Archive for April, 2011

Extra Easter

I discovered last night it’s not easy to communicate outside in the dark amid three thousand people taking communion. Tangled whispers with my husband resulted in both of us getting communion for my eighty-six year old mother. Only he beat me back to the seat.

For a moment, I stood there, cup and cracker in both hands, wondering what to do. Mom had her portion, and everyone else around us did as well. I couldn’t very well return to the table. It would cause too much disruption for others. Then it hit me… I had been given a double portion of grace.

I sat down and stared at my hands ladened with the reminder of God’s provision through Christ. Both hands were filled. There wasn’t one holding on to the Spirit and one holding on to the world, both were covered with evidence of His rich love. Verses ran through my mind, “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) “Where sin increased – grace abounds.” (Romans 5:20) and I started to weep.

How tender God’s love is for us! How it never fails! He doesn’t give us a tiny drop to smear over an ocean of sin. He floods us with the grace of Christ, changing the salt lakes of our hearts to rivers of life. Never does He regret making the sacrifice for us, but is glorified eternally because He loves us consistently. And every time we ask for His mercy, He gives. And gives. And gives.

Do we go through trials? Does anyone need to ask? Do we suffer for our choices? Deeply. But even through trial and consequences the truth prevails –  Jesus saves completely those who trust in Him because He lives to intercede for us. (Hebrews 7:5)

This is your year for extra Easter. Take and drink His love.

 

If you were weak, O Lord, how could I count on you? If you were powerful, but cruel how could I depend on you? But you, O Lord, are powerful and you, O God, are faithful in unfailing love. You are all I need. Psalm 62:11 -12

Today is made for you, beautiful God. Show me your character and cause me to radiate your light as I walk through your plan. Help me to rest in your goodness and be your envoy of peace. Genesis 1 and 2

Filling the Tank

I don’t know of anyone who loves pumping gas into their car, but for my friends Bryan and Jo, filling the tank is an exercise in faith.

Bryan is blind and Jo, his wife, severely handicapped by rheumatoid arthritis, is wheelchair bound. For Jo, getting her wheelchair between the van and pump is impossible, so she coaches Bryan as he finds the pump and tries to operate it. She calls out to him, “To your left, Bryan. Now up… no back… too far. Not that button! You’ve got to start over. Clear it… put the card back in. No… not there.” She rests for a second, the effort of looking backward exhausting, before trying again.

Right here is where “normal” people widen their eyes, “How in the world do they do it?” Answer: Bryan and Jo are anything, but normal. They are God’s secret agents, fearlessly traveling disguised as a handicapped couple in their mission to help others understand the love of Christ.

Take for example their last fill up. Tired of the craziness of paying at the pump, Bryan offered to go inside the store and prepay.

“Usually, the moment I come in, someone offers help because they can see I’m blind. This time only silence,” Bryan recalled, chuckling. “I held out my credit card and said ‘Hello?’ – nothing. So I made my way to the counter where I could hear someone behind it.” He stretches his arms out wide with a grin, pivoting on one foot like a swinging gate, “‘HELLO! I want to prepay!‘ Finally this guy speaks in Spanish and I realize he can’t understand me. I hold up my card. ‘I want to prepay,’ I say again.”

Meanwhile, Jo is watching from the van as more people enter the store. A line forms behind Bryan, who’s waving his arms and gesturing to the pumps. Back inside, a stranger tries to help out, only his thick urban dialect is more confusing to the clerk then Bryan’s English. For awhile it’s chaos, but eventually, the clerk figures it out and takes the card. Bryan heads back to the van and Jo drives over to get the gas.

Only someone else is pumping their prepaid gas into another car.

Bryan gets out and calmly explains to the woman that she’s pumping his gas, but she speaks broken English and has trouble understanding him. Her teenage son, who’s been sitting in her car, begins cursing, “G** D#@* it, Mom! You’re taking his *#@&*^ gas!” He rages on at her until she stops and puts the nozzle back in the pump.

Now what would you do if you were blind, your wife is in a wheelchair and you’ve just been through fifteen minutes of insanity? I would be rattled. I would smile softly at the mom and try to stay away from the kid. But God made Bryan to show me how handicapped I am.

Bryan put his arm around the lady. “You really shouldn’t let your son treat you that way. You were made in God’s image, made to be respected. Can I pray with you that God will give you the strength to correct your son?” And so they pray!

By this time the whole station has been affected by Bryan and Jo – not an unusual thing for them. Another stranger comes up to Bryan and offers to pump his gas. Bryan stretches out his arms again, moving his head like Stevie Wonder, “Oh bless you!” he beams, still happy, not flustered, simply ministering where he can. “I thanked him and talked with him and was just about to go have a heart-to-heart with the kid when they drove away,” he finishes telling me.

I’m amazed. “Bryan, you’re used to being vulnerable aren’t you?”

“Oh yeah! Hey, it’s always God that protects us. Even with the van that’s decked out for us, it still has to function properly and we still have to trust the Lord to get us there. Our lives depend on God so why not take chances and let Him work?”

I shake my head. “Yeah, why not?”