This morning I read Psalm 31. I underlined the words, I related to David's distress (v. 12), I praised Him for His goodness (v. 19), I claimed His promise that He would strengthen my heart (v. 24), and I circled one sentence:
"Make Your face shine upon Your servant" Psalm 31: 16
And this is what I got. . . a happy, yellow rubber ducky with lips reflecting a sunrise (or sunset) and hair that screams for some Peace of Christ hair gel that tames the craziness!
You see, earlier those feelings of inadequacy started to rise up again.
I read a blog written by Ann Voskamp. She wrote:
She is in Haiti right now with her entire family on a missions trip. The pictures are beautiful. The people are beautiful. The purpose is beautiful.
My response was not.
My family will never have enough money to do something like that. I will never have an opportunity to serve and make such a difference.
And the pity party began.
Then I remembered that sitting on my kitchen counter was an unopened letter from my own sponsored child from Haiti. It lay unopened because I felt too ashamed to open it.
This was his second letter. . . I never even responded to the first one..
Christmas came and went and I never sent the suggested extra monetary gift that Compassion encourages sponsors to do as a gift the sponsored child's family.
Feelings of inadequacy as a sponsor added another layer.
But I opened the letter. And he drew me a picture and he got chickens for Christmas. And this time I will write back.
Maybe someday we will meet and maybe not.
But in the meantime I prayed that God would get my feet out of my house today with eyes and hands open to see opportunities to serve. To meet someone else's needs other than my own. To have the courtesy before the Lord to be a Jesus with skin on to someone.
"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give You a drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"
Matthew 25: 37-40
I didn't have to go far. I looked out my kitchen window at a familiar sight, a homeless couple digging through my recycling for bottles and cans.
I'll tell you a secret: I don't share my recycling. I keep them shut up in the garage for when my kids and I need extra money for something fun.
But I prayed for eyes and hands to be opened to see opportunities to serve and the Lord said instead, "Open your garage."
So I did, and they helped themselves. They refused the food (I offered them hot soup), all they wanted were the empty plastic bottles.
And the man reached in his pocket and pulled out the rubber ducky and said, "Give this to the kids."
It was "the something fun".
In giving up all the empties I gave up some more of my empty and was filled. Not with self-righteousness for doing good or for a sense of self-satisfaction for blessing someone, but with joy and peace knowing that God hears me when I pray.
I doubt I am the only one who has had a Lenten pity party. This dying to those craving of the flesh and the inward searching of our own darkened hearts can be downright discouraging and bring to light those feelings of inadequacy or whatever else it may be for you.
Psalm 31 was written by David during one of his darkest times.
But he prayed that the Lord would SHINE upon him, His servant.
That is how the Lord works! When we choose to turn our faces toward Christ and become His servants in the midst of our darkest moments, our pity parties, or feelings of inadequacy, His joy and peace and favor and love shine down upon us filling, the emptiness with the light of Christ.
May the Lord answer your prayers today in whatever way He sees fit. And may your eyes, hands, ears, hearts, or even garages be open to be filled with the light of His glory. Amen