Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NKJV
I have never seen myself as brave.
On the contrary, after some rather devastating events occurred in my life, I went into years of seclusion because I was convinced that I would no longer be able to serve God in any meaningful way.
So, “brave,” and all the pictures it conjures up? Well, they seemed to me completely irrelevant.
Then, our family endured another tragedy of suicide.
For the second time, a cousin of ours had taken her life, and as I began to research the statistics on suicide (trying to come to grips with what had happened,) I knew I had to do something… anything.
I began by blogging on Google Plus…
Just little things at first–postcards mostly–about HOPE. It really wasn’t much, but it was something.
Then, one day I got really brave and started posting some of my early writing. Things I had long ago stuck away in a drawer because I believed nothing good would ever come from them.
Honestly? I was terrible at first and easily discouraged.
I knew very little about computers. (I had learned to type on an IBM Selectric!) I was now in my late fifties, with only high school English skills, and they were covered in cobwebs!
I had worked in the corporate world for years, but secretarial help? That had always been provided for me–I simply did not possess those skills. Besides which, I had gotten really good at telling God, “I can’t!”
I felt supremely disqualified to write.
Everybody, Always Book Review: KARL’S DIVE, Part Three
Karl was eventually discharged from the hospital. He had become used to the routine there and the relative comfort of learning his new life in a highly monitored environment. The discharge almost felt like he was being released to a prison as big as the whole world. He began figuring things out one by one all over again. The specialized steering unit was outfitted so Karl could answer the telephone, write emails, and so just about every other task the rest of us take for granted. Karl had to relearn how to navigate his entire life using just his tongue, his eyes, and his mind.
Karl wasn’t a quitter. Even though his body had been wrecked, he still had the spirit of a fighter and a prankster. He took up the challenge with gusto… He had adjusted to his new life but felt a growing vacuum deep inside of him. It wasn’t just that he couldn’t move any longer; he felt his whole life had lost any kind of trajectory. He didn’t want his greatest achievements to be what he learned to do with a straw. He felt a growing need to somehow find more meaning and purpose than his life had offered even before his injuries.
During his freshman year at college, Karl met a couple of people who told him about a carpenter from Nazareth who had changed them. They were part of a campus group that got together every week, and they invited Karl to some of their meetings. What Karl found most compelling from where he sat was that this carpenter they talked about had navigated His entire life using only love.
The Bible talks a lot about our tongues, our eyes, and our minds. It says we’ll navigate much of our lives with them, just like Karl navigates his. Many of us have arms and feet we can move to help others, but we choose not to. We shy away from people we don’t understand or who intimidate us because they’re different from us. We have eyes to see people who are hurting, but we only watch because we’re scared if we get closer, it will disrupt what we’ve spent a lifetime making orderly. We have minds to understand the depths of others’ pain, but we just empathize without getting involved because we’re scared of what might happen if we do. Karl lost the ability to use his arms and legs, but he learned to overlook this as an impediment. Many of us are limited by what we have but don’t use. Karl didn’t want to be limited by what he had but couldn’t use. Being stripped of so many capabilities, he was forced to go deeper and find something worth the chase. Karl put his trust in Jesus. Karl was convinced after reading the claims Jesus had made that he could actually change the world using only his tongue and his eyes and his mind.
If not now… when?
In her book, Anything, Jennie Allen said,
“Every moment is granted for purposes we can’t see. Every breath is issued for eternal things left undone. We brush against people in check-out lines who will live forever in heaven or hell, and we contain God. Try to tell me your life is insignificant. Try to tell me that anything about this life is insignificant…
We love our earth. We love our people. We love our stuff. We love our schedules. We love our short lives here. And God is saying, Look up. This is going fast. Your life here is barely a breath. There is more, way more. Time is almost gone. Our lives are only spent well on him and whatever stories he has written for us. What are we really so afraid of losing? Heaven feels far away, and we forget. But it is real . . . and it is coming.”
Someday, we will all stand before Jesus Christ and be required to give Him an account for all we’ve been given in this life. That isn’t my opinion, that is the Word of God. (Romans 14:12)
So, I guess my question to you, is the same one Jesus asked me after my cousin lost sight of all hope, and took her precious life, “If not now, when?”
“Even the shiest person has been called to shine. You are a glorious bride who carries the brilliance, compassion, and power of God within you. There are endless ways to release the gifts that the Lord has given you. You have a story to tell, a listening ear, a wise heart, or perhaps a creative edge. The point is you have something worth releasing, and to hide it is to deny the world a glimpse of His presence and love that abide in you.”
–Brian Simmons, The Divine Romance
Be strong and brave, and don’t tremble in fear of them, because the Eternal your God is going with you. He’ll never fail you or abandon you! Deuteronomy 31:6 The Voice