What thrilling news we received this week. Our former lead pastor, John Stumbo, was brought back from death's doorstep over a year ago and has been recovering from a rare illness for these many months since. You can see, bit by bit, that his strength has been returning to him, though he is by no means running races or anywhere near where he was before this all hit. But, this week he announced that his ability to swallow has been restored. This has been prayed for by so many people, locally and around the world, for so long. Praise the Lord!! What a blessing.
After my initial reaction of excitment and praise to God our healer, my secondary reaction was one of grief for myself. You see, I prayed fervently for many months, and then occassionally as his name came to mind, and then more recently, even when I thought of him, I just forgot to keep praying. I realize that God didn't need me to pray the exact day John was healed, but I just feel like I missed out a little. My desire is to always be on my toes, ready to give and answer, a warrior equipped for battle and ready for the call whether that be prayer or giving or action. How embarrassing, the call came and I was... what? distracted? I didn't hear it ring? Was I too tired? or maybe bored with the same prayers?
This theme has been in my face for a few weeks really. I've spoken with broken hearted people and have had no encouraging words. Not wanting to speak my own opinions into situations, I've prayed, "Lord what's the truth, what would you have me say here?" *crickets* "Why can't I hear you, Lord?" I pray and I don't have passionate direction to my prayers... almost like they're a little forced. So I feel like there's opportunities before me to pray or encourage or bless and they're passing me by. It's like I'm watching strike after strike cross the plate and I'm just standing there.
To use another sports picture, it's like I'm asking God, my coach, "Why didn't I get to play in the game?" And, it's not that God is looking at me and thinking, "Sheesh, I'm not even sure I want you on the team" or "Well, this was a tough opponent and we only wanted our best players out there". But maybe He's saying something like, "You could have played, but you're not wearing your shoes". Oh!
So today I'm looking at what have I been doing to be prepared to give an answer? How have I been ordering my days so that my prayer life is active and has room to respond to God's prompting? My Bible has been mostly shut for a few weeks. My prayers have been often self focused, mostly complaining or arrows of "help" sent up. Though there have been moments of intense prayers as well, they are random and sporadic rather than intentional.
So, what's the good news? The good news is that God is God. His will will be accomplished. I can celebrate John's healing along with the daily prayers, and the ones who fasted from ice cream for all these months because my team had a victory! Even though I wasn't on the court at the moment of victory, it is a victory and I am thrilled. And, this isn't over, I still have opportunities to "play", whatever my role might be.
What a thrill to remember that the King of Kings chooses to use us to accomplish his plans. You know what? I'm going to make sure I've got my shoes on!!