BEING THERE. And some other stuff....
God interrupted some stuff I was doing today, and I figured I ought to write about it.
First, a little background (hang on, it really is related..): I have suffered from IBS for 50 years or a bit more. If you don't know what that is, Google it. I have too much regard for those who might read this, to describe it here.
So I have lived with it for roughly half a century, including the year or two lately when I had a magic pill that would stop it.
Hold that thought for a moment, please.
I have taught Sunday School for the majority of the last 40 years. And all that time, I've wrestled with the regular barrage of IBS and its unpleasant effects. But that went completely away about 18 months ago, when we went on an 11-day cruise.
Although I had taken those magic pills with me, not once during the cruise, did I have an attack. Peg said the diagnosis was really obvious to her: eliminate the stress, and the IBS goes with it. So I came back from the cruise and announced, the next Sunday, I would no longer be teaching.
Say goodbye to the IBS, and with it, one church activity for me.
Shortly thereafter, I was having lunch with Dr. Daven Watkins, our pastor at FBC Pelham. We'd been having lunch together, occasionally, in the 2+ years he's been here. I just happened to ask him if there was anything I might do to help him. His answer: "You're already doing it".
I replied you mean just being here? He said "Yes."
Peg and I talked about this that evening and she completely agreed. And before the day was done, I'd spoken to a friend in Texas about Spiritual gifts, and also spoke with a man in a different Texas town ... a young man I have been witnessing to for 6 or 7 years.
299 pages of Facebook Chat info, let's put it that way.
I talked about what had been happening, with Peg. She said it seemed to her to be affirmation that Being There was, indeed, what God had in mind for me. And since then .. in the 3 months or so since that lunch with Daven, God has affirmed that many times. One such example:
I spent the day yesterday, having tests run at our local hospital's Diagnostic Center. And I chatted with folks in every waiting room I sat in. One such involved a half hour's conversation with 3 solid Christians from a neighboring county. They were country folks, and we had a delightful conversation for 30 minutes or so. It sure encouraged me, and I hope it did, them. But I really hope the other man sitting in the room .. small for a waiting room ... caught some of what we were talking about, and realized the universal appeal to folks.
Another case: the Diagnostic Center was several hundred yards from the testing center, through a real labyrinth of doors and hallways. Owing to my arthritis, I cannot walk that far, and (as they did for most patients there for tests) they had someone from "Transport" come get me in with wheelchair. First time it was a very nice lady and we talked the whole way there.
I told you the place was big ... big enough to have a "Transport Department" to deliver folks around!
The second time it was a young man who pushed me around. And he was accompanied by a young intern, pushing an empty wheelchair and "learning the ropes." He was obviously not enjoying it, from his attitude, his posture and expressions, and from things like standing in a doorway as we were trying to leave. I finally said to him "You're a bad advertisement for this hospital". He asked why, and I told him. When that test was done and I was being shoved back to the waiting room, the young man came up and shook my hand, and thanked me. And finally, my human propulsion man said to me "That was wise advice you gave him".
Now I ain't all that smart, folks. But I figure ... going back to the 2006 SBC Convention in Greensboro ... God doesn't show me stuff so I can sit down and be quiet. And then, a really important realization swept over me on the way home, yesterday. Follow along...
Henry Blackaby's Study Course "Experiencing God" teaches that, when God shows you what He's doing here, it is His invitation to get involved. What hit me yesterday was that, when we show ourselves faithful in getting involved, He's apt to show us more things He wants us involved in. And, ironically, it is the involvement that prepares us for further involvements.
And further "revealings".
Riding home in the car, a tremendous wave of "it's all right-ness" swept over me. Despite just having tests run to find the cause of a rise in my PSA, I was simply overjoyed by what God had sent my way.
My advice: be relentless in finding what God wants from and for you. Use all the brains ... and wisdom ... you have and all you can borrow. Too many Christians settle for less than the sort of life Jesus came to bring us, and it is axiomatic that, when you settle for less than what's yours, you will get less than you settled for.
Jesus died to bring us this marvelous life. Please don't disappoint Him.