I have given myself permission to miss everything – mother, father, friends, lovers, once-in-a-lifetime-opportunities, everything – except this.
I don’t know where I get the chutzpah sometimes. The following string of complaints actually came out of my mouth in response to the generic, how are you, while making a donation to a woman’s shelter today.
I’m sorry the bag burst as I was putting it in the truck and there’s more on the patio where I used to live, but I couldn’t carry the last big box. I just moved and didn’t place the order in time to have the gas connected before the holiday so I’ve been showering at the gym since Thursday. I just put my dog up for adoption and I teach online but my internet’s down.
Instead, I should’ve given thanks for all God made possible for them to do, for me to give, for the jobs we all have and that I had the company of a precious pup for two years. I immediately saw my half-empty response as a ruse of the enemy and returned to praising God for every tear, trial and triumph. I recalled Jesus’ invitation in Oswald Chambers’ devotional yesterday. Watch with me.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on 1st Kings 18 encourages us greatly:
Let us never despise the day of small things, but hope and wait for great things from it. From what small beginnings have great matters arisen! It is thus in all the gracious proceedings of God with the soul. Scarcely to be perceived are the first workings of his Spirit in the heart, which grow up at last to the wonder of men, and applause of angels. Elijah hastened Ahab home, and attended him. God will strengthen his people for every service to which his commandments and providence call them.
Like comfort, make disappointment your enemy. To avoid its traps, build every relationship on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ. Oswald Chambers addresses this directly in his devotional for July 30th when he writes: There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord, I thank You!
Samuel M. Franklin interpreting
This morning, at minutes before five, everything came together. With a single scripture, Isaiah 61, the Lord answered every question about my purpose; about why I am HERE, here and Here; confirmed every scripture, sacrifice, sermon and message; reconciled my heart to His, and gave me peace on every side. Nice work if you can get it and I got it by simply hanging in there, waking to His voice, hearing, obeying and receiving His promises, step by step, day by day, moment by moment! You will too.
Between shuttling M’Dear to and from Drama Camp and summer camp today, Our Father did me the honor to allow me to attend a farewell celebration for an esteemed colleague; sit with a friend whose live-in boyfriend has called it quits; visit a friend in the hospital, and attend a Casa de Paz in our neighborhood. Through it all I was given to understand precisely why obedience is better than sacrifice and what a blessing it is to know and attend my Father’s voice. I even received a tailor-made revelation at day’s end. Together with all the gifts I have already received and stand to receive by faith, Jesus allowed me to give thanks and praise that I know how to let go and hold on. Hallelujah!
Why waste an opportunity to get closer to God? is the answer that comes to me as I get out of bed. It was along some indirect line of thought that it arrived. But it was the answer supplied to any number of questions past and future that are put to me. Now I understand that even I do not have to find an ‘answer’ but turn the seeker back to prayer – an opportunity to get closer to God!
Among the revelations I most enjoyed during lunch with Yvonne on Tuesday, was the image of faith as a pilot attempting to land her craft in thick, low clouds. She has done everything she is trained to be accountable for, now, she must simply, or not so simply, admit that the task itself, and not just the conditions, are far beyond her abilities, and let God take care of the rest.
Revelation is akin to landing that plane. We become witnesses only after being faithful stewards. I expressed it far more simply at lunch when I remembered – noticed aloud – how one can read the same scripture and not penetrate its meaning until the soil of our lives has been prepared for its planting, cultivation and harvest. As we abandon all to His power we increasingly witness what has always been true.
Nothing actually changes: the clouds do not lift, it is we who descend (in our own self-opinion perhaps?) below the clouds to find the familiar territory the landing strip, fully lit in expectation of our arrival. The weather does not change: the storm is still swirling, but now, we realize it cannot thwart our mission. It is indeed a thing apart and all it’s bluster cannot change a single atom of our being or God’s plan for us! I like the image so much because it came readily and remains etched in my mind’s eye. I see the view as the clouds part. To explain the situation further begs the storms’ reality. For the clouds themselves do nothing and, the closer we get to them, the more their nothingness is revealed! It is our forward movement that makes room for us! The clouds simply cannot exist wherever we are truly on target – much in the same way Pastor House was explaining at Bible Study last night: If you look down at your feet and over to your neighbor’s, each pair is distinct, separate, unable to occupy the exact same space at the same time, even if that neighbor were to sit on your lap! Once you agree (not that God awaits your permission) imagine the possibilities! What would you do, if you knew God could not fail?