Don't Just Give Up, Look In
Fourth Sunday in Lent
—1 Samuel 16:7
Today I am going to bring to you a book called Life, Life rolled up into three small chapters, three chapters of Time and Faith.
In another time, in small town not so far away, there was a young girl, a teenager who was drawn to her local church. She loved the church and even had plans to be a pastor one day. She was good at singing and Bible study and speaking from her heart. When she saw people in need, she gave all she could give. But she had hard family life. It seemed her life was taking one bad turn after another. She wondered why life was harder for her than for others. Her faith was tested. Her doubts took her away from the church and God she loved.
The doctor told me to come on in and sit down. "Your blood test is back. Your liver count is excessively high, your blood pressure is out of control and you are now a dibasic. Your life will have to change and you will never be able to go back to your old life if you want to live." Then he said, "Your life will have to change, no more soda, no more bread, no more fried foods." No more, no more, no more. No more bread? All I heard was no more bread. Then he said, "It's time, it's time to make a change in your life. It is time to do something. It is time to let God take control. It is time."
She asked if I had any pains or if there was something she could pray about for me. I said, "Excuse me?" She explained that she was an aromatherapist and maybe she could do something to help me. "Well, I do have this pain in my neck." She said we would put some mint oil on my neck and pray over me. It felt good, and my neck did feel better. A little later I ran into her again. She asked if I needed some more oil. She began with prayer behind me, then she knelt down in front of me and said, "I have never done this before, and this is the first time that this has happened to me, but God is telling me to tell you something." She said, "I can see you talking in front of a large crowd of people and you are very much at home with them, and they are enjoying your talk. I also see that you are fighting back and forth between two paths that have come into your life. I want to pray with you for these two paths, and if you need to cry no one here will see you, just let it come out. God also wanted me to tell you it is Time and you will know which path to take, if you will just let God show you. It is Time and the time has come." I did not know what to think. She got up, stood behind me, and started to pray a very quite prayer, and tears started down my face. I was not crying, but big alligator tears rolled down my face, and the release I felt was none that I have ever felt before. God was so real and so strong in my life at that moment that I knew it was time, time to step out in faith and time to step into God's ministry.
These three chapters were periods in my life, My Book of Life.
As I study Jesus' life I am amazed that he never seemed to be in a hurry. Although he was doing the most important job in history, and although he knew he had only a few years to do it, he never ran. He had time to bless children. Time was his friend.
This lent year instead of "giving up," let us look in. Let us take time to look inward, to have some time of self-evaluation and self-examination in order to see what it is that God sees in our heart. Let us replace giving up with something more befitting with deeper meaning. This year let us look at the inward appearance of others and ourselves. Let us look at the inward vessel of our body, this wonderful house our spirit God has given us and pay it with more respect.
Following my doctor's advice I gave it all to God, and 75 pounds later, my health is perfect. I am back in school reaching toward my goal in the ministry. I took the responsibility of taking care of myself by looking at what it is that God sees when God looks at the beauty within my heart. Today take time to look into your heart.
Lord, let everything I do this day at this time and in this season of Lent come from you and be inspired by you. Help us spend our time not looking at the outward appearance, but looks at the heart. Amen.