“I Thirst…”

So, it’s springtime in Alabama.  Flowers are blooming everywhere, birds are singing…  I am existing on a healthy diet of Zyrtec, Mucinex, and Robitussin…  I love spring but hate allergy season.  How can I feel as if I am drowning at the same I am so thirsty and can’t speak?  Antihistamines are ok I guess, but I have been walking around feeling severely dehydrated for about a week.  So I am constantly looking for something to drink.

I was meditating this morning over Jesus hanging on that cross.  He said so few words, however, one thing He said stays with me:  “I thirst.”

Of course he was thirsty, between the blood loss from flogging, the physical exertion of carrying the cross, and the ever-present dust in that desert, I can imagine his thirst was like nothing I have ever experienced.  It had to be torturous.

So I stayed with that image for a while, thinking about his reason for willingly being there. – So I wouldn’t have to.  Plain and simple.  My Savior decided to go through that torture so that I would not experience the price for my sins.  How do I make peace with that?

Just for kicks, I walked around my house looking for liquid.  Orange juice?  bottled water?? Hmm.  3 kinds of gatorade…  sweet tea? YUM!  There it is… Dr. Pepper! YES! Ahhhh, I am a new person.

I had over 17 different beverage choices in my house to quench that thirst this morning.  17!  And had never thought twice about what a luxury I had.  Some people might find themselves feeling guilty for it.  “There was Jesus hanging on a cross for me, with no water to drink.  Here I am a sinner, with more than I can consume…  How awful is that?”

But I don’t think those words were given to us in the Bible to make us feel guilty.  I believe they had another purpose.  Jesus tells us in John chapter 10 that He came, “So we could have life and have it abundantly.”  He didn’t say, that we were going to have to scrape the dismal ground to get by.  (Although, I feel like I have been there too at times…)

No friends, much like a parent, Jesus chose to sacrifice Himself, and He wants better for us.  I don’t think He begrudges us some of the little pleasures in life.  However, that is not the message I get from this scripture either.

What I take away from that passage is that Jesus was human.  He understood our most basic physical needs, more so than some of us.  And in His grace and mercy, He wants to provide them for us.  We may never be wealthy, but I do believe He wants to shower us with necessities and extravagances (every now and then…) because He loves us that much.  He wants us to trust Him to provide.  He wants us to run to Him with our worries and needs.  What is stopping us friends?

Do we fear rejection?  Do we fear showing weakness?  Do we fear that He is unable to provide for us?

Do yourself a favor.  Walk around your home.  Pay attention to the small things that make your life good, easier, more comfortable… Then consider the source of all your gifts and ask yourself, “What should I be asking for?”  “Is there something else He wants to give me?”  Joy, Peace, Contentment… He is the giver of all good gifts.  He is faithful to supply our every need if we leave it in His hands.

Shalom,

 

Heavenly Father,

Forgive us when we don’t notice the multitude of good things you send our way.  Help us to be aware of your presence in our lives and homes.  Speak to us in ways that we can understand, and lead us into a more trusting relationship with You.  Thank You, Lord, for all the things we don’t even see.

In Christ’s name we pray,

Amen

“Can You Let Go of the Wheel?”

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

1st Corinthians 2:9

It’s that time of year again.  Numbers are crunching, spreadsheets are printing.  Budgets are due for approval.  Every year is the same thing.  For about 3 months I am covered (especially mentally) in reviewing the activities and expenses from last year, making adjustments for next year and hoping the money comes in to cover all my ministry expenses.  And I love it!

For those who know me personally, this is an odd statement.  The last thing in the world that I could ever be accused of is loving paperwork.  But it isn’t the paper that I love.  It is the sense of hope and excitement about what God is going to do in the year to come.  Every year I am asked to submit not only a budget, but a ministry plan for the following year.  I have always tried to map out every offering, event, or campaign at least a year in advance to make sure we have the resources to make it happen.  Church finances (for those of you that don’t know) are always 1/4 what you know, 1/4 what you guess, and 1/2 what you pray for.)

But the longer I do this job of helping people on their faith journey, the more I realize that my plans aren’t the ones that matter.  I have learned to let go of the wheel and let God do what He does best: surprise me.  He forms ministry where once there was none.  He brings people from places I have never heard of.  And He creates opportunity to share the gospel in the most unlikely places.

I am so excited with the anticipation of what God will do next, both in my church and in my life.  And I am so grateful for the opportunity to be witness to His wonders.  I have learned from experience that His plans are so much better than mine.  I cannot conceive of the blessings He wants to shower over the people in this community, through this body of believers.

God has a heart for families who are struggling.  He has a heart for those in need.  He has a heart for the lost.  And I am amazed and humbled year after year as He entrusts His resources to us to be used in ministering to those who need it.  I have seen Him do some wonderful things, miracles in fact, through the church universal.  And to be a part of His movement to touch the world is the most compelling reason I can think of for my own existence.  Because nothing that I can come up with on my own can even come close to what He has in mind.

Do you have that kind of excitement over what He is doing in your life?  Do you have a vision of that path He wants you to follow?  Friends, one of the best things that we can ever do is to surrender our plans in favor of His.  His love is extravagant and His grace is boundless.  Have the faith to receive what He has for you, and then share it with a world desperately in need of hope and encouragement.

There is a new year coming, for our families, our jobs, our finances, our health and our relationships with God.  Let go of the wheel and see what He will do for you and through you.

In the name of the Son I pray,

Amen