Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Running on Empty

Today started for me around 4 a.m. Thunder rumbling and lightning flashing awakened me and I could never quite get back to sleep once things settled down.

I got up around 5 and started getting ready for my day. Sometimes in the midst of a crazy day I will think about how Jesus was never in a hurry or rushing about. He came to do all that the Father had sent Him to do and it wasn't "too much." Jesus was never saying, "Hey, Peter and Andrew, could you pick up the pace? I think we're running a little late." Rather, Jesus, the Savior of the world, would often tarry or even take the long way around to get where He was going.

Remember Lazarus? Jesus and His disciples were hanging out when they get the word that Lazarus is sick. John 11:5-6 says, "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet, when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days."

I can just imagine the scene. Friends hurrying here and there to gather food and prepare for the trip to Bethany to see Lazarus. And Jesus says something like, "Yeah, we'll leave in a couple of days. No hurry. In fact, if we get there too soon, we might diminish the glory God wants to reveal. We will get there later. Thanks."

That was Jesus. He was so in touch with His Father that He knew exactly what to do and what not to do. And He trusted His Father with all of it. I believe that my life is supposed to look a lot more like that. I believe this busyness is not what God has for me. God has not given me more than I can do in a day. He doesn't want me spinning plates or filling every role of service at church or even every opportunity for service at home. I cannot do it all and my heavenly Father doesn't call me to do it all. More than likely I am interfering with God's plan and His glory by trying to do it all.

So the big question becomes: What does He want me to do? Just one thing. That's what He told Martha, anyway. She was busy and simply overwhelmed with all that needed to be done. Everyone was coming and they needed a meal. And while she was working in the kitchen, her sister Mary had the nerve to sit at Christ's feet to rest and listen. Martha was getting steamed just thinking about it. (Wow, that has been me so many times!)

Finally, Martha appeals to Jesus. "There are preparations to be made. Can you get my sister to come and help, please?"

Jesus said, "Martha, Martha, you are upset and worried about many things when only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

Yes, the better part, that is what I want. And isn't it cool that the better part can never be taken from me? Jesus will refuse to let anyone step in with their demands and interfere with my relationship with Him. I might get sidetracked, but He never does.

Lord, help me let go of the running, the grasping, the plate spinning and sit at your feet and learn of You for Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light.

Monday, April 11, 2011

God Cheers for Me

Baseball, basketball, football, and now lacrosse. I have spent many years cheering for my children as they played sports, and I have a few more years to go. Every parent with a little athlete knows that not much can compare with the excitement of watching your child make a good play on the field or court (except seeing them make good decisions in life!).

I think I can remember almost every great play, move, hit, basket Taylor or Caleb ever made. I can remember an amazing spin move Taylor put on a difficult opponent as she drove to the basket to score. I can remember when Caleb single-handedly turned a triple play in Little League. On both of those occasions and many more, my heart sang with joy. I found myself yelling things like, "Way to go, Taylor! That's my girl!" and "Good job, Caleb! That's my boy!"

I've never won the lottery, but it is hard for me to imagine that winning a million could even come close to the excitement of of those moments when I am encouraging my child on a job well done.

As God is my heavenly Father, I believe He cheers for me in much the same way I cheer for my kids. The Father is watching me every day; looking for where He can encourage and say, "Way to go, Karen!" He is looking intently, not to see me fail or trip up, but because He loves me and is interested in me.

When I hear His voice and follow His leading, I can hear my Father saying, "Yes! Way to go, Karen! You are learning. I am so proud of you!" There is something powerful in knowing that the Father is for me, that He is right there with me, pulling for me. How can I not love Someone who loves me like that?

Right now, I only hear those words in my soul, but one day when I cross over into eternity, I am longing to hear, "Attagirl, good and faithful servant. Come and share in your Master's happiness!" And what a joy it will be to run into His arms to celebrate. Even now, Come, Lord Jesus!