Monday, February 27, 2012

Of Waffles, Drills, and IPads

I'm hurting. Badly. Since early December, I've been battling a painfully sore hip that's being caused by either a muscular condition or degenerative arthritis, depending on which health care professional is to be believed. At any rate, the pain seems to spread just about anywhere it darn well pleases, leaving me irritable, frustrated, and at certain times incredibly angry.

Yet it's been good for me. The apostle Paul wrote that he delighted in his weaknesses, because when he was weak, then he was strong in the Lord. I'm beginning to understand on a much smaller scale what Paul meant. Suffering through the sort of pain that limits my ability to lift anything heavier than a jug of milk is not only humbling, it has opened the door for God to show Himself perfect and mighty in my life. Let me explain.

This affliction has drawn me to my knees. As strange as this will undoubtedly sound to my skeptic friends and relative(s), the pain has been an answer to my prayers. I began to feel last year as if I had lost my "edge" in my personal relationship with God. I was doing the work of the ministry, but not growing at all in my walk with Jesus. I felt stagnant, alone, and depressed by the depravity of the world around me in these last days. Not willing to give up, I asked God to do whatever it takes to get my attention. Well, He got it. I have no choice but to seek God more earnestly in prayer. And as I have returned to my first love, as I have delighted in the Lord, other things have begun to fall into place.

He has humbled me through my finances. Pam and I each had to replace our cars early this year. The only way to do it was for each of us to "give up" our own weekly spending money. I'm lucky to have a quarter in my pocket. But God has used it to teach me how fortunate I am. I have more empathy for those who have nothing at all. It has prompted me to pray and work harder to reach the lost people of our community. And it's working.

But here's the really good stuff. The delightful stuff. Psalms 37:4 says, "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Are you ready for this? In the last month, people have been blessing my socks off out of the blue! A friend surprised me with a brand new restaurant-quality Belgian waffle maker, along with blueberries and waffle mix. Another friend bought me a brand new high-quality drill. Yet another couple knocked on my door and handed me a brand new IPad with a $25 ITunes gift card. I certainly didn't ask for any of those things, or even hint around that I wanted them. Yet each of them was a "desire" of my heart. That's over a thousand dollars worth of stuff just handed to me for no other reason than the fact that God put it on someone's heart. I didn't even think to ask God for any of those things. I was too busy seeking His face.

Now. Can healing be far away? I daresay I'm willing to wait on God.