Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Holding the Fort

 
#1 Being emptied of self can hurt.
#2 Being a mother = being emptied of self.
#3 Being filled again makes it all worth while.
 
Reading about the Gosnell trial first, then watching and reading about the Boston bombing soon after, had me on the edge of my seat this week.  I was so ready to do something. Anything!  
 
But in my head I said (to no one in particular and in a sarcastic tone), "Oh, that's okay.  You go save the world, I'll just stay home and hold the fort."
 
My heart ached for all those babies, and mothers, and runners, and spectators, and I felt so useless.
 
But I kept on.  I kept praying, kept reigning in the negative thoughts, kept extending the fuse, kept "keeping on".
 
And then...I was empty.  Emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually empty.  Perhaps some of you felt the same.
 
Thankfully, the Lord saw me, and He sees you.  He always sees us. He fills our cups. 
 
He gave me this passage in a whole new light: 
 
23 And He was saying to them all, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25 For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
 
Luke 9:23-26
 
To self:
Do you wish to come after Jesus?  Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Him.
Do you wish to save your life?  Lose it.
If you lose your life for Jesus sake = save it.
If you gain the whole world and lose yourself = zilch.
If you're ashamed of the Lord and His words = Jesus will be ashamed of you when He comes in His glory.
 
So, what do we do?  What do we do when there's crisis (there's always crisis) and our bodies and souls want to be out there doing and helping and seeing and touching?  Our instructions are here, loud and clear:
  1. Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Him...even if it's just down the hall to clean up puke, or in the bedroom to tuck someone in, or at the school table doing long division.  Or maybe it is to go around the world and in and out and everywhere.  Whatever He's calling us to do, that's what we do, but we don't have to stop there. 
  2. Pray. Pray like the watchmen in Isaiah 62, always reminding the Lord that we NEED Him to come, to intervene, to pick up our mess.  Do that, and do this:
  3. Cross the street with God:  
 ...the only difference between the Samaritan and the religious people was that the Samaritan actually crossed the street. The Samaritan was willing to have his plans interrupted so that he could assist the man. The Samaritan stooped down to lift up the broken one. Stopping and stooping are different. Compassion is only emotion — until you cross the street. Compassion means action. You go to them...
What does this mean for us? It means that while we may think we don’t have enough time, money, resources, or know-how for the task, God will use what we have. It’s important to remember this, because otherwise we may be so convinced that our contribution will be so small, insignificant, even inconsequential, that we decide to do nothing. Jesus has always used small things to make a big difference. In Matthew 14, he used a young boy’s lunch to feed five thousand people. I’m sure that if you’d asked the boy that morning if he had brought enough food to feed the whole crowd, he’d have laughed...But once he’d given that small gift to Jesus, Jesus used it to do something far beyond what that boy might have imagined or expected. And that’s exactly what he does with our small gifts. Whatever we receive from God is what he asks that we give to someone else. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10: 8).  
[Caine, Christine (2012-09-11). Undaunted: Daring to do what God calls you to do (pp. 166, 170-171). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.]
 
That's what I want to do.  I know I've missed so many opportunities to help those in need, I've turned my back and left them in the ditch.  I'm sorry for this.  So, I hold to Romans 8:28 and 1 John 1:9, and follow Paul's example in Philippians 3, and press on.
 
Press on, and hold the fort.