And the Answer Is . . .

Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me . . .But I call to God,
    and the Lord will save me.
(Psalm 55:5, 16)

I failed my driver’s test at least twice.  I say “at least” because I might have blanked out and actually failed it three . . . possibly four times.  It’s hard to say.  It’s enough to tell you that I still refuse to parallel park 16 years later.

So, when a friend of mine in college said that sometimes he just needed to drive, I didn’t get it.  Driving was stressful for me, parking even more so.  For him, though, it was like therapy.  Overwhelmed and overcome, he’d just cruise down the highway with an unimportant and undefined destination.

Today, for the first time, I understood.  Kissing my older girls goodbye and waving to them as they left on the school bus, I walked my toddler to the minivan and helped her into her seat. Then we drove.

As a mom, I’ve generally lost all control over the music in the car, so I let my two-year-old sing for a while about numbers, pirates, monkeys and queens.

Then I announced, “Mommy’s turn” and flicked a switch, only to hear:

Send me a sign: a hint, a whisper
Throw me a line ’cause I am listening
Come break the quiet; Breathe your awakening
Bring me to life ’cause I am fading . . .

Shine Your light so I can see You
Pull me up, I need to be near You
Hold me, I need to feel love
Can You overcome this heart that’s overcome?
{David Crowder *Band singing SMS (Shine}

That’s when I knew why I was driving.  Just like my friend, I was overwhelmed and overcome.

It’s been one of those seasons of ministry and of life when you’re surrounded by death, cancer, divorce, adultery, abuse, child custody battles, the loss of babies, alcoholism, financial crisis, and unemployment.  I’ve been praying for many miracles these days.

In her book, Knowing God by Name, Mary Kassian wrote about El Oseh Phela or The God Who Works Wonders, focusing on the fact that “The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders” (Deut. 26:8). 

She notes the phrase “outstretched arm . . . implies a work not yet fully completed–a work in progress.  The image of a mighty hand and an outstretched arm illustrates that God is intentionally involved in history on an ongoing basis” (p. 66 emphasis mine).

It’s part of God’s character, His name, a promise based on who He is that He sometimes chooses to deliver us with all of the glory of signs and wonders.  And it’s now, not just thousands of years ago for Moses or Joshua, for Elijah and Daniel.  It’s for us, too, which gives me hope when I’m praying for “impossible” requests.

Yet, at times we’re looking for the fireworks, lightning bolts, and parting seas of miraculous intervention, only to overlook the answer He’s already given to our prayers of desperation—through the ministry of others.

That’s why God fed Elijah once miraculously with food carried in the claws of ravens and then fed Elijah miraculously through the generosity of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17).  It was God’s way of meeting Elijah’s needs and blessing the widow at the same time by allowing her to be part of God’s activity.

Sometimes we are the miracle God is sending to another.  We are the blessing He has offered; we are the provision; we are His answer to the tearful prayers in the night.

Not that it’s because of our own ability or volition.  It’s God’s generous way of allowing us to be used in service and His gracious method of linking people together, knowing that we need the connection and relationship that it brings.

At the start of this year, I read Billy Graham’s book Nearing Home and I wrote this in a devotional:

We tend to give when it’s convenient.  We often make decisions based on what’s practical.  We give what we can afford.  We get together when we’re “free.”

But Jesus served others when it was inconvenient and impractical.  He skipped meals, changed plans, took the long way around, gave up time away for those who needed Him and died to save them.  He didn’t stay up on the cross for the sake of a theology or a plan.  He did it for love of people.

My husband said, “often what is important isn’t what’s practical” in our relationships with others.

So, this year I want to major on the important, even if it’s impractical, hard, or downright crazy.”

Starting in my own home and moving out from there, I’m challenged again to follow Christ’s example and make people my priority and passion.

The Message says it this way:

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out” (Romans 15:1-4 MSG)

Maybe we’re praying for God’s intervention in situations and it really is going to take His mighty hand and outstretched arm to deliver.  But maybe we’re praying for the miracles and God’s already given the answer . . . and the answer is us.

So, I’m ending today with the words to another of my favorite songs, a prayer of sorts for God’s people to love people.

Where there is pain, let us bring grace
Where there is suffering bring serenity
For those afraid, let us be brave
Where there is misery, let us bring them relief
And surely we can change . . . Something
(David Crowder *Band, Surely We Can Change)

You can watch the video for SMS (Shine) by clicking here or by clicking on the image from the blog.  Please take the time to watch and listen today!!!

And here’s the link to Surely We Can Change.

You can read other devotionals on this topic here:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Watcha Reading?

It’s time for all things New Years: resolutions and diet plans and Spiritual re-commitments.  I’m wondering–what are you reading in the new year?  Are you following a Bible reading plan?  A devotional?  Picking up a study or tackling a good book?

Here’s what’s on my kitchen table right now as I plunge into the start of my 2012 reading year.  What’s on your reading list?

The Bible:
The Daily Message
In his introduction to this one-year Bible reading program, Eugene Peterson writes, “Reading is the first thing, just reading the Bible.”  Few things thrill me more than jumping into another year of reading God’s Word and I’ve already crinkled the first few pages and written my thoughts in the margins for today’s reading.

Scripture Memory:
100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart by Robert J. Morgan
I’m excited to read Morgan’s book because it encourages Scripture Memory not just by listing off the verses Christians should know, but explaining a little bit about them and why they matter.  He’s categorized them also, making this Scripture Memory program thematic.

The Study:
James: Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore
I started this study just a few weeks ago and it’s a dig deep kind of book.  I love it.  James didn’t mince words or pull punches when he wrote his epistle in the Bible, so this is a study that challenges at every turn.  But, James also wrote, that God “gives more grace” (James 4:6) and “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).  That’s reason enough to step up to the challenge of serious Bible study in 2012.

The Devotionals:
Your 100 Day Prayer by John I. Snyder
I had the chance to review this devotional and prayer guide this past year and decided I’d read through it more carefully and deliberately in 2012.  It’s a commitment to 100 days of focused prayer on a specific prayer need along with a great devotional for each day.  (You can read my full review here.)

A Year with Jesus by Eugene Peterson
This is a daily devotional I started partway through 2011, so I’m still reading through as I begin 2012.  I love it.  Really, really love it.  It’s a handful of verses in either the gospel of Matthew or John, a few sentences with thoughts from Eugene Peterson and then a brief prayer.  I thought it was too short to say anything valuable.  Boy, was I wrong!  Some of the deepest and most Revelation moments I’ve had with God this year have emerged from a page’s worth of reading in this book before I go to sleep each night.

The Book:

The Shelter of God’s Promises by Sheila Walsh

Sheila Walsh writes, “God not only keeps His promises but He longs to keep us in them.”  Studying the promises of God seems like a great way to begin the new year, knowing that He will be true to His Word and faithful to do all that He has said.

It’s a reading list I’m so excited about for the new year!  I hope you’ve found a way to read the Bible, study it and pray through it in 2012 also!