In my little office, one will find family photos amid papers, books, disarray, clutter and chaos. This morning, feeling a bit exhausted, all the mess seemed to overwhelm me. Ribbons, paper clips, pencils and pens somehow flew to the floor, and how did all the pictures hanging on the walls become crooked? Did we have an earthquake only in my office?
As I study this catastrophe, there is one item which is on the top of a dusty bookshelf which puts my soul at ease. It stands a mere seven inches tall and four inches wide and always speaks volumes to me when my eyes locate it among the rubble.
One of the Mahaffey brothers from LaGrange presented it to me as a gift nearly a year ago.
It is hand-carved from wood, a bit rustic, and extraordinarily beautiful.
A note the artist, Don Mahaffey, wrote on the bottom reads, “Thank you, Jesus,” the date, and then, “Representing the Power of God.” The little carving always reminds me that I should “simply to thy cross… cling.”
How many times do we become overwhelmed by life? We all get sidetracked, fall backward, stumble forward and create a bunch of clutter as we go. We cause misses, messes and mayhem. Afterward, we wonder how we will clean up the debris left by our actions and continue to crawl through life.
My grandmother always said, “The world is full of sinnin’, and the only thing that’ll set us straight is simply to cling to the cross.”
However, many times, it is hard to find what is vital amid the shambles. For those of us with even the tiniest of faith, eventually, the cross will rise and beckon us to embrace the power of God.
When my son was a toddler, I would sing him a tune while cradling him in my old rocking chair as it creaked and wobbled just like my voice. It is a wonder he survived the utterly terrible racket of both. There were two songs which he repeatedly would ask me to sing. One he called, “Mace Grace” (Amazing Grace) and the other, “Cross” (The Old Rugged Cross). I would try to sing children’s tunes occasionally, but Corey only loved the two. I found it a bit odd that those hymns gave a toddler the most comfort and lulled him to sleep.
However, in time, I found it wasn’t odd at all. Don’t we all find comfort and rest when we cling to the old cross?
As I gazed at my disorganized office, I noticed the unlevel frames held pictures of the babies who were born and placed in my arms. I recognized the abundant array of papers attached with clips are columns I have written and the joy I received from writing them. Under the files on the floor is a book I authored which I dedicated to God and a bill I need to pay with money I have to pay it. Ribbons are scattered because a grandchild celebrated a birthday and the pencils are required to rearrange an overbooked calendar.
It was by God’s amazing grace that this disarray belongs to me. I just need to straighten it up. If I had no photos to be leveled, or no words to write, or money to pay the bills, or events to scribble on a calendar, the office would be clean, but my world would be empty. It is by God’s ‘mace’ grace that my life is full of blessings even though sometimes I am just too blind to see.
The old cross I cling to provides the forgiving of my abundant and awful sins and enables me to stumble forward in faith. When my eyes cannot locate the cross, I usually wind up with just a mess. I become overwhelmed, commit more egregious sins, and generally, fall apart.
I have no idea how folks manage life without faith. The chaos and minutia of life must drive them batty. I get a bit crazy when I am unable to locate my iPad, or my keys, or my glasses, but I return to saneness because I found what was important.
It is simply a cross, which I will cling to until the day when the clutter is all cleaned up, and I view a crown.
God’s blessings to you all.