Its Not About Me

I've been thinking about this post for a few weeks, trying to find a way to make it all tidy and coherent. Which requires serious effort these days. As a brilliant mind said once, "Forgive me, I don't have the time to be brief."

This morning I read something by Leni over at WorthDoing (see sidebar for link) and it prompted me to post this sooner rather than later.

I've often wondered about why sometimes bad things happen to good people, and reconciling it with "all things work together for the good of those that love God", and "rain falls on the just and unjust alike", and God answering prayers sometimes "yes" and sometimes "no".

Ultimately, I give up and accept that I will not ever know everything and I simply must believe that God has my best interests at heart and will act accordingly. And I do believe that. At a practically cellular level. That God loves me. "Why" can wait for later. Now it is enough that I know. Perhaps thats all I could take now. Anyway, its not like I don't have other things to think about.

However, sometimes a new thought enters my world that really gets my attention.

Last week, our minister wrote a column in the newsletter about a story by Max Lucado. He visits a man in the hospital who is suffering. The man seems very down, feeling like God isn't answering his prayers about his health. After listening awhile, Max says something along the lines of "Maybe, perhaps, its not about you?" The man suddenly realizes that he was wasting his witness in the face of suffering. Instead of letting God use his suffering for the benefit of those around him, the man was shutting the door on a great opportunity.

That whole idea really grabbed me: Maybe. Its. Not. About. Me.

Think about it. If you could rescue a child from a burning building, but knew that doing it would result in some personal injuries that would take a few weeks (or months) to heal, would you still do it? I'd like to think that most of us would.

Isn't being a tool for God kinda the same thing? Except that you can actually see the results in saving the child, and you can't always see the result of letting God use you.

How much more would you be willing to sacrifice if you knew that you were saving someone from an ETERNITY-INFINITY in the worst nightmare-horrormovie-Hell even beyond your imagination? What if it was an opportunity to save your own children? What would you suffer to guide them in the way that God wants them to be, to help them learn to be great Christians instead of luke-warm Christians?

It is my fondest and weakest hope that perhaps I'll get to Heaven and find that even one person is there because of something I did or didn't do. Sometimes I pray that if I've been a stumbling block for my friends and family (and I have no doubt that I have been) that God will send them a better messenger, that he will reach them in spite of me. Wouldn't it be mind-boggling if I had even a single moment when I could be someone's "better messenger"!?! Imagine if I could be the tool God uses to develop them!

Imagine if I get to be used to reach TWO people, and they each reach two more people, and those reach ... and so on! Its the very best kind of multiplication. But ...

What if I manage to ignore the opportunities, to selfishly cling to my own prideful issues? What if I refuse to let God use me, dooming those around me to wallow in their own selfishness? What if I refuse to be their opportunity to grow in Christ? What if I stay inside my comfort zone, not venturing outside my own salvation?

And thus I often pray (paraphrased):

Please protect me from myself. We both know I'm weak, and need a lot of guidance. Given the opportunity, I'm prone to doing the wrong thing with the wrong attitude. Thwart me.

Don't let me be Jonah. Prevent me from being so judgemental and prideful that I end up in a fish which would be horrifyingly gross. Please help me listen before that point.

I am often dense. I would like a Booming Voice and a Big Arrow telling me what you want me to do. Repeatedly if necessary.

I am a poor gift to Christ. Please fix me before I get to Heaven. He deserves better than me. It would be nice if I could do something for him here before I get there.

Because its not about me. Its about Him.

Waves

I usually ask for a flashing neon sign.

I lose sight of the goal some times. When my oldest was 8, I really struggled with the fact that she was in charge of laundry (it's in the basement, I couldn't do stairs) and she was good at it, too!

It was my dh who said, "It's time for them to learn life isn't all about them. They can start to serve God RIGHT NOW. You can be their mission field." When you left that comment on my blog this morning, his words from 5 years ago came rushing back to me.

I know that the circumstances of my life have really opened my eyes to the needs of others. I have compassion and empathy I never had before.

Thanks for the thoughts, I'm pondering them some more.

Leni

Leni | 09/28/2005 - 09:22 PM

Lucy, thank you very much. You would not believe how often I find myself thinking, "Oh no, not another evening church meeting this week! I'd rather be at home, lying there and staring at the ceiling." Or even, "Oh no, not another pastoral visit this week! I'd rather be at home, lying there and staring at the ceiling."

And I'm afraid I'm not even rising here to the level of burning buildings. I'm rising only about to the level of feeling annoyed because some troubled soul is trying to phone me right while I'm in the middle of enjoying my second cup of coffee.

You're right, it is about Him. Not about me. Not about whether I can always preserve my carefully woven little cocoon of uninterrupted introverted woolgathering.

Paul Burgess | 09/29/2005 - 01:46 PM

Lucy,

You really touched me with this one. It's timely too because Sunday's sermon was on spreading the word about Jesus. Thank you.

Jennifer | 09/29/2005 - 06:55 PM
 
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