She had A LOT of work to do! She rose early (pre-sunrise). She zombie-lurched to the bathroom. Her husband had installed a light switch sensor so that she didn’t have to mess around attempting to locate the tiny torture lever furnished to expose her waking wretchedness. Light burst upon the scene and exploded all around her, bringing an instant sobriety to the groggy and grotesque experience of early morning. The moment she saw herself in the mirror she knew. The creature starring back at her was horribly helpless. She knew – as certain as the sunrise, and all the insulting warts it would illumine in its wake – she didn’t have the power to pay for, or perform, the job that lay before her. She was exceedingly aware of her inability to carry out the divinely-mandated mission to love these others whom the Maker had stationed all around her. And to make matters more daunting, her work did not involve merely loving them, but forgiving and serving them as well. How could she be expected to fulfill this assignment!? It was her job, the Maker had clearly given the command to her. She could not call in sick. She could not outsource the job. To delegate would be to disobey. She had to do it, but she had no power to perform her duty. The debt must be paid – via her forgiveness – but she had no money of her own.
Just then there was what registered in her mind as a knock on the bathroom door (probably just the perennial knock of her kids coming to pester her while she’s trying to sort through her thoughts in the privacy of the lavatory). She waited for additional sounds but heard nothing. No further knocking. No talking. She listened more intently. She stayed very very still. An inadvertent moment of meditation permeated her mood. The words He Pays It All flashed into focus in the furthest recesses of her mind. She told herself that she wasn’t fully awake yet, and that this supernatural sentimentality was just a byproduct of her pre-sunrise insanity. “Everybody is a little crazy when they first wake up,” she told herself. But then, almost audibly, she heard (or perhaps she felt?) the words again – this time like the clap of thunder after the flash – HE PAYS IT ALL! She just stood there breathing quietly for a long moment. Then she brushed the the mystifying experience aside, chalking it up to an imaginative spasm (or grogginess …or some bizarre mixture of both). She lived the next 25 years of her life diligently downplaying this reverberating moment of supernatural assistance. For these two and a 1/2 decades she tried in all her fury to forgive and serve others, but her independent efforts proved utterly insufficient. She threw the stinging reality of her insufficiency into the fog of denial, along with the reality of the voice she had certainly heard in the bathroom that morning.
Then came the moment when she unwittingly wound up smack-dab in the middle of the mother of all fights with her sister. It seemed that her sister had been harboring colossal amounts of resentment toward her for as long as they had known each other (and if it were possible – perhaps longer!). Certainly she had contributed to the fractured relationship but her sister was clearly out of line, and even outright belligerent in the confrontation. She felt absolutely wearied, and severely wounded, by the unwarranted attack …and these fervid feelings fueled her ambition to justify NOT forgiving her sister (or ever attempting to do anything nice for her ever again …why bother!?, her sister had made it abundantly clear that any efforts on her part to serve or support were unnecessary, unhelpful, and unwelcome). But then reverberations of that supernatural utterance had their homecoming, and the flimsy fortress of cards she had erected to protect her resolution not to forgive collapsed in a pitifully glorious pile of ruins. And just as the light had burst upon her in the bathroom that morning 25 years prior – she found herself in an environment of utter illumination, with a never-before-experienced clarity about what she knew she must do. She must ask Him to finance this forgiveness! True enough – she had no means of her own merit to fund this mercy, but HE DID! …and He delighted to be depended upon in undertakings such as this. To be sure, there would be no other avenue for underwriting such an enterprise, for apart from Him she could do nothing!
She had rightly felt the reality of her own insufficiency …while it was inescapably her job to forgive and serve, it was not hers to conjure the power to perform these privileges. This forgiveness business was definitely going to be expensive (costly beyond her comprehension in fact), but she had never been expected to provide the funds. Her responsibility was to write the check, but the stocking of the account was the emphatic delight and responsibility of Another. The Maker had smuggled her a checkbook many years ago, and now she must put it to good use, and wholeheartedly believe that the Maker had the means to cover the amount(s).
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure [Philippians 2:12-13].