November 1, 2010
Have you ever noticed when you’re driving that if your eyes shift from the road to something else, it’s so easy to veer to one side or the other? The thing is, it happens SO FAST! Our relationship with God is exactly the same – distractions can be all sorts of things…good things…seemingly harmless things…and yes, of course, the not so pleasant things.
And, have you ever noticed how often God answers prayers through opportunities? I suppose I knew that subconsciously, but the awareness came to me yesterday at the oddest time…in a movie! I was listening to Evan Almighty playing in the background and a quote grabbed my attention,
“Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage, or does he give them opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for their family to be closer, you think God zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings? Or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”
It gives an entirely different perspective when it comes to embracing opportunities… or as some might view, challenges…
The opportunity God has repeatedly set before me the past few months has been ministering to women and witnessing. Yes, we are ALL called to do that – but how many of us actually embrace the calling? I can’t say I’ve stepped out there to embrace this opportunity…lean? Yes…but not really pushed out of my comfort zone and lean on God to manage the details.
For several months, I’ve been invited to participate in an outreach ministry sponsored by my church. Each month volunteers attend a women’s service at the local detention center. I never seriously considered participating and I suppose it’s mainly because I didn’t see how God could use me in the circumstance…yes, I know…my desire to see the picture before I move and irrational feelings of not being skilled enough to really help someone in that particular situation rearing it’s ugly head.
Then I was reminded of a devotional from a month or so ago entitled “The Perfectionist” – the author used Ex 4:10 – the story of how Moses tried to convince God to choose someone else because he wasn’t an eloquent speaker and 2 Cor 12:9 “…for my power is made perfect in weakness” to make a point.
“Have you ever not pursued something because it had to be perfect? There is a fine line between doing things with excellence and being a perfectionist. Perfectionists easily become argumentative with God. When God places His anointing on you He uses whatever level of skill you have to fulfill His purposes in your life. This is why you need not fear moving into an unfamiliar area if He calls you there. What is God waiting for you to do? It may be time to step out. He specializes in “cliff-catching.”
Well, yesterday was my time to step out! Out the door at 5AM – that in and of itself is a small miracle…I went with a friend only to discover I was surrounded by friends…friends of God…all eager to serve Him…even though I had no idea what to expect, I wasn’t anxious at all…even though I had no idea how to pray for the women I was about to meet, I too was eager to serve. We went through the technicalities (forms, ID, etc) and made our way over to the building where service was to be held. I was so pleasantly surprised by the large number of women choosing to attend the service. Although my partner took the prayer lead, I silently prayed for him – that the Holy Spirit would guide him – WOW! Talk about powerful! I know, it sounds so simple, right? But I’ve never applied it before – needless to say, I had one of the wettest faces in the building – such sweet tears!
It was as if God was saying, “See? I really do know what I’m doing!” The message that followed was a fabulous reinforcement. Focus. Keeping our focus on God in the midst of our circumstances – the message and experience gave me such a wonderful point of view – one He continues to build in me. It doesn’t matter what is going on around me…as long as my focus is centered on God, whatever circumstance (pleasant or a bit more challenging) crosses my path, I can work through…with Him. And when I view circumstances of others, if I take a moment to try and see it through God’s perspective, I just might see, as in the case of the women at the detention center, we have so much in common! First and foremost, God loves each and every one of us equally. We all live through the consequences of our actions and in each circumstance there is an opportunity to grow and know Him better.