"The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing." Psalm 145:15-16. "Accept God's plan and move on." Joel Olsteen. "When you are looking for a helping hand, look at the end of your elbow." Evangelist Mary Jackman. "BLOOM" by Yvette Lane.
How often do we think our lives are in the hands of other people? Too often. This is the reason that so many folks are sitting in a dark corner all forlorn because someone let them down. Someone has not given them the promotion they thought they deserved; broke a promise needed to keep them afloat financially or someone just left (be it a parent, a friend or a spouse) leaving one feeling lost, confused, or extremely disappointed.
Recently, I was listening to a Sunday service on the television. In this time of Covid-19, when we cannot get out much, we can still go to church. Of course, I attend the worship services provided by my church on Facebook. However, I chanced to turn on the TV and there was Joel Olsteen. I know that some people (some preachers) feel he preaches "gospel light." Or, they say he is prosperity focused. Be that as it may, this Sunday his sermon was titled "Trusting God When We Don't Understand." That stopped me in my tracks. I do not know about you, but I have been there. He said that we are to "trust God when doors open and when doors close; with good and bad times." I had to say Amen! He was speaking the truth that I had learned over the years. He continued, "that person who left your life was not a part of your destiny. Since when did God need anything or anyone to fulfill the plan that He has for your life?" Hallelujah! That is a shout right there!!
Intellectually, we understand that God is able to provide all of our needs. As the Psalm above indicates we, all creatures (even the birds in the air and the fish in the sea) and the Lord's people, are to look to Him with expectation to supply all of our needs for both spiritual and nutritional sustenance. Looking to God is the easy part, I think waiting on Him may give some of us pause. Someone coined the phrase to describe where we are right now as a society in terms of how fast we want things done; "microwave society." We can have food prepared in a matter of minutes that once took at least an hour or two (we are going to ignore any consequences that might arise from the quickness of the process). We must have it now; if not now, then soon. That is not God's way. We have to wait on Him; He is faithful. In due season, He will meet our needs.
Doing things our way oftentimes lead to slow downs and sometimes stoppage or what many of us try to put a label on; getting stuck. When you or I get stuck, we may come to a standstill in our goals, actions, plans or living in general, we may experience a meltdown; breakdown on some level. Now, I am not saying that we need the men in "white coats." But, I am not judging if that is what you need, by all means go for it. There is no shame in getting help when you need it. What I am saying is that there is some type of mental paralysis that occurs. Sometimes this causes one to become temporarily physically immobile (because you won't do anything except get out of bed to eat and take care of necessary bodily functions). Take my word on this (smile)! I am posing an alternative.
What I am suggesting is that we resist getting to the place or space where we "veg" out; lose sight of our purpose. However, if we do find ourselves there, we should use what is at our disposal to make a swift exit. Several years ago, my younger brother suffered a debilitating stroke which left him paralyzed from the neck down. Of course, this was tragic and awfully hard to bear and even more difficult to watch a loved one go through this. You are not going to believe this, but the last three years of my brother's life (he lived for three years following the stroke) were filled with great joy, prayer, laughter and tears of gratitude. In God's grace and mercy, my brother's mind was untouched. He was able to share with us the wonders of his travels around the world, the adventures of being a registered nurse for more than thirty years, and the fond, warm and loving memories of growing up and the time spent with his family that he loved and adored (and who loved and adored him back) so much. There were many times when we forgot that he was paralyzed we were having such a wonderful time visiting with him. My beloved brother, George Timothy Murdaugh shared that we was so blessed and thankful to God for keeping His promises. "I will never leave you or forsake you." Hebrews 13:5. He bloomed where he was planted, and he lifted us in the process. He used what he had left. God gave the increase.
This set my mind and my heart in motion and impacted my current state of mind. I know that tomorrow is not promised neither is the state of our health a given. Today is when and where we can make a difference. Everyday is not full of sunshine, but it can be filled with thanks and gratitude. I wrote a poem to encourage myself and others to not lose hope no matter how you feel or no matter the circumstances life may present. "You want to hear it, here it go":
Letting life pass by
Reach out, grab something
Why can't you try?
Emotions too deep
Too upsetting to sleep
Heartbreak that makes you sigh
Real hard living
But refuse to die
Look up, hope springs eternal in the sky
Your feet won't move
Yet your mind can fly
Go there, dream there
Let this freedom get you by
Bloom where you are planted it is often said
Take it to heart not just to your head
Fortitude, prayer and accessibility lead to plans
That reveal the greatness that is in your hands
Tomorrow is not promised, yet it comes for more than a few
With it brings the chance to start anew
It is none too late, neither too soon
BLOOM, BLOOM, BLOOM
Always remember that God has a plan for your life, and it is not over until He says so!
1. What do you have left? Whatever it is, that is what you need to work with. As my grandmother would say, look at the end of your elbow to find a helping hand. The real question is: "What resources do I have left in my arsenal that will allow me to pick up the pieces and move forward?" Take an inventory. I must admit that sometimes we are blinded by circumstances and hope is obscured. Please read the full account of I Kings 17:8-24. There's the widow of Zarephath who was in such dire straits that she was gathering sticks to build a fire so that she could cook her last meal for herself and her son and die. There was a famine in the land, and there was no more food. Elijah the prophet encounters her at the city gates where she was gathering sticks and asks for a drink of water. She forgot about what she was going through and gave him a drink of water. Then he takes the request a little further and asks this widow who has nothing but a little flour and a little oil to bring him some bread as well. She reveals to him her plan to cook that last bit of food for herself and her son and die. Acting in faith she makes the cake for the prophet. In summary, she was able to fix the meal for the prophet, herself and her son and many more meals because the oil and flour did not run out. The Lord had blessed her obedience. "God often asks us to offer what is left to do with it greater than our little minds could ever imagine." Article, "The Widow's Gift of Everything."
2. Faith is the key; stop complaining and drive. Faith is defined as the basic ingredient to begin a relationship with God. Faith is the assurance that things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith, will come to pass. "He replied, Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there," and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Without faith it is hard to do just about anything. What goal have you set and achieved without believing that you could accomplish it? In that case you might as well get back in bed and pull the covers over your head. Just kidding!! What is your faith quotient? If you find it is a little low, pray and ask God to increase your faith and then get up and act on it. In the Book of Job, we see that all Job had left was his faith. In the end God blessed him with twice that he had lost. Faith is the key; put the "key" in the "ignition" and drive. Get busy living!!
3. Bloom, God gives the increase. After you have done all that you can, God will do the rest. The Lord will bless our efforts when we trust and obey. Don't think about what you can do in your own strength; that is very little. "So then neither is he who plants anything, neither he who waters; but God who gives the increase." 1 Corinthians 3:6.
As we have read in the previous example of the widow, we just have to be obedient to God's word. None of us are built to give up. Why do we do it so often? I know why I do (well, I think about it sometimes) and perhaps this can help you. I keep losing sight of the One who loves me with an everlasting love. One who is all wise, all loving, all powerful, sovereign, and omnipresent. At those low moments I begin to believe that I can try some things on my own. Not because I don't trust God, but I like the rest of the world want things done right away. Big mistake. Then I do recover and understand that if I want God's intervention; if I want the best, then I must learn to wait on the Lord. In His time, (He is always on time) He will answer and it will be the best solution with the best outcome for my life. Wait on the Lord! "But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31. You want God's best? Wait on Him.
A reminder: No matter what has happened in your life, you are still here. Make your life count. Step out of the darkness into the light. Don't let your own words keep you down. "The tongue has the power of life or death." Proverbs 18:21. Speak words of life into your life. Even if you can't move, you can pray. Do that. You will be surprised what God will do with whatever you have left. Give it to Him and see. Praise and thank Him in advance.
God bless and keep you! Stay safe.
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Special thanks to all who participated in the "Ignite Your Passion Workshop." There was a wonderful turnout, and a most fun and enlightening experience. I remain truly grateful! Thank you so much.