Monday, November 23, 2015

Live Now

I just recently got back from a missions trip in the Dominican Republic where we had the opportunity to serve in Cure Hospital that specializes in clubfoot treatments.  Our team of seven had the opportunity to visit and pray for patients and staff in the hospital, visit one of the patients in their home, play with about 45 kids at a local church school, and visit an orphanage.  It was an amazing week that I had eagerly anticipated for months.

Prior to the trip I had asked God to reveal to me how to embrace each moment, how to hold any expectations I had for the trip loosely and to be ready for what He had planned for me.  Leading up to the trip, I had heard this phrase and I took it with me as I prepared myself for each interaction I would have with others I would come into contact with.  I look at God, I look at you, and I keep looking at God.  (Julian of Norwich)

Each morning, I would remind myself to live each moment with that concept, and see God within each encounter I had with others.  I wouldn’t say that I did it perfectly, and there were times I held back out of fear or reservation due to the language barrier or my insecurities.  But the times I let go of my own fear and lived through God’s eyes, it was beautiful. 

And God showed me so much, whether when I was talking to mothers of children in the waiting room, or going with my team floor to floor in the hospital seeking out every individual we could find whether staff or patients and spending a few individual moments praying for them, picking up a crying orphan who melted in my arms content, praying for a strong woman of faith who needed someone at that moment to pour into her, or at the end of the week raising my hands in thanks looking up towards God thanking him for the week. 

When we live out our lives with eyes that are ready to see God in each encounter of each person we find before us, and with each opportunity that comes our way, we come alive and truly live.  This doesn’t mean we won’t come across difficult times, or difficult conversations, but it does mean that we will be living life seeing what God desires us to see within each individual moment.

My hope is that although I had such an amazing week on a mission’s trip, that it will not be the end of this experience, but that I will live out what I learned while down there, and that I will live.

In the end it won’t matter if you have a few scars, but it will matter if you didn’t LIVE
Rich Mullins

Lord, let me live now.
Not in the oughts to have done then
Nor the ifs of what is to come when.
No, Lord, let me live now.

God, may I BE now.
Not in the regrets of my history
Nor the fears of what is to be.
No, God may I BE now.

Father, let me live now.
Not in painful memories
Nor in dreamed up hypotheses.
Father, let me live now.

~ Sue Parrott

Monday, November 9, 2015


I was outside a couple weeks ago, cutting my plants back for the winter when a single biting fly started circling.  If I crouched I was fine, but the moment I stood up, that fly began to land on and bite my legs.  No matter how much I swatted that thing and danced around, it would NOT leave me alone.  I finally got so irritated that I put my stuff away and went inside.

A week later, I woke up early (amazingly, before everyone else in the house) with a concern that I have been wrestling with for months. I grabbed my Bible and sat down on the couch.  Once again, I brought this nagging issue to the Lord and said, “Father, I still don’t know what to do about this.  What should I do? What can I do? Please help me.” I opened the Word to where I had left off and this is what I read in the first verse of Luke 18. “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and never give up.”

“Ummm… OK, I heard you loud and clear, Lord!” There is nothing I am to do but continue to pray.  I reread that verse several times and then the parable that followed.  Jesus tells about a widow who goes before a self-centered, uncompassionate judge with a request. But this gal doesn’t just approach “his Honor” once or twice.  No, this was a case of a desperate woman in need of someone who would hear her plea and help.  I imagine her scurrying to be the first one in line every day to see the judge.  Perhaps she called out to him while waiting her turn.  Her desire for justice probably kept her up at night or woke her from sleep.

            Whatever the case, her persistence paid off.  The judge, not because of his goodness or concern, but because of his irritation with her, granted her request.

Jesus finishes this tale with a couple of thinkers for the disciples.  He asks: If this unjust judge finally listens and grants help to eliminate his irritant, how much more will a loving God listen and care for His chosen people?  Won’t he intently give ear to those who “cry out to him day and night”? We are told repeatedly throughout Scripture to pray without ceasing, to go before the throne with boldness, to pray and not give up, to seek, to ask, to come.

To the judge, the woman was like that biting fly…irritating enough to cause action.  Unlike that calloused judge, our Father wants us to be persistent.  He tells us to continue asking and pleading.  This reminder was a cup of cold water to me.  It was the refreshment and encouragement I needed to be faithful in prayer for those people and cares that seem to be on the long-term list.  He sees, He hears and He cares.  This I know.

                                    “always pray and never give up” 

~ Sarah Bennor