A moment from December 2013 that I am finally getting around to sharing……
As I write, Christmas is about to be over in my little corner of the world. In the midst of all the comings and goings this season brings, God gave me a sweet moment that I could not leave unpenned.
Every now and then I go through the dreaded doubt cycle. Some may call it my “Eeyore” stage, as it typically involves a full ministry evaluation, with the final questions being: Should I keep singing or shouldn’t I? Is God done with me? Am I chasing a dream that was never meant for me? Yes, I know…you would think I would have this figured out by now.
As the year comes to a close and the ministry dates are taping off, the season of uncertainty made its rather unwelcomed visit. Like clockwork, I prayed for God’s direction, asked my prayer team for support and then came His answer.
Loving Christmas as I do, I grabbed my camera to quickly take a picture of our outdoor Christmas lights. My young neighbor hopped in his car to run off somewhere, and then it happened. Strong, began blaring through His car stereo. As I walked back into the house, I remembered him mentioning that he had listened to and liked the music, but I actually heard it with my own ears. Admittedly, it put a big smile on my face.
This was also the same night we had planned to watch It’s A Wonderful Life. The protagonist of the film, George Bailey, responded to the value of his life and efforts in a somewhat similar way. Through his questioning, however, he felt it would be best to take matters into his own hands and give up on life all together. God and George’s guardian angel Clarence, showed him what the small town of Bedford Falls would have been like if he had never lived at all.
Between the sound of my neighbor’s car stereo and the cries of George Bailey, God brilliantly answered my questions of doubt and I thought, “What if our songs were never sung? What if they were never written and played at all?” On occasion, God gives us a glimpse of heaven. He lets us hear our songs ringing out in car stereos, we get a random note from a stranger who has been encouraged, or we see the tangible signs of God moving hearts at an event. A true friend of Christ serves without reward, but those special winks from Heaven certainly make a difference when “Eeyore” steps in.
It is easy to become addicted to approval, being in demand, prideful over a full calendar, CD’s sales and soaring digital download reports. Yet when God calls us to those quiet seasons, it is so important not to misunderstand its purpose or view it as a measurement of His love for us. There also comes a point when we have poured out for so long our vessels are depleted and we desperately need replenishment.
Jesus spent 30 years of His life being filled and prepared. If we misconstrue a learning season or time of rest as a sign to throw in the towel, thus deciding on God’s behalf that we are no longer suited for use, we will miss the magic. We will miss hearing our song being played from a neighbor’s car stereo and seeing Jesus at work in the life of the listener.
Mother Teresa said, “I am just a pencil in God’s hand,” which reminds us that in the midst of all our planning, goal setting and dreaming, it is God who is writing the story. So often, we have dreams of reaching the masses, when there are people living next door who have no eternal security. I don’t know about you, but I am thankful that while I am staring at radio charts and calendar dates, His eye is on the sparrow, the lost neighbor and the grocery store clerk. The movie of life and all that He created us to do is by and for His purposes. Thank goodness that in the midst of doubt and self-absorption, our Father is still able to accomplish what truly matters.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10 NKJV).