Run with Abandon

Life is hard. But God, our Father, is REAL! Reach for His hand today.

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

God wants YOU!

What do you need today?  I see more people with large and deep needs in 2012 than I have ever seen simultaneously in my lifetime. I also see that most people are unwilling to share these challenges with others. Sadly, this seems to be as true in the church as anywhere. So, I am prompted to ask an obvious question. Why? Is it pride? Is it because we just don’t want to bother others with our problems? Or, could it be a lack of understanding in how we are directed to behave in Scripture? Whatever the reason, I believe the answer can be summed up like this. God wants to use His people to meet the needs of people and people cannot meet needs that they do not know exist! Ok, so maybe that is not very concise but it is relatively simple.  So, what next?

There is plenty of Biblical precedence for individuals making their needs known to Jesus. We see the mother of Jesus letting him know that the wine was gone at a wedding feast and, soon after, Nicodemus going to Jesus in the night to seek answers to his questions. A Samaritan woman asks Jesus for the water that will quench her thirst forever and then a military official requests healing for his son.  Mary and Martha tell Jesus of their sick brother, Lazarus, because they fear he will die and Jesus does not accompany them home. In each case, a request was made known, verbally and publically, with confidence that the need could be met by Jesus. There was no guarantee as to when or how the need would be addressed and, as often is the case, the outcome was different than imagined.

Because my husband was a professional baseball player, the first 11 years of my marriage were spent in unfamiliar cities and I was often lonely. I made this known to whatever church ‘family’ I became acquainted with and I was able to receive friendship, support, and nurturing. Years later, when I injured my knee and had to walk on crutches for 2 months, a friend came to my house and picked up ALL of the family laundry. She returned it the next day washed, dried, and folded! As I write these thoughts, I am at a beautiful townhouse on Anna Maria Island because a dear friend knew I needed to have some quiet time to write. These needs were met because I was willing to open my mouth and tell someone that I needed help. This is not accomplished without becoming vulnerable and I believe that is the reason we often suffer alone!

Vulnerability is scary because we have no assurance that the outcome will be favorable. What if someone passes judgment as to why I have the need? What if they gossip or, even worse, misrepresent my circumstance to others. What if they ignore my need and simply walk away without a second look. These questions pose the very real risk we take when becoming vulnerable. However, silence means the potential of missing a two-fold blessing. First, we have the opportunity of our need being met and, thereby, experiencing God’s handiwork personally. Second, we are allowing someone else to be blessed as they respond to our need. Think about a time when you gave a much needed or desired gift to someone. Consider a birthday or Christmas celebration as you patiently waited for the opening of a gift you gave. When I have been in those situations it has brought great joy, emotional pleasure, and satisfaction. It is an unbelievable blessing to be able to help another person without any expectation of the favor being returned.

Vulnerability is worth the risk…even when pain results! I offer up these challenges for you this week. Share a personal need with a trusted friend, pastor, elder, or mentor. Then, be the one to give to someone in need.  Finally, leave it all to God in prayer and look for HIS hand in the midst of the giving!

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Waiting and wondering

Wondering and Waiting

Have you ever noticed that much of life involves waiting and wondering? In my life, this was illustrated most recently after receiving a letter from the water company that informed us of a leak somewhere on our property. Since I have heard horror stories of huge and unexpected bills due to a leaky pipe, the waiting and wondering began. Since there was no sign of a leak to the eye or ear, it seemed that the problem was most likely a pipe under the floor. My husband warned me that the repair might involve a jackhammer. A plumber was called and the waiting and wondering continued.

I try hard in situations such as this to pray and leave the outcome to God. I do pretty well at the prayer part but the portion involving surrender is a bit more of a challenge. So, my mind played out all of the scenarios of leak repair and the possible cost of each one. Once I determined that the least expensive and most convenient repair would be the master bathroom floor, I began to bombard the Lord with my specific prayer request and asked others to do the same. The plumber used specific equipment to listen for the leak under our tile floor and was puzzled when no leak could be heard. He decided to recheck each one of the toilets even though the sound of running water was not present. He eventually determined that there was an almost imperceptible leak in one of the toilets and the repair only involved ordering a small, inexpensive part.  I found myself thanking God for NOT answering my prayer!

Isn’t it easy to fall into the mind trap of diagnosing the problems in our lives, prescribing the remedy, and then asking God to cooperate?  Maybe a change in income occurs due to a layoff or cutback and we can’t seem to manage the bills. Or, a doctor detects a health issue and orders appropriate tests while we let our minds travel down all the possible paths we can imagine.  Perhaps a teenager is late getting home and we mentally have them in trouble, in jail, or in the hospital within minutes. Prayer is certainly the best next step for all of our concerns and the waiting and wondering is natural and necessary. But what comes next? Do we worry or do we mentally and emotionally say “whatever” and release the outcome to our very capable God?

Since God created us, I doubt He is surprised with our tendency to consider the possibilities and request our desired outcome. In fact, I would imagine that this pleases our Heavenly Father. It is the release of the outcome that is the challenge for most of us. I have a very good imagination and some ideas about where I want to see my life go.  But it helps me in these times to remember that God is all knowing and all powerful. Furthermore, He alone has access to unimaginable riches! On the other hand, we are limited in our understanding, wield very little power in the grand scheme of things, and tend to think of riches as what we can put in the bank! Given these truths about our God, perhaps we need to remember that the Father knows best! I have found that this type of complete surrender brings about a satisfaction in my soul that I find nowhere else and I have a greater capacity to surrender as I seek to know God better through a daily walk with my Lord Jesus!

So, the next time you face a difficulty, what will you choose to do? Will you wonder, wait, and worry? Or wonder, wait, and say “whatever, Lord”? He CAN be trusted….let it go!

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