went to sleep, we were awakened by a hospital helicopter that landed in the parking lot about forty yards from our camper. That happened three times that night. What a long night with a sick kid on the backside of a lonely parking lot. It had been a long couple of weeks. I lay awake praying for God to heal my daughter in NICU as well as the sick one lying on my chest.
My daughter finally came home the next day, which happened to be my birthday. What a great birthday present.
Ok, back to the present and my driveway. I was still staring at the receipt from almost two years ago. Tears welled up in my eyes as I began to thank God for all He had brought us through during those testing times. I had nearly forgotten about the goodness of God during days when it seemed like bad things were happening to my family. God is good.
Have you ever tried to exchange or return something without a receipt? It is nearly impossible. A receipt is proof of your transaction. It proves you truly received goods and services. My receipt reminded me of the goodness and mercy of Christ. I had received a so much and am extremely thankful and blessed.
Quickly, I stopped my car and went back inside the house and found my girls. The youngest was singing along with Dora the Explorer and the oldest was on the computer playing games. Kneeling down beside each of them, I said, "I love you." They said, "Love you too, Dad" and continued with their activities.
I went back to my car and proceeded to work. I turned up my stereo and began to sing a song on a CD I had recently gotten. The words said: "You make everything glorious. You make everything glorious. You make everything glorious. And I am yours."
He had truly made my daughter glorious. She gave Him glory. He had truly made our situation glorious. As He worked in our lives, we were amazed and gave Him glory. He was truly working on me in my driveway. I gave Him glory and told Him, "I am Yours."
I’m reminded of the scripture in Romans 8:28 that says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." God was working on our behalf the whole time my daughter was in the hospital.
I think God saved this receipt for this particular day. He reminded me of His goodness, faithfulness and steadfastness. I pray I never forget the times He has brought me through. May those times strengthen my faith for present and future challenges.
Psalm 121:1-2 says, "I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." That morning I had my eyes fixed on a busy day. After encountering the Lord in my driveway, I lifted my eyes and fixed them on the Lord. He is my ever present help. My help alone comes from Him.
What about you? Where are your eyes fixed? I pray they are fixed on Christ and that you never forget His faithfulness. Do not forget the evidence of Christ’s work in your life. Do you have your receipt? I still have mine in my pocket.