This week I got a call that I wasn’t prepared for. Cancer called, and my grandfather picked up. I think that the statistic is 1 in 3 people will have cancer at some point in their life, or something like that. But most of the time, I’m not thinking about between me and two other people, one of us will have it. Definitely wouldn’t think that my grandfather would have it. But he had gotten it, some way or another. When I got the call, it was strange. I had gotten phone calls before with terrible news on the other end, deaths of family members or pets or calling in the family to the hospital to say goodbye’s, but this time was different. There wasn’t the initial shock and rush of emotion, that usually appeared and presented with tears. There wasn’t a question of why, or anger, or not understanding or comprehending the situation. There was just a feeling of accepting. No harsh feelings, or really even sadness.
All the other times in my life that I had lost something, or gotten bad news, I wasn’t walking with God. But now, since I’ve started to walk with Him, and put my trust in Him daily there’s a new outlook. And it had developed before I even knew. But as soon as I got the call from my mother telling me about the cancer, I could sense the change. I could tell that I was different. I could tell that everything wasn’t about me anymore. And I think that surprised me. Because it wasn’t anything that I had changed, but it was something that God had changed for me. Allowing me to put Him first, no matter what. So when I got the call, I was just able to realize that it was God’s plan and I wasn’t in any place to understand or even question His plan. And I think that, that in itself gave me comfort, just to know that God had changed me. Maybe He had prepared me all along to get that news, and that was in His plan. Either way, I’m so thankful to be walking with God and to be at a place where I can appreciate and accept His plan, no matter what, no matter how hard it may be.
All of that isn’t to say that I won’t question, or that I won’t understand, but I do want to make a conscious effort in trying to put God at the wheel. Putting it on autopilot and letting God drive, letting Him take me where He wants me. Of course that’ll be hard, but considering the way I felt in His arms when I got that call, I can’t imagine not trusting Him with anything. There’s so much trust when He’s in control, which He always is. And I hope that I can continue to feel that way and keep my trust in Him, because He knows what He is doing. He’s got me.
I think sometimes when it starts to storm on the plane, we want to grab the wheel and drive ourselves out of the stormy weather and into the blue skies, but there’s a reason that we’re going through that storm. So if we just let God be our autopilot, He’ll get us through it. I am a firm believer in that. That’s what I’ll do, give it all to Him, because I can’t drive through any storm by myself.
No one is perfect, or without sin. Anyone that has read the bible, or even skimmed it knows this. And that’s the basis for need of Jesus. That’s why that we need Jesus, because everyone is broken, everyone has done something wrong, everyone has mess-ups, problems, and shortfalls. One of my favorite and most daily applicable stories that I have found in the bible is in Matthew 7. Everyone has heard the story, how can you remove the speck out of your eye when you have a plank in yours? But how often do we put it into practice. I mean really abide by the story. There’s not a single day that we all don’t judge one another, when we don’t have any room to judge. For me, it’s one of the hardest things to do. It’s so easy to judge someone’s sin just because it’s different than mine. But in today’s society, we all look to each other to base our measurements. “At least I don’t do what so-and-so does.” But does that really make us better than them? No. Because they’re probably looking at you saying the exact same thing. Matthew 7 is such a tried and true parable. It’s so relevant even today. We’re so concentrated on others faults that we don’t see our own. Today there was a discussion about homosexuality and transgendered people being allowed into dressing rooms. Who are we to judge? Nobody. Their sin is different than ours, so we look at it like it’s worse than ours. We don’t see that we’re judging them, we just see their sin and can’t see ours. It comes so easy. But we can break that mold. If we just take a second before we start to judge or compare ourselves to others, to give us an ego boost, or whatever you want to call it, and remind ourselves that we’re all broken sinners then we can just view everyone in the same group. Regardless of someone else’s sin, they have it. But we have it too. We’re all in the same nasty, ugly, broken, messed up, unworthy boat. I need to remind myself of this daily. And I think we all do. No one is better than the other and we all need saving. Easier said than done, I know. But let’s give it a try, because we’re in no place to throw stones.
There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.
1 John 4:18
It seems like more and more in today’s society, we’re (and when I say we, I include myself) guilty of making our relationship with God a list of do’s and don’ts. Do: read your bible every day, pray every day, give money to the poor, food to the hungry. Don’t: drink, smoke, have premarital sex, sin. For a while this was my thinking process behind glorifying God, don’t do the things that God tells me not to, and do the things that He tells me to. Chalk it up to young, naive faith, or fear, or a skew point of view of who God really is, and what a relationship with Him should be, but there’s a different type of relationship forming in my heart now.
Tuesday night, college night at 12 Stone church, my relationship with the Lord was ripped down to the frame. The speaker quoted 2 Samuel 12:8, where God tells David that if everything that He had given him was not enough that He would have given him even more. And referenced a verse where Jesus says if you love Him, and you love His Father, then He will love you. But the word love isn’t the real translation from the Greek. The translation from the Greek is that He will give you purpose and value. Of course I had heard that and knew the story of David and had heard the other verse before, but in this context, I was broken. It’s easy to get distracted when you’re comfortable in your faith, or casual with your walk with the Lord. When everything is going good and you relax, it’s easy to lose focus. And that’s where I had gotten to, without knowing it, because I walked outside the building after the service was over and didn’t have any idea what I had been broken down inside for. But as I thought about it the rest of the week, I figured out what had happened in my heart. I was missing the real relationship with God. See, I was “doing” all the right things, and wasn’t “doing” the things that I shouldn’t, going through life with what I thought was following God, or what I thought would keep me from going to Hell. But every verse read, the chapel service Thursday, a video watched on youtube, told me I missing the mark. I was just checking off the list to glorify God. But what I’ve come to realize is that doing the do’s and not doing the don’ts doesn’t glorify God. It’s loving Him with everything that you have. As I heard from an extremely wise woman, once that you’re loving God with everything that you have, the do’s will come and the don’ts won’t. And not from a sense of fear of punishment, or because you have to because God said to, but from the sense that your love is so intense, so strong, you are so enamored by God, that you would never do anything to make Him sad, or not something that would not glorify Him. From here on out, that’ll be my prayer. That I can love God more than anything imaginable and not just wander through life checking off the list of things not to do.
On a closing note, I said earlier that my relationship with the Lord was ripped down. But it was His way of showing me what He wanted. And what He wanted for me. And all it was, was more love.
“One who gives himself up to the will of another.”
“Devoted another to the disregard of one’s own interests.”
Continuing on from the last post, the word is still in my mind and is what I continue to pray for. Often times we hear so many people complaining that their prayers have not been answered. But I wonder, and daresay that the things that we pray for, we don’t really need, or that we don’t realize our time frame for when we think we need something is much different from God’s time frame of when we need it.
And then there are those instances in which prayer is answered, almost immediately. I think it’s in these instances that we’ve prayed for the right thing. When a prayer is answered either one way or another, I think that either shows us that we’re on the same page with God, or that we’re going headlong in the opposite direction. And when something happens according to your prayer to God, its amazing. Not just for the fact that God answered the prayer, or gave you a sign, but possibly the more spiritual satisfaction that comes with knowing that you’re in the same thought process with God, because the only way that you could pray for something and it be answered is that it be in God’s will. And I think that’s something that we should all strive for, to be in sync with God, going after His will, whatever that may be.
For me, today, that was to be a servant for the Lord. Today was my second day in the hospital for clinical rotation. Last week the patients I saw were all self-serving and could take care of themselves. However, today the unit I was on was filled with many patients who were not able to take care of themselves. In the first week, and this week too, I’ve prayed for God to use me as a servant, and there were countless opportunities for me to serve today. Given some of the tasks associated with nurse work in assisting patients with daily living are not the most pleasant, today I found joy in just that. Helping in any way that I could. Serving. Just what I asked for. In the same way, I’m striving to be a servant of God. A slave for Christ.
Its strange to have a prayer answered so directly and quickly. But the thought of being in the same mind frame that God has for my life is overwhelmingly powerful.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Mainly in part because I haven’t made the time but somewhat because of lack of making time.
Since the last post, I’ve taken classes to obtain a missionary minor at Truett McConnell College. Along with this, I have been accepted into the Nursing program..on very strange terms. The first time that I came to the Department of Nursing at Truett, I was greeted by the Dean of the program and welcomed with open arms. Going into the office only to discuss the program and obtain information, my classes were reviewed and contingent on passing all of the pre-requisites, I was accepted to the program. Being accepted to the program was none of my doing and was somewhat eery that God had placed me there in such a visible way. What an amazing surprise.
In the beginning I had questioned this placement, wondering if this was the true calling that God had for me. But after the first day of clinical observation, there is no doubt that this is the one thing that is certain I should be doing.
Lately I have been lazily reading my bible and not putting in the effort to be with God daily. And after missing a few church services I was able to tell that I was backsliding. It’s not hard to do, and happens little by little. Not being perfect, as no one is, I did fall off. I’m thankful that God is a God of second chances and will take us back no matter the sin, no matter the number of mistake as undeserving as I am. What an adequate description of my entire life. Undeserved. Everything for a sinner like me. Everything that I’ve been blessed with, where I am right now in my life, the people and opportunities in my life. It’s all undeserved, God. Thank You. Seldom do I think of that fact, that I don’t deserve anything that I have been blessed with. And some days it hits me. Without You, God, I am nothing.
Remind me of that.
But after church yesterday and praying for desire and taking time out to read and pray, really pray, I’m back on the right track.
The Greek word doulos has been on my mind a lot, recently. Slave. Servant. Likewise, that’s what I have been praying for lately, to be a slave for Christ, a servant for the Lord.
As I sat in the coffee shop with my two favorite people the other day, I wasn’t expecting what happened next. In this coffee shop, there is an open piano in the back that someone is usually playing a capella, desperately trying to cover a pop song. As we drank our coffee, two people came in. They seemed to be around my age and I didn’t think much about it. But they went straight to the piano. I thought to myself, here we go, another butchered Elliot Yamin song. So they started to play, but as they did, it was familiar. They kept going, and the song turned into “How He loves” The few times that I have heard someone on the piano in the coffee shop, they haven’t sang, or if they did it wasn’t loud enough to pay any attention to. But this time, they were singing. Beautifully. And as they would reach the chorus, it would get louder. And louder.
Most were turning their head to see who was putting on this small concert in the back corner. Including me. And then there were some who weren’t, carrying on their conversations and morning coffee. But for the most part, people were watching in awe as they sang. I think it was safe to say that God was in the coffee shop. And not up at the counter ordering a cappuccino, but in the back corner where no one paid attention to Him when He came in.
I was amazed at their voices combining together, to the point that it gave me chills. What an awesome reminder that God is everywhere. All the time. And of how much He does love us. And I think that we need to be reminded of that.
This morning, I’m taken aback by the amount of hypocrisy that I see. Almost to the point that it makes me sick. The millions of people in the world that will step into a church for one of their biannual attendances today, calling themselves Christians. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pretending to know the lives of others, or whether or not they worship on their own time alone, I’m sure that some do and that’s awesome. But for the people that dress up for Easter Sunday and Christmas Eve services and put on the facade of a Christian while at those services, it’s not helping spread Christianity.
A few weeks ago, in the bible study that a friend of mine and I started, we talked about being true to character, and accountability. What are we doing? Why are we going to church two times a year and calling ourselves Christians but living like we’re not? I hate to sound judgmental and negative, and that’s not what I’m intending this to come across as, but I think one of the things that turns people away from God more than anything is people who call themselves Christians and that’s why I’m concerned. The world sees the way we act and if we attribute our actions to our title of Christians, people get the wrong idea. They think as long as I’m a Christian, I can do whatever these people are doing that call themselves Christians, be it going to two church services a year and living like hell in between, profanity, or anything else.
I think we can all do better, and I’m in no spot to judge, just trying to spread the kingdom as far and as fast as I can. But as long as people are seeing these “Christians” in the world, its making it hard for the genuine ones. I think that if we all take our name as seriously as it’s meant to be taken, that we are a follower of Christ, that it would be incredibly beneficial to the world.
This has sounded pretty negative and authoritative, but don’t take it in that light. We’re always being watched, Christians or not, and whether you know it or not, someone is going to get ideas from you, or place you as a role model in their life. Don’t we want them to have the right idea? The right idea of who God really is? I pray that we all start to lead by example, and that’s one of the hardest things to do, for anyone, especially me.