Sunday, August 28, 2016

"Martha, Martha" not Just for Type A People

I do not have a type A personality. There is that moment before an event or big meal where I get that surge of adrenaline, but I am not the work until you drop type person. Some would say that's good and others not, but that's not the focus here.

For years I have never applied Luke 10:41 to myself. The setting is a visit at the home of Mary and Martha. Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus. Martha is rushing around getting things done for his visit, and she asks Jesus to make Mary come and help. His answer is this: "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things." He then goes on in the next verse to say that Mary has chosen the better thing - to sit at His feet and worship Him.

Now the context is that of someone being worried so much with serving Jesus that they never sit down and spend time with Him. The truth however extends further.

Even though I would not call myself a workaholic, I do tend toward being worried and anxious about many things. This verse actually came to mind today while I was doing the dishes, but it came to mind because my mind was full of various worries. I was careful and troubled.

The Bible says that all scripture is profitable for each of us. This is just another verse to remind me to spend my time looking to Jesus rather than worrying about life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

No Regrets - Only Reminders

If you heard the Bible story of Hezekiah as a child, you probably heard it told only as a miracle of God. It truly was that. Hezekiah was deathly ill. God sent Isaiah to him to tell him to get things in order, because he would die. When Hezekiah heard this, he cried, he begged. he brought before the Lord his faithfulness to the Lord. He asked for more time. I think this is a natural response. God's response was that Hezekiah could have 15 more years. This seems amazingly merciful. Many reading this probably wonder why God doesn't do things like this today. Hezekiah's response was a strange one. He demanded a sign that would show that God was going to follow through. I suppose this is another natural response especially after just being told you were going to die. (2 Kings 20)

God does do things like this today. He gives people more time - all the time. They just might not know it. We don't have the ability that they had back then to see some of the same signs and wonders like Hezekiah saw that day with time going backward. Many people get a diagnosis of cancer or other illnesses, and their one request is what Hezekiah's was - more time.

Five years ago, my prayer would have been the same. If I found out I had cancer tomorrow, it might be hard not to ask for more time, but we can learn a lesson from Hezekiah that should make us think before praying this prayer.

After Hezekiah was told the sign that would prove he would live for 15 more years, Isaiah told him something else that would take place. Isaiah told Hezekiah that, yes he would live more years, but the sons that he would beget during that time period would be taken as captives to Babylon and be made eunuchs. What a terrible thing to hear after just finding out that you were going to get 15 more years. God wasn't being mean. God never said Hezekiah was ever wrong to ask for more time, but was he right?

The thing about choices is that we make them with a nature that is still sinful. We make wrong choices all the time, but God's plan goes on. There is no way of knowing how things would have gone if we had not done such and such. But in matters of prayer, the life of Hezekiah should make us rethink quick "give me more time" prayers.

A personal example of this took place about 5 years ago. I remember praying a Hezekiah prayer as I never had before. It wasn't for me. It was for my unborn child. I didn't know yet that I was having a boy. I only knew that we had prayed for another baby, I was pregnant, and I didn't want to be having a miscarriage. That day, I didn't think about God's will really. I just wanted this baby. I prayed for it to live. I think it was really a no-matter-what prayer.

And he did live. He lives with us today, and we love him no matter what. Today, for the first time ever he cuddled with me. It was wonderful. This life raising our child with special needs has been a trial, it has also been a lesson, but there are times like today where God's love shines through my child who has for so long been unable to show love.

I don't blame myself for my son's disability. I know that God is in control. If he had not made it that day and I had miscarried, I may have had another child with disabilities right after. God has lessons He wants us to learn, but in thinking about this lesson, I pray differently.

About 2 1/2  weeks ago I started miscarrying. I didn't even know I was pregnant until the following week. This was our first pregnancy after Trenton was born. We were not planning it, but we were not - not planning either. We had left this in God's hands, and when I discovered I was pregnant while I was bleeding, I was many things. I was scared most of all. We left it in God's hands. We didn't make demands. We prayed with an open heart for God's plan, and our baby is in heaven. Maybe he or she was already in heaven before I knew I was pregnant. The point is that I had learned a lesson that I could use for that moment.

I have a feeling Hezekiah probably learned his lesson as well. His "extra" 15 years were full of earthly accomplishments. He is known for being mighty, building a pool, conduit, and for bringing water to the city, but in that, there was surely hardship as well knowing what was prophesied of his son. And such is life until we get to heaven.

We all make choices and second guess them. We all pray prayers for mercy and receive them only to have a different hardship, but still a hardship, but you have learned the lesson that God intended.

I saw a quote recently that was a great reminder. It basically said that if we think we have ruined our lives with a decision, then we need to remind ourselves that we are not that powerful. God is the only one powerful enough to make things happen.

There need never be regrets - only reminders.