I THINK I'VE STUMBLED on one of the best reasons to have God on your radar on this side of your deathbed. It is a selfish reason, I know, but God already knows how selfish we are.
After several years in my wilderness journey, I was wondering why my circumstances took me out of the rat race against my desire. God didn’t seem to care, but when I was paralyzed by the fear and pain of not understanding what to do, and overcome by sadness and depression, I knew that I didn’t trust him.
It was a humbling time for me as I realized that God did care for me, but he’s not a genie in a bottle to be accessed for whatever I want. The way I want.
He’s in control of everything. The good and the bad. Amos 3:6
After learning that lesson, I then had a habit of using the extra time every day to read my Bible like I had never done before, sometimes for hours, until the guilt of not doing something more productive was replaced with a willingness to wait on Him.
Like an eager child, dressed and ready for her daddy to take her to her soccer game, where she could make him so proud of her abilities on the field, I waited.
Meanwhile, as the days were long and the months were flying by, my free time was spent with individuals who had been in my outer circle of relationships, while the people in my inner circle were getting farther away.
These individuals, from my outer circle, both men and women, were not people I loved, but people who all needed something from me, usually nothing more than a listening ear, or a little help that would only require my time.
The most common words I received from these people were of gratitude and thankfulness.
Interesting, too, from those who are Christians, I often heard their acknowledgment that God brought us together to give them hope and very real solutions to their problems. They reminded me that God is in control of “coincidences” that connected us. It’s more than weird, but what we call “Other”.
After these visits, I sat in my reading chair and asked the Lord to do something for me. I wore him out with my pleading that I get back in the rat race so I could feel loved, respected, significant, and secure by people and activities that would make me some money.
I didn’t like being broke.
I didn’t like being unproductive.
And I was tired of the “manna” God provided to sustain my life.
“I can do so much more if I’m out there,” I complained.
If I had been in the rat race, I would not have known these people who lived in the shadow of my life, some of which had been there for decades. And while I had been waiting to get on with my life, God brought these people out of the shadows to become the source of unspeakable joy to me.
I have been humbled by the knowledge that they have given me so much more than I have given them. I have been humbled by the knowledge that I would not have given them my time if God had not made it possible.
So, the best reason to have God on your radar?
If you’ll sit still, you’ll hear him. He’ll tell you to check on a neighbor going through chemotherapy or meet someone for coffee when they ask.
He’ll tell you to take that phone call and connect an acquaintance with someone who can help them.
If you listen, he’ll tell you to take a shut-in out of his solitary confinement for a bagel or to the movies.
He’ll put the words in your mouth to ask, “How are you really doing?”
And then, when you least expect it, as it did for me when I took a meal to my neighbor who is battling cancer, “I wish I could do something for you,” she said. “Why in the world are you so good to me?”
“It’s no problem at all. I hope you enjoy what I made,” I answered, and turned to leave her kitchen. “I love you,” she said for the first time after a year of getting to know her, my neighbor of eleven years. I turned back and looked into her wet eyes, and I hugged her frail skeleton.
“I love you, too,” I said. And as I walked across the yard to my house, I realized that I really did.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:35-40 (ESV)
As always, it is my intent and hope that my words may encourage you wherever you are in your journey.
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If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.--Jesus (Mark 4:23)