Laying ourselves at the altar


When my daughter Anna was a toddler, if she hurt herself, she would lay the damaged appendage on a pillow. It didn’t matter if it was a bruised shin, a rash on her arm, or a stubbed toe. Propping whatever was sore on a soft, fluffy pillow — sometimes with a fuzzy, warm blanket over the pillow for extra emphasis — immediately made it feel better. Whatever hurt would get better, as long as it was lovingly cushioned and gently propped on something soft.

One day, Anna was running a fever. I left her in the living room watching TV, and when I went in to check on her, I wanted to laugh and cry all at once. She had taken all the pillows from the couch and laid them, end to end, on the floor. Then she stretched her little feverish body out on top of them, her entire body cushioned by the pillows. Every part of her hurt, therefore her whole body needed to be cradled. Because of the relief she found there, she was now sound asleep.

Sometimes we need the same thing. We come to the altar and kneel, offering ourselves for His service, for His use — well, at least we offer parts of ourselves. As adults, with our own hurts and bruises, we hold things back. I want to be used by You, God, we might say, but secretly we’re hoping not to be asked to step outside our comfort zones. We want to help – until we feel the nudge to help someone we don’t know and we feel awkward walking up to them. Or we want to give, but only give our money, holding selfishly onto our time. But maybe it’s time we let God get hold of all our parts. It’s time to lay them all on His merciful altar, cushioned by His grace. So that He can get hold of all of us, and use us as He sees fit.

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