Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The God of the possible

People have begun to look different to me.  I see them not as much for who they are to me from the outside, but for who God created them to be in His image.  I talk to people more and with a genuine desire to see people...these other image bearers of God that I walk through this life with.  And sometimes it's hard. Because sometimes people make it hard.  I see their sin and I don't like it and then because of their sin, my sin shows up.  Not real cool.  And so I ask forgiveness for this often.  But I am thankful that at least now I see my sin and am asking forgiveness for it rather than not seeing it at all and not even realizing I need to rid it from my life.

So, I'm learning.  God is opening my eyes.  Sometimes it takes an opportunity passing me by for my eyes to be open.

The other day I passed up an opportunity that was right there in front of me.  But I said "No."  I was in line checking out at the grocery store when the woman in line in front of me asked the checker to please place only one or two items in each of her grocery bags.  This woman was in a motorized cart and was clearly weak.  She asked that the checker do this because she couldn't bear the weight of any more items in each of her bags.  I listened to the dialogue.  Actually, it wasn't much of a dialogue because the checker seemed a bit perturbed and didn't really say much to the woman.  I stood there with my cart full of groceries and two small children with me thinking, "Gosh, I should really offer to help this woman."  But the longer I stood there without saying anything, some other thoughts quickly entered my mind and took over.

I thought to myself, "I'd really love to help this lady out, but I can't offer to help her.  How could I help her and manage my cart, my kids, her stuff all at the same time?  If the girls weren't with me I could definitely help her.  I just can't do it all."

And so she left and we left and no one helped her.

I said, "No."

And my heart was sad when I later realized why I said no.  I said no because I didn't trust Jesus.  It's as simple as that.  I decided that I couldn't figure out how it would all work out, so surely He couldn't either.  Wait, did I just say that my God couldn't figure it out?  That's what I said in that moment even though no one else saw it but me and God.  Sometimes I'm so blind.

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2

I didn't carry her burdens...quite literally.

But all Jesus asks is that I bring Him what I have.  In that moment, a willing spirit should have been enough.  Just like when He fed the 5000 with five loaves and two fishes.  He asked, "How many loaves do you have?" (Mark 6:38). The answer didn't really matter, what was important was that they brought Him what they had.  He was looking for the willingness of their hearts.  I love what Richard Stearns writes The Hole in Our Gospel on this very story:
Can you see the real miracle at work here?  Confronted with an overwhelming problem, Jesus did not ask the disciples to do the impossible; He asked only for them to bring to Him what they had.  He then multiplied the small offering and used it to do the impossible. . .  God never asks us to give what we do not have . . . But he cannot use what we will not give.
Such freedom.  We can't do the impossible.  But we are commanded to bring to Him what we have and let Him do the impossible!
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