So on the way to work today, I had to stop and wait for two people as they tried to cross the icy (and amazingly snowy) road to the post office. There was a line of us waiting, and I noticed how patient everyone was (rare for Longmont). Then I watched as the man slowly helped his crippled friend cross over the street. It hit me, for the millionth time, how unfair it is that so many people suffer in this world. And then it hit me how blessed I am to have a healthy family, and then I cried as I watched the man. He is someone’s son. And how I would hate it if my son suffered from a crippling disease. I prayed for the man as we drove away, and I thanked the Lord that in heaven there will be no more sickness, no more suffering, no more heartache, and no more tears. As the old song says, “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!” How very true that is and how very much I look forward to that day.
Yet that day has not come. So while we wait, God has asked us to be His hands and feet, to have His heart and compassion for those who suffer, and to be willing to minister His love to them. However, that is so much easier said than done.
Part of my progress in this life has been to allow God to work through this awkward, quiet, hesitatnt lady with a huge heart for people, yet an uncertainty of how to step out and minister to those around her. And in January of this year, I was challenged to no longer sit back but to work through the uncertainty. Part of the challenge was given when missionary David Hogan came to speak at our church, and we were encouraged and blessed by his heart of love and compassion for people. The love of God just flows out through him. He made a statement that has really stuck in my mind this year. He said that we’re so distracted. We would do so much more for God if we didn’t have so many distractions. I’ve pondered that, examined my life, and prayed about what these distractions are for me. But more than that, I’ve pondered what it is that keeps me from doing the day to day things that God has called me to? What is it that keeps me using my gifts and talents? What is it that keeps me from loving on the strangers that I meet at Target, the post office, or even in the offices that we clean? What keeps me from praying for the cripples in my city?
And so God has taken me on a process of slowly peeling back the layers of distraction, slowly getting rid of fears and excuses, and removing some of the shy, reserved, I don’t know how or what to say characteristics that typically are a part of me. Over the summer, a group of us were able to hit the streets of downtown Boulder and seek out God’s treasures. We found the homeless men and women who were traveling through, and we just talked to them. We gave them needed supplies to help make life a tad easier, we fed them, and we just befriended them. It was so much easier than we all expected!! And more than that, it opened my eyes to see people. Not see just another man with a sign and asking for food. But to see that man as someone’s son, someone’s father, someone who is just struggling through this life and trying to survive as best as he can. It taught me to slow down and look for these people. The people that God loves and sent His son to die for.
So in conclusion, not only am I so thankful for my family and my family’s health, I’m thankful that God is softening my heart more and more. He’s removing those distractions, and He’s giving me more and more of His heart of love and compassion. I’m thankful that after 25+ years of knowing Him, He’s still patient with me, still teaches me, and still loves me enough to challenge me to grow. I’m thankful that He hasn’t forgotten this working mom who sometimes feels like all she does and all she is good for is to clean, cook, and chase after a toddler. 🙂 I’m looking forward to what God has in store for us in 2011, and I have high hopes that even more of life’s distractions will fade and more of Who He is in me will be evident. I’m hoping for lots of progress to be made in 2011!