Friday, February 11, 2011

Take Me By the Hand

Once upon a time not so long ago, I was at a place in my life where I didn't know what to do - about anything.  I was caught in the middle of two conflicting methods of operation: my method and God's.  God wanted me to stop smoking.  I wanted to but not badly enough to do as He asked.  God wanted me to stop drinking.  I wanted to, but couldn't because I had it psychologically tied to my smoking.  God wanted me to stop taking anti-depressants and sleep aids and rely solely on Him.  I wanted to, but my fear of failure without it only made me take more.  I spent hours feeling guilty, condemned and worthless in the eyes of God, but He never left my side and not for one minute did He see me as worthless.  Instead, each time I found myself a sobbing mess on the floor, He continued to gently say "take Me by the hand."  I finally did.
God has been doing some awesome things in my life lately, and to be honest, I'm not yet sure what it all means.  I know He's taking me somewhere amazing but I'm not quite sure where.  He has been building me up, letting me fall, catching me when I do, and then dusting me off with encouraging words to keep me moving forward when I don't know what else to do.  It has been an exciting time and though part of me would love to see the bigger picture, I'm kind of enjoying the ride into what is for me, the unknown.  Well, another piece to what I call the puzzle of my life fell into place yesterday morning through the wireless connection of two phones.  I was expecting a call from a girl I barely know to confirm a potential upcoming event, and when the call came in I thought it would be an under five minutes conversation.  I was delightfully wrong.  Over the course of an hour, she opened up her heart and emotions concerning some problems she has been having in her life.  As God already knew would be the case, they were suspiciously similar to those of my own past. 

I knew within minutes what she was feeling.  I had been there myself.  "Father, tell me what you want me to say to her," I quietly prayed while she talked on the other end.  It became clearer by the word that He purposely arranged the situation for she and I to be the ones talking (the overall circumstances required that she be the one to call me rather than any of 50 something other people), so I needed Him to direct my words.  We talked, we laughed, and there may have even been a shared tear.  I don't know if I said everything right, but I know the conversation ended with an invitation to meet up later in the week and talk more.  I got off the phone completely astonished by how God had just intervened in both her life and my own.  I've heard Terri Savelle often say that we should allow God to turn our messes into His messages - our misery into a ministry.  I don't particularly enjoy discussing what I've gone through in the past unless it's to thank God for leading me through it, but I also see that God can use what I went through to help someone else get through a similar situation - I just have to take her by the hand and offer to help. 

Don't discount the pain you've gone through as meaningless because you never know when or how God will use it for helping someone else.  Use your own pain as a way to help someone else through theirs.  It not only brings healing to them, but to you as well.   If you find that you've endured insuperable suffering and don't know why, just be patient and wait on God. You may not get an answer for why you suffered what you have, but you will definitely get an opportunity to turn your suffering into healing.  Once you find yourself offering help to someone on God's behalf, it's impossible for you to also not be healed.  In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."  If you've been hurt and are far from being healed, try not to lash out at everyone around you - look for someone who has gone through what you have and ask for help. If you've been hurt and suffered loss but feel you've been healed - start looking for others who are still hurting and take them by the hand with an offer to help.  We all need to get our minds off of ourselves and look for others who are broken inside.  Take someone by the hand today! God has given each of us something inside that allows us to help others in one way or another!  You may be just the person God is waiting to use. 

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"  -Jerimiah 29:11

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