I know that it’s easy to think God isn’t real.
Or if He is, that He is just the Big Bang.
Or if He is more than the Big Bang, He’s the un-namable element of energy that interconnects all things together.
But, what a shame
to miss out on having a relationship with God.
If it hasn’t happened to you, you may not believe it, but God answers prayers.
Moreover, if you consistently seek Him,
He continues to answer those prayers.
We can debate about why the Divine Spirit has to be called God in the first place
or why that God isn’t referred to as Her,
But I really can’t answer that for you.
Only He can answer for you.
What I know for sure is that God is real to me.
And I also know that today,
He blew my mind.
I have long since been so hardened to His Presence that I need crazy, and impossible miracles in order to believe.
Fortunately, God illuminated early for me Elijah’s whisper experience, as mentioned in I Kings 19:11-13. God has cultivated in me a deep sensitivity in me to see the wonder in the minute details of life.
This morning, I was poured out and distraught over the cloudiness before me, frustrated with myself for making excuses instead of doing what I knew in my Spirit I needed to do. Thinking back, my worry is warranted: every goal I set for myself this quarter, I have fallen short of. From finances to ministry to bodily maintenance, I have just come short of the mark. But this is the natural perspective and sometimes, I failed to see anything other realm.
So, I poured out to Jesus in a wail, covered my face and laid on my floor on my blanket, softly sobbing and then pretty much wailing out to God. “What is my purpose, Jesus?” Not angrily, because I trust the Lord and I did cry out from a place of trust. But I have been so disconnected. I had been getting some short bursts of energy, but overall my connection was weak. I’d been running myself into small half circles trying to establish myself in the ministry and not seeing the fruit I was promised in the Spirit. Moreover, I was receiving rebuke after rebuke as my failures loomed over me and siphoned away my motivation to serve. I was trying not to feel empty.
Another thing was happening to me this morning. The same urging in the Spirit pushed me to finally pay a late ticket.
Let me be clear, I had no intentions on paying the ticket late, I just kept waiting. What I was waiting for, I realized I had never defined. There is a difference between tarrying and procrastination. There is a difference between patience and indecision. It is easy to mistake the two when the barrier to completion of the plan looks like a place you’ve been before.
It is an easy trick of the enemy, low-hanging fruit to show you the dark side of your past struggles and not remind you of the triumphs over them.
Pain leaves deep wounds. Disappointment and failures stick, if not re-calibrated in the mind.
So, in my waiting, I managed to get my license suspended. It happened just a day prior me finally deciding to pay the fine, costing another fee on top of the ticket. I could not understand why I had allowed this to happen, knowing better and having been well-prepared to fix the situation some time ago. I often suffer from mistaking strong preparation for successful execution.
So, I woke up fed up with myself.
What was I waiting for?
See, God is faithful to His promises.
But, it only matters if we are faithful to His Promises, too, right? I did not trust that I couldn’t possibly walk through another valley again. But, I didn’t understand that I am not alone anymore. My lack of trust in myself meant, I didn’t trust that He could carry me through this fog either.
This is what I found lying on my floor in a haze of frustration:
When we come to the end of ourselves, we find God there faithfully and full of grace. Without condemnation, He quietly unfolds His mercy over us and covers us.
At the DMV, I arrived on time only to wait 25 minutes. 10 of those minutes I did not have to spare and borrowed from my commute because the DMV was exactly 10 minutes opposite of my commute. I sat and did my reading. The devotion from Numbers 6:24 reminds me of the Aaronic blessing:
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
As I attempt to remain peaceful, the gentleman beside me occupies his time with weather videos played out loud on speaker, the row in front of me makes comments about waiting too long, and the 89-year old woman behind me talks to a young man behind me about her many ailments.
After limping through my devotional, I try to read my daily chapters in Colossians, He admonished me, “And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” In my repentance, I am grateful for God’s correction. But, the woman’s conversation remains loud over my thoughts. I am finally worn out and put my readings down. I listen to the woman. The young man is polite and sympathetic.
Much more so than I in this moment and I am grateful that He talking with her and not I. Having a sympathetic ear she slowly unfurls her current concerns mainly having many surgeries, for which she is no longer able to tolerate with patience.
I am listening too closely now, I tune out again. I try to focus on my breath, the many license plate designs, whether or not I wail go back and listen to the clipboard man talk about his petition. I try not to think about my failures and I try not to think about her surgeries. Still, I am nagged and find myself right back in the middle of the woman’s story. She has struck an engaging balance of matter-of-fact and general conversation. She is not complaining or whining at all. Simply explains to the young guy about old age and the new body changes it brings. But, something in me still connects to her since of “over it.”
I hang on to this as the young man’s number is called. Just as he gets up out of his seat, I hear her say that she just doesn’t know what the purpose of it all is anymore. “Why have this body if it’s not going to work properly, you know?” Her thesis of the entire conversation, whispered just as he departs. Unable to truly offer solace he says politely and with a noticeable level of pity, “Well you have a nice day alright.” She responds rather cheerily, perhaps grateful for the listening ear.
Soon after, my number is called. I focus on by breathing again and her deep down in me that God has a blessing for her. And it’s coming soon. I am called to tell her to expect it. I ignore it, at some level wanting my own blessing to come soon. But mainly afraid to bring God into the whole equation. I go the kiosk and pay my fee. I thank Jesus that He has once again provided me with the extra to cover my own mistakes. I try to be present with the woman’s helping me, but my heart is still in the chair in front of the older woman. I ask myself why I didn’t say anything. When no answer suffices, I decide to say something.
As I prepare to head out the door, I look back at the chair where she would be sitting. At first I don’t recognize her because she looks much younger than I imagined, but I know it is her because he is slightly glowing. Resolved, I inch past the weather man and lean over the seat.
“Excuse me, ma’am.”
“Excuse me, ma’am. I believe something wonderful is coming to you soon.”
“I’m sorry what was that.” She sits up further on the edge of her chair, tucking back her hair and turns her ear to me.
I repeat myself, a little too loudly, “I believe something wonderful is going to happen to you soon.”
She lights up. “Oh well that’s very nice of you to say!”
Glad for her change in countenance and receptive reaction, I mirror her smile.
She adds, “If I make it through this day, that would be a good thing.”
I reply that I believe she will and to look out for something wonderful.
As I go out the building, I listen to the makes petition. Unconvinced, I tell him to keep up the hard work and head back to my car. Hoping for those few minutes off my commute, I am filled with a grateful heart for being obedient to the Spirit of the Lord.
At work, my mother texted me a truly encouraging word and follows with the information for the ministry website. Expressing such trust in this new responsibility, I am filled with gratitude. When I stop to see her in the evening, I am elated to see her reflecting and journaling the Inspire Bible I got for her pastoral anniversary. We sat on the bed together and her excitement to see me fills me all the way up.
I think of how far emotionally I am from where the day started from and give thanks all over again. God doesn’t have to answer my prayers. He created the universe. He is the highest power that exists. He holds all things together though time, space and matter, yet He answers my prayers. He holds every tear and numbers every hair. He gives me same-day delivery when I am desperate enough.
I know that the Lord hears the prayers of His children.
I am blessed to be a child of God.
This is enough purpose to last a lifetime.
But, with Jesus, I don’t just have a lifetime — I have forever in his precious grace.
Thank you Jesus.