It is clear that God did not ask me to write about humility because my life so profoundly reflects its Godly warmth and beauty. If anything, I suspect it is because I am a chief representation of a person whom God has needed to humble time and time again. I have even had the thought at times over the years when this topic has come up:
Well~ I think I’m a pretty humble person~. I have come to learn that this kind of thought is probably the first sign that I am awaiting a lesson in humility. In God’s faithfulness, He will surely bring me down as many notches as necessary to help me remember who I am~.
Early in my experience of working as a nurse, I was trained in critical care units such as Intensive and Cardiac Care. There was a hospital that I ended up working at which specialized in trauma and treating severe illnesses. I can recall a number of patients during that time who touched my heart deeply, but one in particular who has been seared there for all of these years. This was a person named Mary. She had a severe case of Diabetes. In my memory, she had lost both of her legs and was in the hospital once again to have one of her arms amputated. Oh my, what a picture of helplessness and loss. But this is what I remember above all else about Mary~ one day in the midst of talking about her life she said:
God has been so good to me.
This was the first experience I can remember in my life that reflected the true meaning of humility. She obviously knew the love of God, the goodness of her Lord, and must have believed whole-heartedly in His perfect wisdom. She was trusting the Lord with her life and circumstances beyond what I ever could have imagined. I had never seen this kind of humility in all my life. Her deep gratitude toward the Lord under these conditions, left me speechless and feeling so unworthy.
As it is with the humble~ Mary I’m sure, had no idea how the Lord was using her as a witness. And I did not realize at the time how much the Lord would use this lesson in humility to draw me to Himself. That day, I received a blessed glimpse from God of His heart, and what it could be like to know Him in this way. Without thinking about it, I knew deep inside that what Mary had, was something I wanted for myself.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured his love into our hearts (Romans 5:5a).
I will give another example of a person whom the Lord has used to teach me about humility. My husband and I were out of town, and went to the same buffet nearly every night for dinner. There was a particular cook who was either serving dishes from behind the counter, or at the meat carving station. We started noticing that we were running into him one place or another, every time we went through the lines to get our food. As we did with all of the other servers, we would say thank you when he placed the food on our plates. But this person was different. Instead of accepting our thank you, he insisted that he was the thankful one. He had an accent of some sort, perhaps Jamaican or Bohemian. Every time we came near where he was serving, he would say something like:
Please may I serve you Sir and Ma’am~ oh thank you so very much that you allow me to serve you. He would continue thanking us until we were well on our way to another part of the buffet. He did this every night. We were so touched by his kindness that we began looking forward to seeing him each evening. We asked him his name about the third day in, because we wanted to be able to call him by name, and also to pray for him. He said his name was Martin.
So this continued for the entire week~ we began greeting each other like old friends. Martin was always behind a glass partition as he served us the food, but my husband and he began reaching over the glass to grab onto the hand of the other in a loving hello. We would comment each time as we looked for a table what a sweet and humble man Martin was. We felt very blessed.
The morning of our last day there, the Lord laid it on our hearts to give Martin a gratuity that night at dinner, as a thank you for his kindness. God led my husband to place ten dollars in an envelope and simply write: God Bless, Dennis and Jodey. That night as anticipated, Martin showered us with greetings and cheer as we approached his station~ and thanking us over and over for allowing him to serve us~
Once again the humble will rejoice in the Lord (Isaiah 25:9a). We thanked him for his kind service throughout our stay, and Dennis quietly gave him the envelope before we moved on in line. Once we got our food we did the usual~ expressed gratitude for Martin as we looked for a table.
After a few minutes of eating our meal, suddenly Martin showed up at our table. This was very unusual, as it seemed pretty clear that the servers remained in their positions throughout the evening. We greeted him with smiles of surprise. He began pouring out of his heart all kinds of things to us. He was so full of joy and tears, and talking so fast, it was hard to take it all in. He said he had never been shown love before in his life, and that he felt so much love from us and from his heart for us~ he said that there is so much love being poured out between us, and kept thanking us and thanking us. He kept saying how blessed he felt. We were so overtaken by what we were seeing and hearing that we could barely get any words out. But we expressed the best we could how we were blessed by him. We said our goodbyes again, and he went back to his work. We sat there stunned, so humbled by how the love of the Lord was expressed through this man. My eyes welled up with tears, and Dennis was also so touched by it all. We could not believe that he saw us as the blessing to him. We were both taken back in such awe of God’s inexpressible grace. We will never forget this beautiful experience and lesson of humility through this dear servant named Martin.
I will now share with you a story in which God transformed me from being a believer in Jesus Christ to a no matter what follower. This was the time that He won my heart and became the love of my life~ and ultimately my husband. The Lord says if you love me you will obey me. He knew my heart needed to become His before I would truly submit to His will and follow Him into the life He had for me.
I had been living on my own for the first time in my life. The Lord provided me a home~ a sanctuary where I would be safe. It would become the place where I came to know Jesus and the Father in a way I never knew was possible.
After about a year, feeling safe began to feel normal, and I was so very grateful to the Lord for this. I had never really dwelled with Him before~ and I wanted so much for what I was experiencing with the Him to never change. I did not want anyone or anything to interfere or pull me away from the arms of my protector. I guess this was what would be called good coveting~ I coveted my time with the Lord, and I was loving how intimate our relationship was becoming.
I had never prayed on my knees in my life. But one day in my kitchen, I was suddenly overwhelmed by feelings and fell to my knees with my face to the floor. I cried out: Please Lord, don’t let anyone into my life that will get in the way of our relationship. I give my whole life and my whole future to you Lord. And when it comes to men Lord, I beg you, please don’t let anyone in unless you have picked him. I have no clue how to pick. I have messed my life up so much Lord. Please let me live alone for the rest of my life unless you have a Godly man for me. Please protect me and keep me safe in your care.
I want to interject into this story something the Lord just did for me today as I was continuing this writing. I was looking through some verses that I had written down yesterday, not knowing which ones if any, the Lord would use in this writing. As I began reading the verse I will share with you, the Holy Spirit was showing me that this is what the Lord did with the prayer on my kitchen floor:
Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard and I have come in response to them (Daniel 10:12b). I just cried in joy in the Lord’s love for me. I knew my prayer was linked to what happens next in my story, but what a gift to receive this verse as an encouragement and reminder of what He has done for me. Another expression of His abundant love for me.
About three months later on Easter Eve, I was just having a nice day taking care of my little Grandson. We listened to old hymns and had a great time together. My daughter-in-law picked him up in the late afternoon. After dinner time as evening was approaching, I began to have a very uneasy feeling inside. I tried to distract myself so I wouldn’t notice. It wasn’t working. The uneasy feeling increased even greater than before. I knew at some level that the Lord wanted to tell me something, but I was trying to avoid Him. It became more and more difficult to do so.
I think at this point I was even talking out loud in that nervous kind of way, saying: Okay, I’ll watch a movie~ a movie would be a good thing to do. So I turned on the television to look for movie listings. I found one on the list that seemed like the perfect distraction. I was thinking this great plan was now working. I clicked play and suddenly the T.V. went black. No matter what button I pushed, it remained completely unworkable. Now the whole downstairs was black. I knew I couldn’t run from God any longer. His presence was so strong it filled every molecule of space in the air. I was completely overwhelmed as He was getting ahold of my heart. I fell to my face on my family room floor as I cried out: What are you doing? What are you doing?
God began speaking to me. He said that I was having a difficult time receiving His love, so He was helping me to receive it. He knew that deep inside I felt completely unworthy of His love. He knew how I felt about being a Christian and a Christian counselor who was in the aftermath of divorce. He knew my heartache over the brokenness in my family that ultimately stemmed from my choices in life. He knew that deep inside I was ashamed to even face it all. He knew how horrible I really felt for mistakes I made, especially regarding men. The Lord knew I felt so unworthy to receive anything, much less the love of the God whom I had sinned against so much.
But this is what the Lord did: He said He was giving me a gift to show His love. He was giving me the gift of a man who was going to be my friend and my husband. I kept crying out and asking how this could be. Of all things! Of all areas of my life that I had been the most utter failure in~ why this gift? I was completely undeserving. And why now, after just one year of time alone with You. But He just kept pouring His love into my heart as I lay there sobbing. He was embracing me in complete acceptance. The power of His love engulfed me. He was staying with me until I was able to receive. He never let go of me~ it seemed like for hours~ until I finally let Him into a place in my heart that I had never let Him enter~ and received His love.
I knew full well from that very moment that the ultimate gift was Himself. But it was just like our God of abundant love to go even further to give me another gracious gift~ of a man who would be my friend and my husband.
I was left completely speechless and stunned. I could barely walk when I got up off of the floor. In my exhaustion I went to bed and fell fast asleep. I woke up the next day to Easter Sunday. I don’t think I grasped very much at that point of how symbolic this really was for me~ Resurrection day~ new life. Yes, I had been saved many years before, but this was when my love story with the Lord really began.
There is SO MUCH I could say in this story, including how others would respond to my encounter with God. But for now, I will stick with the main point~ my love story with Jesus.
Over the days following God’s visit to me, I had so very much to ponder in my heart, and I began to have other questions for the Lord. On one hand I felt so humbled by all He had said and promised to me, that I thought who am I to ask any other questions? But on the other hand, the Lord had been teaching me to come to Him with every thought and feeling. So I began asking about when all of this would happen. After some time He answered:
Wait. And that was all He said! Well, after all He had so lovingly done, it might seem that I would graciously receive this reply~ but instead I was shocked and alarmed by His answer. Was this going to be an Abraham and Sarah thing? How long would I be waiting…’til I’m eighty!? (yes, sad but true, this is what I thought~ ugh).
So, after the shock wore off, I said kind of to myself and kind of to the Lord while standing at my bathroom sink:
I can do this~ okay Lord, I will wait as long as you want me to (I proclaimed!). Then the Lord said:
My way. I said:
What!!. He said:
You are going to wait my way. I am sure my mouth dropped. I had just vowed to wait as long as He wanted me to, and I now knew it had to be exactly as He would say it would be, for a completely unknown period of time. I felt like I was in a movie with sound effects. I heard iron walls clamping down on all four sides of me (in that only possible through God sort of loving way). I knew that I had to really mean it if I was going to say yes to the Lord. It was a moment in time where He was giving me the opportunity to learn to trust, obey, and follow Him. So in fear and trembling I said: Yes Lord, I will follow you no matter what. So there I was locked into His plan and His way. Next to being saved, it was the best decision I had ever made in my life.
The Lord began encouraging me in so many ways immediately upon submitting to Him. He gave me verse after verse to help me along the way. One of the first verses He gave me helped me immensely, and is still one of my most treasured verses today:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:6) ~ and that He did.
It would be about five and a half years before the Lord gave me His most gracious gift of the man He chose for me~ my best friend and husband Dennis. But oh my goodness, would the journey be beyond words~ a life and heart transforming experience with the Lord, as well as Dennis being well worth the wait!
God took me on a love journey with Himself that has changed my life in ways that are too many to be counted. The Lord knew that until He was the love of my life and my husband He could not bless me as He desired. Until I was humbled before Him and willing to follow Him anywhere, I could not have a marriage that would glorify Him. He also knew that only in full surrender to Him would I be able to enjoy His amazing design for marriage.
There are so many other lessons of humility that I have experienced with the Lord, but too many stories to tell here. I will say that I have found that voluntarily choosing to humble myself before the Lord is so full of blessings it is beyond words. In addition, choosing humility can spare us from the Lord needing to do it for us! He does promise in His Word that all will be humbled. I have learned the hard way what the trip down feels like on many occasions. The Lord loves us so much that He knows the only way we will have the abundant life He offers is on our knees in submission to Him. There is no better place we can possibly be. If you choose to give your whole life and future to the Lord, this is the one thing I can say is a guarantee~ you are in for the most amazing journey~ beyond what you could ever ask or imagine.