I had no idea what I was going to write about today. I was totally uninspired. I considered not writing anything at all (sorry), but decided to pray about it before I gave up. I’ll give you a step-by-step of how I went from total blank to this post you are reading now. It’s kind of all over the place but bear with me. That’s how I am– I’m an all over the place kind of woman. A fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-and-land-wherever-the-wind-takes-me kind of woman. God knows that about me so he’s always very gracious in guiding the wind so I land where he wants me. Today, just for fun, I’m giving you a peek into my whirlwind. Here’s how it all went down:
I sat down to pray in my favorite comfy chair. I told God that I didn’t have anything to write about and asked him if he had any ideas. Then I sat. Quietly. Total silence. Filtering through all the trivial thoughts that popped into my head (like “what shall I eat for breakfast today?” and “I wonder who got kicked off of Dancing With the Stars last night”) This is hard to do! Have you tried it? When you sit in total silence with your eyes shut all those little thoughts come at you. It’s nearly impossible to let your mind be totally empty. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know. Anyway, I sat. I waited– for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only 2 or 3 minutes. I focused on a mental image of Jesus. And then it happened. I started thinking about fear, making a mental list of all the things I am afraid of.
- roller coasters
- rejection… and so on
“Bah!”, I thought. “There I go wandering off again”. I tried to push the thoughts about fear away but they weren’t going anywhere. So, I decided perhaps this was God speaking to me. Maybe he wants me to write about fear today. I closed my eyes and prayed some more. Then, I did one of my favorite things. I picked up my Bible and I asked God to speak to me through his word. With eyes still closed I opened the Bible to a random page.
When I opened my eyes I saw the second chapter of Ezekiel. God has used the book of Ezekiel a lot to speak to me. My eyes were drawn to a section highlighted in yellow:
“The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”- Ezekiel 2:4-8
Did you notice? I highlighted it in red text so I’m guessing you probably did. That passage includes “do not be afraid” three times AND mentions scorpions which were on my mental list of fears just a few minutes earlier. Coincidence? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I took it as confirmation from God that I was on the right track, so I dug a little deeper into the passage. What is it talking about? Basically, it’s about courage to do what God has set out for you to do– not to rebel because of fear. Boy can I relate to that, can’t you? So much easier said than done. Fear is a powerful tool of the devil, and I have to confess that I’ve let him use it on me way too many times.
I figured I was on to something here, so I went back to the beginning of the book for context. The very first verse – Ezekiel 2:1 reads:
He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.”
That phrase reached out and grabbed me, but I wasn’t sure why. I read on, but kept getting pulled back to the first verse. Wait. Does God want me to literally stand up right now? What on earth for? But then I thought “Obedience. This is about obedience”. So I stood up and immediately felt the quickening of the Holy Spirit. Have you ever felt that? Like a warm buzz of electrical energy filling you from top to bottom? I don’t know, maybe that’s just me too. But I felt it and it was powerful. So I stood there in my living room praying and praising, holding my Bible. I opened it again to the following passage:
So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead.We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away. – Isaiah 59:9-11
And bingo. That hit home. That’s me. Our finances have been a real struggle since I became disabled. We never have enough money to make ends meet, it’s always a struggle. I cannot tell you the number of times I have cried “unfair!”. How I’ve stressed over being treated unjustly by Social Security, how I have been waiting 4 years for my benefits and still nothing. Every day I grope along the wall like a blind man just trying to make it all work. Just to survive. I feel lost, weak, and powerless in this part of my life. I growl and complain like a bear, I moan mournfully about my situation. “When will this end?” “I’ve worked hard all my life, where is the justice?”. “I have way more health problems than some people who have disability. Why not me? Where is the justice?” Yes, this is me. I have been afraid. Very afraid. I am a blind groper, feeling my way through this struggle– seeking deliverance rather than fixing my eyes on the deliverer.
After having this epiphany I opened my Bible to one final random page:
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. – Acts 3:1-8
Such a great story, isn’t it? This beggar was looking for money. It’s what he thought he needed and all he thought he could hope for. Along comes Peter and John who didn’t give him what he thought he needed. They gave him something much better– a miracle of healing from God! I realized in that moment that I am the beggar. I am focusing all my hope for survival on money because it’s what I think I need most and all that I think I can hope for. But this passage reminded me that God is able to do anything and everything. Maybe he has bigger dreams and plans for me than I can even conceive of. I need to remember to stop focusing so much on my own limitations and allow God to work his miracles. No more groping blindly. It’s time to look up and trust that God’s got this.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:31-34