Monday, April 2, 2012
Wednesday afternoon was much like any other afternoon. I was working (when am I not?) and I was running errands and I was alarmingly happy. Weirdly happy. The MegaMillions drawing was that night... In my head I was at peace. My bills were paid, my children were set up for college and a successful start at life, my entire family was mortgage free, I had secretly gifted money to those in dire need... It was a very good day. I had a peace about me that I simply couldn't explain.
And then it hit me.
God hit me. I was walking around the corner of the show barn and in a voice, recognizable and as clear as a Jamaican sea, I heard, "That's peace, My Peace - that's how it feels. Now you have no more excuses, I want you to get there - without the money."
Instantly I knew that there wasn't a chance in hell I would be winning any of that jackpot. (Not like getting struck by lightening twice on the same day would have happened either... Still) I knew that I had been given a gift that not even money could purchase. I had been given a taste of what living the peace-filled life was like. That was it. Peace that it was all taken care of, nothing left undone, everything accounted for - because it is.
When Christ becomes your center, when you truly give yourself over to Him and He is the rock on which you build your life, it's all taken care of. You can rest that He will care for you and provide for you and be everything you will ever need because you are His. His promise to never leave you nor forsake you (Deut 31:8), His promise to care for you as He cares for the birds of the air (Mat 26-34), they are all realities that we toss aside when we don't see it His way - and we rarely see it His way (Isa 55:8)...
"Awesome, Stacey. I am about to lose my house. I can't buy groceries or dog food. Should I just log in a prayer to God and He will magically provide all of these things?" Actually, yes, you should. Can you expect a check from the Almighty, address 1 Heavenly Ave., to fall from the sky into your bank account? Probably not. But when you open your mouth and profess your desperation to God, you just never know what the outcome will be.
The provision may not look like you think it should. You may indeed lose that house, but a friend may offer you shelter. You may open your door to a church fellow with a bag of groceries and food for your animals. Often our God uses others to do His work so that we can see that others care and that ultimately, God is indeed listening.
When you share the desperate need you have with fellow followers, those who "have" are required by God to step up and help provide for you. It isn't meant to be demeaning, although a good dose of humility is usually very helpful for our prideful hearts. Christian people often are just waiting to step up and be the super hero you need. Who are you to deprive them of their God given command? Don't turn them away because of your own pride. Don't look at God's gift of provision, whether it is a listening ear, a hug or physical goods, and turn up your nose because it isn't cold, hard cash. Accept that God's people are willing and obedient enough to do what others only talk about and provide as God has directed them to in ways only He can author.
"I worry that I am a burden to my friends, that somehow I will break them and they won't want to help me any more." FAT CHANCE! You know what? If I am called to minister to you, in any way God has asked, not only can't you break me but you better not step in my way. I am being obedient to God - not to you. I know that sounds harsh, but the fact is to get to me - to even be able to touch me - you have to get through Christ first. I know you can't break Him! So how on earth can you break me if I am doing His will? The answer is, you can't.
Joining God's community is a lot like winning the lotto. You exchange almost nothing for a ticket into a family of believers that has pledged to care for you as one of their own. God Himself has promised you that VIP kind of elevated status, sitting with His Son at a table full of bounty! You cannot be bankrupt by Satan any more. You belong to Christ and His gated community. You are safe in His hands.
So I didn't win the MegaMillions. That's ok. I won so much more! I was given a palpable example of what God's MegaMillions is - PEACE. I now have a daunting task ahead of me: I need to learn to capture that peace no matter what the world is doing around me. See the world would like you to think that only money can give you security, peace and happiness. It is a lie. True peace is unshakeable. True peace cannot be spent away. True peace is available to you, even if you didn't have the buck to buy a ticket, because it is free. All you have to do is open your hand and receive it.
Let me be very clear about what God's lotto is NOT. It is not getting everything you want, your way, every time. It is not fancy cars, big houses and perfect health because you have faith. It is not a life without pain, trials and stormy seas. Even Christ is crystal clear on this: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NIV) He promises that we will have trouble, but He also says we can rest in the fact that nothing has defeated Him. He cannot be defeated except by His own choice, and he already chose you!
Take a deep breath today. Live this hour as if you had won the MegaMillions and everything you ever wanted was right around the corner. When you get a good taste of what that feels like, savor it. That is the peace God wants you to hang your hat on, only without the cash. Trust that God will provide your every need, no matter how overwhelming or how minute, and that He will walk with you every step of the way, because that is exactly what He is doing!