I received this text the other day from our lovely friend Ashton...
"Hey girl... I HAVE to tell you about a moment in clinic!!!! I was working with a patient and I walked in for the second treatment and she saw my Cross necklace and asked if I could pray with her!!! Coolest thing I've ever done with my faith like that, I had to share with you..."
Wow!! Teary-eyed, I asked her permission to use this (please don't freak out thinking that every cool moment you share with me will end up on the Internet :) )
Remember the last post that talked about the Virtuous Woman being clothed in scarlet? This is an example of how the material things we bear can lead someone to connect with us on a spiritual level and we can bless them through it. If we give God room to work, He will definitely take advantage of our willingness. Ashton, you go girl.
This story fit perfectly with the next portion of the Virtuous Woman's chapter in the Bible...
She is like the merchants' ships, she bringeth her food from afar.
Upon reading this verse to my husband, he proceeded to make fun of me for 5 minutes about my "eat seasonal" and "shop local" mantra that I preach to him, stating that the Bible is commanding me to go to Walmart and get those strawberries from California and buy only clothes with the Made in China tag.
After pretend-laughing with him and wondering what in the world this could actually mean, God shed some enlightening comfort on the subject.
In true Proverbs 31 fashion, this woman will go to great lengths to acquire what is needful for her family. She will search to the ends of the earth to sustain herself and her family. She goes the distance, just like the merchant's ships that bring her her food. And after she deals with the merchants...
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good, and her candle goeth not out by night.
Nowadays Good is a down-played, overused word that adults always tell children to replace with something better, like Excellent, Marvelous, or Superb. In the Bible, however, Good was used to describe God's satisfaction with His Creation and Martha's choice to sit at Jesus' feet instead of host a party.* Good means Favorable, Best, Right.
(Right now you are anxiously awaiting the connection between the opening God Moment and this piece of scripture...)
The Virtuous Woman was seeking to buy that which would do her Good. The most valuable gift we can attain is the gift of eternal life.** Just like the merchant brings the Virtuous Woman the best of the world, Jesus has brought this precious gift to our feet, and it is paid in full, bought with the highest price, and ours to claim for free. There is nothing more marvelous than that.
Perceive: to know by experience and observation.
She perceives this Goodness. How can she know what is Good without first experiencing Goodness and gaining wisdom from these experiences? I imagine that she experienced a lot of different merchants in her day. Some may have tried to sell her cheap wool full of burrs and jewelry that turned her skin green. But others took honor in their trade, making sure she got only the best, and showing her how valuable their merchandise is so that she will tell her friends to come to their table and experience it for themselves!
Some of us have been spiritual shoppers. We may have looked in many different places, gone to many different tables to find something fulfilling and satisfying, but found that it was painful and dirty, it turned us green.
Friends, only Jesus will satisfy us fully and completely. His Message is clear, uncomplicated, and honest. Knowing Him is to know Goodness itself. Our perceptions change. Our life and decisions will no longer be guided by those bad experiences in the market, but on the Holiness of Jesus Christ.^ Now that's Good.
She perceived that it was good "*comma* and" her candle stayed lit all night.
In other words, when she realized the gem she had in her hands, she could not set it down even to sleep. She stayed up all night weaving fine linen from the wool she bought so she could sell it back to the merchants and purchase necessities for her family, literally or spiritually...
She taketh fine linen and selleth it, and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
When we really experience Jesus, we are bothered, we are changed. We have a purpose and it cannot wait until tomorrow. Even when it was dark, she did not put down her work. When she was tired she did not give up. In that stillness and with the light from a single candle, she kept at the work God had given her. And in the morning she is able to present the fruit of her work to the merchant.
Can you imagine the thrill our Lord receives when He watches us use His gifts to create, to grow, to help others come to know Him? What are we doing with the good things He has given us?^^
The merchant gave her wool so she make linen to make girdles. Remember the wool spiel from before?
Jesus took us when we were stained and unfit to help ourselves and His blood, the blood of the Lamb, washed us white as now. He purified us and made us whole, useable.
We are ready to be woven into beautiful cloth. Maybe it will be used to clothe the poor, or to wipe the tears of a struggling friend, or to bind a wound that hasn't been able to heal.
Perhaps you have received that cleansing, but you don't know how to create anything for Him in all this darkness. Again, it's all about how you perceive the darkness...
The dark is just a canvas
for Your grace and brightness
You're the song, You're the song of our hearts
Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love
The pain will not define us
Joy will reignite us
You're the song, You're the song of our hearts
- Rend Collective
Even when no one is beside us and darkness is around us, He is giving us a light to illuminate our heart and encourage our spirit. When you feel like there is nothing Good, keep searching for Him, keep bearing that Cross, and keep creating. You never know who else is looking for something Good.
* And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good... - Genesis 1.31
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His Word... But one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. - Luke 10.39, 42
** For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. - Ephesians 2.8-9
^ And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. - 1 John 5.20
^^ As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. - 1 Peter 4.10