In which sometimes we get what we want, but not the way we wanted.

by Craig on December 12, 2011

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And so, I didn’t get the side dish of humility I ordered.
I got a main course…

of humiliation.

And I think of how You, Lord, chose the main course…
leaving behind all that was perfect…
choosing to enter into the jagged and uneven.

You never needed a side order of humility…
because even with all Your power…
You chose to be humble.

And You didn’t need humiliation so I wonder why You chose that?

I can understand why You would choose not to be exalted – not to be born a Roman Emperor, or a rich noble, or son of a wealthy merchant. I can see how many would misconstrue that, and think earthly wealth, or power, must be vitally important because You chose that way. In entering the world the way You did, and living a life of poverty, You took away any possibility for that misunderstanding.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7).

The creator of all things…
who always and everywhere has every right not to be humble…
chose the path of humiliation.

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How humiliating for Joseph and Mary to have to have a child in a stable.
How humiliating for You whenever anyone asked where You were born.

You started Your earthly life in the most humble of ways…
and ended it in the most humiliating.

…despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3).

We want our most embarrassing moments hidden…but You publicly immortalized Yours.

I’m studying Bernard of Clairvaux’s 12 steps of humility for Christmas.
I’m not supposed to be personally affected by a mere study. Right?

I never once considered that to learn a humble Christmas…
my first lesson would not be of humility, but of humiliation.

Am I humbled by what happened? Yes – emptied, destroyed, crushed.

Was it important for me to understand that humility in this broken world sometimes requires humiliation? Apparently.

Was Your choice to be humiliated another one of those things You had to do for us?

Yet it was our pain that he bore, our sufferings he endured. We thought of him as stricken, struck down by God and afflicted, But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed. (Isaiah 53:4,5)

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I think how it was important that You be sacrificed…
but You could’ve chosen to be sacrificed in a more humane way.

Who wants the thousand cuts instead of the single blow before dying?

You didn’t. But You chose that road.

The humiliation wasn’t necessary for You…
but maybe for us.

Maybe what happened last week, I needed to have happen.

Because maybe I needed a big heaping main dish of humiliation in order to better grasp humility.

So next time I begin with Bernard of Clairvaux’s first step.

It’ll be a more humble me that will study humility.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Sylvia December 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Beautiful! Yes. What depth here!
I am thinking how often, in the week before I was to lead a study on a particular biblical principle, God put me through the wringer of that principle, so I’d *know* what I was talking about!
And I also think of Paul, voicing his passion “to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and *the fellowship* of His suffering…” I am remembering one particular time when I stood, writhing inside, wondering why God was allowing me to suffer so unjustly, and realized! I was suffering the same way He did! We had this in common. And somehow *that fellowship* in His suffering became precious to me. (Not that I’d ever order any other such heaping main dish! But He’s the great Nutritionist…)

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Craig December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I’m not going back to check to see if I’m right, but I think, before last week happened, you may have warned me about getting what I asked for. I’m pretty sure. Regardless, God will use the lesson in humiliation – already has. So Sylvia, I totally get what you wrote – I’m totally getting what you wrote. God bless you my friend.

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Sylvia December 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Yep. It was me. :) Voice of experience!
Too bad this is evidently how God has to teach us, but beautiful when we learn.
God bless you, too, Craig!

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Debbie December 13, 2011 at 1:43 am

I don’t like the humiliation when it happens . . .don’t like that it happened to you. But I do love what He does with it in my life. I had some this last week too . . .nothing as big as yours, but enough to feel like a hit in the gut. Praying for Him to work in it the humbleness I need.
God bless you friend and teacher of lessons learned!

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Craig December 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Debbie – one word – BUNNIES. And then you get what that means. God bless you Debbie!

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Debbie December 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Craig . . .this humbling time for me, it came from a BUNNY. ! I’m learning with you about bunnies.

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A. December 16, 2011 at 12:21 am

Yes, Debbie! And both of you, the bunnies…am still having some bunny pain, myself, too. These things really hurt, sometimes, don’t they? Yes, Debbie, to praying for Him to work in it the humbleness I need. Thank you for that wisdom! Craig…so inspired by your response to the bunnies, in these posts! Praying for your pain, too, both of you!

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Dawn December 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Dear Craig,

I never realized that Jesus came into the world and humility and left the world in humiliation. You know, this will be my 60th Christmas (48 Christmases that I really knew what Christmas was) and I am learning more about His coming this year than I think I ever knew combined before. Another thing I am noticing…how many people don’t know who He is or what Christmas is. My goodness, everyone knew when I was a kid. humpf!

And then there’s Eleanor Roosevelt and Bernard of Clairvaux, they are not household words either…You bring so much to us here, Craig. You pour yourself out and let us rub shoulders with history and bring us back to present day and tell us about a kitten who climbs and a man who connects. I am glad you no longer run away. Perhaps you’re breaking new ground here that needs broken between the genders. That makes me think of Hosea 10:12

Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. (NIV, 1984)

God’s blessing,
Dawn

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Craig December 13, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Dawn, your words are awfully nice to read, especially at this time. So thank you. The way you summed it up – that’s what I’m going for – and you’ve been nice enough to stick around a little. If I’m breaking ground – well – the ground is hard and it’s breaking me back. Thank you Dawn, more than you know, thank you. God bless you.

And as a way for me to make more time to read the blogs I heart – blogs by women with muttlies – I think I’m going to start posting from Monday to Thursday. That’s still eight posts a week – I’ve always wanted to average one per day. With two posts Monday through Friday – that was 10 posts – now with eight – and with three hours going into each post – that’ll clear up six hours a week. Anyway – thank you – and God bless.

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A. December 16, 2011 at 12:17 am

Monday-Thursday…good for you, Craig, for taking care of yourself! Much as I heart your posts, I heart even more that you are giving yourself the gift of time.

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Craig December 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

A, there was much more effort going into this than I could sustain, even if it weren’t for the sleep thing it would have been hard, but then I’d have a regular job – and I wouldn’t be blogging, a circle of sorts. Anyway, thank you. God bless!

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