Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sneakers That Talk

I love new things. New pants, new golf clubs, new jobs. And definitely new shoes. Especially tennis shoes. That pristine, white, clean look is sweet. And as I get ready to pack up and head to a new church to take on a new job, I paused this week to glance at my old sneakers. They’re old, torn, dirty, worn, scuffed, and ugly. But as I thought about it, I realized there are lots of stories in those shoes. They were with me on walks and bike rides. They guided my steps on the job at the mission. They were on my feet when I moved to a new apartment. The stepped in puddles, snow, and on green, lush grass (which I have not seen since November). How can I possibly get rid of them? They are a part of me.

Aren’t we kind of like those shoes? We love to come across as clean, having it all together, ready, and willing to shine. And maybe we start that way. But life happens. We get torn, betrayed, broken, worn and weary. And we start to wonder if we really can be of any value to God. We make mistakes and stumble, and like the old shoes, think maybe God would be better off to just toss us aside and use someone else.

“…he that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.’” Wow! How cool is that? I take from that passage that God is NEVER done with us. He never turns his back. He will take what we have to offer, regardless of how puny we think it is, and make something really great out of it. God is not in the trash business. He is in the restoration business. And I am so thankful for it.

I encourage us all, in faith, to give God whatever we’ve got and then stand back and watch Him work a miracle with our offering…our life.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

False Starts

Watching the Olympics, occasionally you’ll see everyone ready to start a race, the gun fires, and then fires again, meaning someone left early. It’s called a false start.

I was thinking how true that is of my life. Maybe yours too. We get all ready to run the race and can’t wait to start, and before God says, “go” we take off. We hope, unrealistically, that God will catch up to us doing our thing so He can bless what we are doing. But it doesn’t work that way. At least not for me.

About two years ago I came through a really tough time that caused me great pain, distress, and despair. Maybe “good Christians” don’t have those moments, but I do. And I did. Many aspects of life cracked and broke. And I was left on the side of the road in a heap. I cried out to God to save me. I wanted to be out of the pain and get back on my feet and back into the race. But God hadn’t pulled the trigger yet. There was more to learn, more exercises to make me stronger and ready for the bigger race that was ahead.

Slowly God helped me up (through some good friends, prayer, and His Word), dusted me off, cleaned me up, strengthened me, and said, “Get ready.” And even still, it was months before the next race would begin. He finally opened a door to a new ministry opportunity that was so much more than I could have dreamed or imagined. He finally pulled the trigger for this new, wonderful, exciting race to begin. And I feel strong, ready, and extremely honored that He chose me to run this race at this time.

What did I learn? Not to be too hasty to ask God to get me out of my hurt. Maybe that’s exactly where He can mold me into what I need to become. Second, trust Him and be patient. It will happen in His time and His way. Finally, when the gun finally is fired, be ready to run with reckless abandon until God tells me to stop running.

What an awesome God we serve!