We live in a world of paradoxes. Billionaires and street people. Massive International Corporations and a dearth of Mom and Pop stores. Farm ownership is disappearing faster than the morning dew. Desperate people are all around us. National catastrophes seemingly are more common than ever before.
As we pulled out of the driveway from Safeway, my wife and I saw a young man holding a sign with his wife and baby sitting at his feet. We swung back around and handed them $20.00.
I ministered to several congregations nearly all of which were small and were only able to pay me a small amount. I also counseled a large number of folks with hurting hearts and broken dreams. Typically these counseling sessions were for a minuscule amount or for no charge. It was always my intent to nudge them to come to Jesus or return to Him while never focused on collecting money from them.
In one of those periods I felt adrift in a storm ~ unsure if my anchor would hold. I needed to supplement my income. We had bills to be paid and I took a temp job selling business to business.
Early on day one I left the house and drove the 16 miles. As I pulled into the town I saw a red light flashing on my dash. It wasn't just any red light it was the fuel gauge. I knew my wallet was empty and the gas tank would be soon.
I only had one option. I had to park my car and walk to each of the businesses. But I had something that was far more urgent than walking.
I sat in the car and buried my face in my hands and tried to pray. I felt so alone. So hopeless. So unsure of where to go and what to do. My mouth felt dry, my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. Words wouldn't come to my lips. My hands were shaking and then became wet. I was crying and my soul was humiliated. Never had I felt like this. I was not worthy to even have a family. I was such a failure. My mind felt like scrambled eggs. And then it happened.
From deep within my soul two words crawled out: "Abba.........Father..." Followed by "Dear Abba Father I'm such a failure." I wept harder.
My soul continued, "Holy Lord, You know I've spent so many hours the last few days ministering to people who needed help... but they couldn't pay anything. Now I'm so weak, weary and desperate, I'm afraid to even try to do this new job - selling to businesses."
"Oh, Lord," tears gushing, "Please help me. Please..."
Realizing I was almost late for the appointment I dried my eyes and parked my car.
As I opened the business' front door I stepped softly inside unsure what response my effort would bring. And a response was exactly what awaited.
"Mr. Smith, I'm so glad you made this appointment. I've been needing this for a long time. Please can you do two things for me?" Paula asked.
"Please tell me how much to write the check for and then can you take the time to show Martha at her shop on the next corner. She can't wait to see you either."
This isn't a lengthy story but it is true. I remember it like it was yesterday... though it was a number of years ago. Before that day I had always been optimistic and even proud of my work ethic. You know I could fix anything and hated to be dependent on anyone for anything. And though a diligent Christian, my philosophy had always been: The Lord helps those who help themselves.
Ever since Abba Father sent me to Paula the loving Holy Spirit has been remolding me into dependency on Him and placing and keeping Him number one in my life.
Maybe it had happened before this story, I can't recall. But from this moment on I was a broken man.
The Lord taught me that He alone was sufficient for me to lean upon. I began to realize my supposed macho attitude was arrogance and pride. God didn't want me prideful. He wanted me broken. Humble. Dependent on Him.
I've been reading the Psalms in the new Passion Translation and recently these verses expressed what my soul has discovered:
"I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the one I love,waiting as long as it takes for him to rescue me.Only God is my Savior, and he will not fail me.For he alone is my safe place.His wrap-around presence always protects meas my champion defender.There’s no risk of failure with God!So why would I let worry paralyze me,even when troubles multiply around me?God’s glory is all around me!His wrap-around presence is all I need,for the Lord is my Savior, my hero, and my life-giving strength.Join me, everyone! Trust only in God every moment!Tell him all your troubles and pour out your heart-longings to him.Believe me when I tell you—he will help you!"
(Psalms 62:5-8, TPT)
Please comment on this story by clicking "Comments" below.