Saturday, January 19, 2008

And Speaking For The Defense..........

Last November my husband and I attended the National Conference on Christian Apologetics in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were priviledged to hear some of the foremost defenders of the faith......Josh and Sean McDowell, John Ankerberg, Norman Geisler, Chuck Colson. However, it was the speaker my husband heard on the journey home that made the greatest impact.

We had stopped for a visit at my son's home in South Carolina. It was there on a Sunday morning that my husband, ever inquisitive, decided to attend the nearby community church. The story he told upon his return stirred me from within.

He said it was a humble church. It wasn't an architectural achievement like the building we had just visited in Charlotte. Many of the congregation would not have been welcomed in some churches. They appeared to be the outcasts of religious society. Before beginning his message, the pastor asked if anyone had a special song they wanted to sing. A young lady stood up. Her physical appearance was that of someone familiar with street life. With head downcast and looking no one in the face, she stepped from the pew and walked to the front of the church. She carried with her a grocery bag filled with what seemed to be her belongings. When she reached the front, she sat the sack down and opened a hymnal. She began to read these words:

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

With her head still bowed, she concluded by saying "I thank Jesus that He saved me".

God spoke to my husband's spirit and told him that this was the message people needed to hear. God said of all that we had heard this weekend, this Truth was the greatest.

Now, I am not a theologian. I can't debate the existence of God. I can, however, identify with the beggar in John chapter 9 who had been blind from birth. The disciples questioned Jesus as to the reason for this man's blindness. They wanted to know who had sinned....he or his parents. Jesus replied that sin was not the reason. His blindness was so the the works of God could be displayed. Jesus then spit on the ground, made some clay, applied it to the beggar's blinded eyes, and commanded that he go wash in the pool at Saloam. When the beggar returned, his eyesight had been restored. The religious society became upset. They questioned who this man was that performed this sign. If Jesus had been of God, surely He would not have performed this work on the Sabbath. But if a sinner, how could He have power to do this? They asked the man who had been given back his sight and he replied, "Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that whereas I was blind, now I see".

He wasn't a theologian either. He couldn't argue who Jesus was. All he could testify about is what happened when he felt the touch of Jesus.

I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

And this is the greatest Truth that any of us will ever know.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Leaving On a Green Bus

"God shall supply all your needs"

These words are painted in large white letters on a weathered fence board somewhere in East Texas.

I am ashamed to admit to my first reaction upon catching sight of these words. (Even more mortified to know it isn't an unusual response for me.) Unbidden, the thoughts had flashed through my mind "Oh Great! This is a GOD WARNING. Something is going to happen and I will need to trust God to get through it....what will it be??? a flat tire? engine trouble? a wreck? The more I pondered the bigger the potential problems grew.

Then God did a mental thump. I suddenly knew what my needs were. I am guilty of focusing on those things that can be seen and touched. Needs, however, are not limited to monetary purchases or physical achievements. Needs encompass the whole person. They are not only physical, but emtional, mental, and even spiritual. At that moment God scraped off the pheripheral and focused my attention on needs I had not allowed myself to acknowledge.

Earlier that morning at Fort Hood my husband and I had dropped our son off near a long line of Army buses. He was being sent back to Iraq for the second time. I had never experienced a 'drop off ' before. Father's were kissing babies good-bye, while other childern were holding tightly to Daddy's leg. Wives--some pregnant--were looking into husband's eyes, making them promise to come home safely. Some of the tearful were like us--mothers and fathers. Parents with memories of a small child, now all grown up and wearing a uniform.

As I readily admit, I do not favor finding myself in situations I can not control. This would qualify as one of those times. Because of this I chose to take all of my fear, anger, anxiety and bury them under the guise of self control and assurance. I tried to convince myself that what I could refuse to acknowledge, would not exist. Inwardly, however, the pain was crippling. When you awaken at 2 am, the thoughts you are able to banish during the daytime creep into your consciousness. I would lie in bed and squeeze my eyes tightly shut as hot tears would drip off my nose. The thoughts of losing a son was a hot pain in my heart.

God knew that I could not last 15 months in denial. I was in need of emotional sustanence and mental uplifting. I needed a sipritual reminder of Who was in charge. The world I tried to control was a quagmire surrounding the Rock I was kneeling upon. My sanity was dependant upon my Firm Foundation. In a brief moment, God guided me from the unknown to the known. From the pheripheral to the core. From the alpha to the omega. And He was there for the complete journey. He WAS the journey.

"God shall supply all your needs"

My needs were emotional, mental, and spiritual. I needed courage, comfort, and counsel. God opened my eyes to my needs, and then supplied those needs.

Gensis 8:1 says "And God remembered Noah..." Well, that morning in East Texas God remembered Delores.

Thank you, Jesus.

PS This son returned home Wednesday January 9th. Why my son returned and some mothers's sons did not, I can't answer. I don't even know if there is one.