Saturday, June 6, 2009

What to do with the days given me?

"Time by itself does nothing but grows us old. What we do with time makes the difference."
Being a planner, time is very important to me. I have clocks all over the place, usually set a bit fast so I can be ahead. I have 5 calendars, a palm pilot and a cell phone that keeps track of the days and our schedule. I use caller id to prioritize who I am willing to talk to and who I'm not, because time is valuable in my mind.
So I usually know it is going to be a bad day when I get a text message before 6 AM. It means that someone I love is hurting, or in trouble, and I won't really be able to do a thing about it. I know I can pray with them, and offer encouraging words or a shoulder to cry on- but I want to do so much more, and I never can. These calls are something I can't plan for, so I usually see them as a terrible event. Not anymore. Today I realized that God's timing is awesome, and His ways so much better than mine. Who cares how effective I am with the minutes in a day when the moments that matter are the ones when we get to love God's people and see Him work?

Today started out that way with a early text message, but it became one of the best "God Stops" I have had in a long time. This text message was from a friend of mine's 18 year old son. Now, this kid has walked far away from the Lord, but is on the road back and he was calling for his mother. He texted me to call when I woke up, and of course I had to call him right away. He then proceed to ask me, "What do you do when you feel completely abandoned- by God, by everyone?" Man, talk about a punch in the gut. Isn't that what I was feeling all last year? That God had directed me straight in to a hell hole and left me there to rot? Sorry to be so frank, but that was pretty much how I felt. The question sank deep into my heart, but the fantastic thing was, I could feel the peace that comes from finally having the answer. See, this amazing kid wasn't calling for his own doubts, but for his mother's hurting heart. She was feeling completely alone, and her son was wanting to help her anyway he could.

That was God Stop number 1. If you knew what a loner this guy is, and how little he trusted in Jesus a few months ago, it would astound you as much as it does me to have him follow God's command, to look for the one thing that would help her- God's people. He remembered that we are to bear one another's burdens, to pray for each other, and to proclaim the truth of God's Word always. He instinctively knew she needed a friend to cry with, to pray with, and to lift her up to our heavenly Father who carries the burden for us if we let him. And He obeyed.
As I listened to my friend, I heard her say she was angry with God, that she saw NOTHING good from Him in any area of her life. And it wasn't fair. As I prayed for her, I couldn't help thinking about all my rage towards God this last year, about the "unfairness" of this world. I realized often our anger towards God is because we didn't get something we felt entitled to. If we do it all right as a parent, our kids will be perfect. If we respect and love our husbands, our marriage will be incredible...and the list goes on. Yet, where does it say that in Scripture? That if we obey, it will be roses and daisies here? I think it says much more often, obey now and you will be blessed later. Unfortunately, I feel like the "later" should be a few days at the most, and sometimes God allows the tough stuff to last for decades.
Time has a way of tricking our minds into thinking we can count it, but it is so much more important to LIVE each minute rather than counting how many have gone by, or how many more we have in store. To serve our families with a joyful heart, to honor God in every aspect of our lives. I suck at both, but I am determined to keep trying. I want my days to be counted by God, and for Him to say someday, "You did good, girlie." Oh, to hear those words!
Not only did God bless me to see Him working in that young man's life today (a kid I adore and have prayed for for years), but He gave me God Stop number 2. He gave me the opportunity to answer the question I asked all last year RIGHT finally. I could honestly say to my beloved sister that God has never abandoned or forsaken us. It is us who abandon Him by doubting His goodness, denying His plan, and desiring ease and prosperity over His glorious face. (I didn't say that part of course, no one who is hurting needs to hear pat Christian answers) It was just so cool to realize I no longer am doubting His love and provision, even His very nature. No longer am I angry with God- because I can see how He worked a miracle in my heart and healed the broken parts. I could honestly encourage my friend and believe that God was working through all the ugly stuff in her life to get down to the "nitty gritty". And that He would heal HER broken heart, just as He has through the ages for those who believe in Him.
I am still praying for my dear friend and her family, but there is no doubt in my mind that God gave me the chance to love on her, to remind me how much He loves on me every day. In God's love- we are blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, forgiven- believe Him. Ephesians 3:1-8a

Like the old saying, knowing this, we should "live each day like it was our last." God be with you, friends.

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