Friday, January 6, 2012

My Epiphany and My Wish for Yours....

Courtesy D. Scott
I was new there and really had no idea who the man was. I showed up because it was what I did in those days. I showed up. I didn't know anyone, and no one knew me. But, I had been entranced from my 1st visit.

I kept showing up because the pastor was amazing. Despite all the years I had spent on a church pew, not a week went by that he didn't tell me something I had never heard before. Or, he told me what I knew but added more information so that I came away feeling smarter and more able to walk in faith every week.

I grew up in old time revival services of the 60's which were known to last as long as 5 weeks. Congregants took only 1 night a week off to catch up on laundry and chores. You'd think with all that church-going, I'd have had a PhD in theology by the time I was 18. I was just as surprised as you that the fella could teach an old church dog like me new tricks. So, I kept showing up to see if he could teach me anything else.

The particular night I found the new and improved name for 'Revival' was 'Bible Conference'. A guest speaker was there. The place was packed. You could feel the buzz of excitement in the air vibrate under your skin. The standing room only crowd included high school-aged kids who hung on every word and took furious notes. All these years later, I know the conference speaker was a noted, famous theologian. No wonder the place was packed out. Ignorance is bliss when you don't know the famous people in the room.

Courtesy A. Hughes
The crowd quieted as the fella began to speak his peace. Honestly, he bored me. Don't tell Mamma I said that. I had opted not to leave because of the enormity of the crowd and the difficulty of climbing over the folks between me and the aisle. I was through biting the inside of my cheek to stay awake. I had finished counting ceiling tiles. I had gone to promising myself and God that if I could get out of the place without snoring, I'd skip the rest of the conference and return when my speaker of choice was back in the pulpit.

Just as my head was about to loll back on my shoulders a la Peppermint Patty of Peanut's fame, the fella's tone changed. I sat up straight. In a few more words, I was on the edge of my seat. “I have a question for one thing God cannot do.”

The audience began to buzz again as quiet discussions broke out. Dismay began to ripple across the audience. “Why...there is nothing God cannot do,” replied an audience member brave enough to speak up.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
The speaker smiled. “Think about it. There is one thing God cannot do.” He stepped back from the audio equipment and allowed more time for the unlearned among us to work on his riddle.

The winning answer made so much sense. Why had I never thought of it before? I bet the young man was a seminarian himself. He was smug and sure of himself when he spoke up, “God cannot betray his nature or his word.”

The speaker's smile broke wide open. “Exactly,” he held up his Bible in agreement, “God cannot betray his own nature nor his word. If he promised it between the covers of this book, he must honor the promise or betray his own nature. The one thing God cannot do is betray himself.” It was not January 6, but it was my moment of epiphany.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
The life pit that opened up beneath me between 1999-2010 has been deep and dark. My situation was fraught with opportunities to develop situational depression. Chronic situational depression led to deeper depression. Before it was over, my counselor said I was in the throws of Severe Trauma Reaction, PTSD's near cousin.

Climbing out has required a combination of meds, counseling, steadfast friends, and steadfast determination. My faith has not always been steadfast. In the worst of times, I'd call MYSELF and leave a voice mail to remind me that my situation was temporary. This too would pass...whatever the 'this' of the day was.

Even when I thought God had forgotten me, I could hear the theologian's question ring, “Name one thing God cannot do.” I would remind myself that God could not betray his own nature nor the promises in his word that are based upon that nature. Even when I could not see how my pain was part of that fulfillment, I clung – with desperate determination – to that truth. A truth I discovered when I was in a place that no one knew my name. A place I went because all I could do was keep showing up.

Courtesy A. Squires
I see you, fraidy cat. Maybe the folks around you know your name but have no idea the pain searing through your heart. You spend your days going thru the basics of life doing only what has to be done. Are you just showing up in places where no one knows your name because that is all there is left to do? I see you.

Your Heavenly Father, the God who created you, sees you too. He has promised to complete what he has started in you and said it was a GOOD WORK. He has promised that he created you with a special purpose in mind that only you can fulfill.

May everyday of 2012 be an EPIPHANY for you. May you discover a little more each day the purpose he has for you. May you find yourself equipped a little more each day to put that plan into place. 


Ephesians 2:10 (Amplified Bible)
For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
Courtesy B. Creasy

Galatians 6: 9 (Amplified Bible)
And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.

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