Monday, February 23, 2009

Coram Deo

This morning I woke up very early (around 5 a.m.) covered with hives. This has been a regular event for me at various times in my life, but it has been a couple of years since my last go-around. I am one of that class of people who are allergic to the antibodies my body produces when I have a respiratory illness. So the little episode of a week ago was the culprit, and now I am itching everywhere, swollen and aching, and taking more drugs. And to be honest, this feels a bit like something belonging to the "adding insult to injury" category.

I must admit that I started feeling pretty sorry for myself. I'm in the midst of struggling to recover from my breast cancer treatment, and it just seemed like a lot to face this morning. I mentioned my Job-like feelings to Dave this morning, and he gently reminded me that I haven't lost my children, and that boils are more painful than hives. There are times when Dave's faithfulness can irritate me, and it wouldn't be so irritating if he wasn't almost always exactly right.

This morning I read a short article by R. C. Sproul (thanks to T.C.) about the main goal of Christian life being to live coram Deo: before the face of God. He says, in part:
...To live coram Deo is to live one's entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God...

To live in the presence of God is to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are acting under the gaze of God. God is omnipresent. There is no place so remote that we can escape His penetrating gaze.

To be aware of the presence of God is also to be acutely aware of His sovereignty. The uniform experience of the saints is to recognize that if God is God, then He is indeed sovereign...

Integrity is found where men and women live their lives in a pattern of consistency. It is a pattern that functions the same basic way in church and out of church. It is a life that is open before God. It is a life in which all that is done is done as to the Lord. It is a life lived by principle, not expediency; by humility before God, not defiance. It is a life lived under the tutelage of conscience that is held captive by the Word of God.

Coram Deo . . . before the face of God. That's the big idea. Next to this idea our other goals and ambitions become mere trifles.

I suppose that hives are not exempt from this call on my life. So, I will spend a quiet day today, trying not to move the itchy and achy parts until the medicine helps bring my body under control again. I will try to please God where I am by humbling myself beneath his sovereign hand, and doing what would honor him. I will resist the strong temptation to throw a hissy-fit, and instead trust that what Satan means for evil, God means for good, even though I can't see what good may come of having the hives. Even with the hives, I need to live coram Deo.

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