Monday, March 14, 2011

Soap Boxes and Stuff

Any of you who know me well rolled your eyes at the title, I know. I tend to get all soap boxy over many things. But, here's my new one............End Times. No, I'm not talking about the Pre-Trib/Post Trip debate either. I can honestly tell you I don't really know which of those I believe in (alright, some of you will start commenting on my post right now giving me reasons why one or the other is true). I've heard arguments for both, and they both seem sound. The thing is - I'm not totally convinced it matters. Yes, it matters that He is coming back, but does it really matter who is on the right side of the debate when He splits the eastern sky? See, if I am living my life the way I am supposed to live my life, it doesn't really matter if He comes back now, when I've already passed through this life, or if I pass through the tribulation. I am not living for the End Times. I am living for the life which is to come.

In the past few days there's been a post making it's way around FaceBook that goes something like this, "Sept. 11th (NY) Jan. 11th (Haiti) and March 11th (Japan)..... Luke 21:10-11 Then Jesus said to his disciples.. "Nations will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. Jesus says for behold I come quickly... So ask ur self r u ready?" Or there is the inevitable "Will you repost?" 

I'm not saying that the fact that these tragedies all occurring on the 11th is not interesting. But, look how many events occurred on April 19th (Waco, OKC Bombing, Columbine). My point is simply that while these dates seem eerie to me, they don't prove much else. Jesus says in Matthew 24 that the signs of times......among them are earthquakes. So, yes, I think we are in the end times. Does that mean tomorrow? Does it mean next year? In my life time? I don't know.....not sure how long the beginning of the end lasts.

But, here's the thing.....we ask people "R U ready?" like they need to get their 'Get out of Hell Free Card.' My question, mostly to myself, is "Am I ready?" 

Am I living like this life is what it's all about or am I living like the life to come is what it's all about? Does my everyday life make an eternal difference to someone? It's so easy to get caught up in so many things that in the end won't matter at all. I want to live my life in a radical way - refusing to care about my reputation or earthly position. I want to be undignified in my own eyes. God can do big, miraculous things and I want Him to use me to do it. Eternity is not some day yet to come. Eternity is now and the way I live is making an eternal difference to someone - but which eternity is that?

Monday, March 7, 2011

God of the Impossible

"Miracles are the retelling in small letters the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters to large for some of us to see." ~C.S. Lewis

I am so thankful that I serve a God who still speaks, still moves mountains, and still heals. We have this ideas sometimes that God worked in two distinct phases: Bible and post-Bible. I'm here to tell you that is not true! The God that raised the dead, healed the sick, and made the lame walk still does the same today. The questions is: Do you see it?

When I was living in Mozambique in 2006, I was in an accident left me banged up and bruised up enough that no one paid any attention to the small scratch on my foot - until I got a staff infection in that foot. By the time we realized what was happening, my foot was the size of a small football, the poisonous read streaks were running up my leg, my leg was hot to the touch, and I had absolutely no feeling in my right leg below my knee. Now that would be scary if you lived in America where doctors and hospitals abound. When you're living in the African bush and the nearest hospital is 13 hours away, you really start to understand the "jam" you are in. There was a health clinic nearby, but I was allergic to the only medicine they could offer me. When my mom found out, she freaked just a bit! Our family doctor told her that I needed to get out of the country because I could lose my leg and my life. Talk about frightening! So, while my mom worked on getting an            emergency visa to Moz to come to me, the missionary promised her that we would be on our way to Malawi - a neighboring country with a hospital - as soon as the sun came up.

But, that night - a Wednesday - as I was getting ready to go to bed and my church back in the states was headed into prayer meeting, an all out war was waged on my behalf. My missionary friends laid hands on my foot, my leg, my head and I listened in wonder as prayers were lifted up on my behalf in English, Portuguese, and Yao. In America, my family and friends were just as engaged in this war for my healing.  As I laid my head on my pillow that night, with my leg in a sling above  my head, I knew that whatever came of the situation that it was going to be okay. The power of prayer had done it's most mighty work in that it had already changed me. I knew that I could fully trust God - even with a life-threatening infection in the middle of the African Bush. He was totally God and I was totally at peace with that.

As the sun streamed through the clapboard window in my room the next morning, I looked at my foot and then I rubbed my eyes and looked at my foot again. It was it's normal size! The vicious angry red streaks were gone.....the incredible heat from the infection was gone, my fever had broken. I stood up and walked on my foot for the first time in days! 
Oh, wow! It was just a surreal moment. For just a few seconds - before anyone else knew my healing had taken place - it was just me and God rejoicing in this miracle together. He had saved my foot - my life! I was struck by the awesomeness of it all. I still get chills when I think about it. God could have absolutely used a doctor to heal me, and I would have been grateful for that, but in this moment He decided to show of a little of His glory in the story of my life. I am so thankful that He did! 

I don't know what miracle you need.......the healing of your body, your mind, your marriage - I don't know. But I know that God does. I've learned that He doesn't step in and do His thing until we are done doing ours. We have to depend on Him completely and fully. He doesn't compete for our affection or our faith, but He will wait patiently for us to come to Him. He is the same miracle working God of the Bible - who loves us passionately and desperately longs to give us the miracles we seek. The story that God longs for us to know intimately is the story of love - where He sent his only Son so that I might be healed from my diseases, saved from my sin, and come into a holy, passionate relationship with Him.