31 May, 2010

Hemmed In

The first time I took my daughter, Sarah, to camp it was the summer before her third grade year. The weeks leading up to camp were a delight and she was so excited. Camp day came and she wasn’t so excited anymore. After we set up her bunk area it was time for me to leave. As we kissed, hugged and said our goodbye she whispered, “please mama, take me home.” So I lingered at bit longer wanting her to get comfortable. The tears came and the whisper continued, “I want to go home.” I kissed her and reassured her. Her counselor finally came to me and said it was time. One last kiss and I reluctantly walked to my car. Was it easy? No, but I knew my girl was in a good, safe place, being cared for…..I like to think that she was hemmed in.

Do you know this term ? It’s what we are, hemmed in. Psalms 139:5 reads,

Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

The New American Standard version reads, You have enclosed me behind and before…

How precious is that assurance to each of us? He has gone before us and behind us. It is the Lord who has hemmed us in. He’s has hemmed us in protection, in love, in joy, in pain, in doubt, in fear, in the future, in the past, in today, in tomorrow, in our dreams, in our sorrow, in our disappointment. We are hemmed in…behind and before. I literally think of a hem when I say these words out loud. The hem actually makes a small space, a little tunnel in your pant leg or the hem on your dress. It’s a protected space. I like that thought. I am comforted knowing that God has His protective hem around me.

He hems us in AND we reach out to touch His hem.

And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. Matthew 9:20-22 (King James Version)

This woman KNEW that she just needed to touch the hem of His garment to be made whole.

Last week, as I entered the hospital I remembered other times I had been here seeing my daddy and my mama. It seems like this hospital is a part of my very being, so very familiar to me, so very present in my memories over the last 25 years. But today, while my daddy has gone ahead into Glory, my mama struggles here. It was a freak car accident that landed her in this place we know as ICU. She’s 86 and the strongest woman I know. For over 20 years, my mama has suffered with pain. Pain that has been relentless at times. Pain that few of us know. Yet here she lies in ICU asking me how my family is getting along…asking my niece if her new job came through, telling us to go home and get rest. Mama has always focused more on others than herself. She has hemmed us in with her love and care.

Then a few minutes later something changes in her countenance and she begins to whisper, “I want to go home”, “I want to go home”, “I want to go home”. Standing there, I just knew she wasn’t talking about a physical address.

Just like my daughter, Sarah, just like me and you, my mama is hemmed in. God has gone before her and is going after her. She’s reaching for the hem of His garment. She WILL be made whole. He has hemmed her in.

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