Saturday, March 16, 2013

Work It Out, Sista!

I loved my Pappaw Groves. I still love my Pappaw Groves, and his face is one of the faces I will be looking for when I get to heaven. In his youth, he had a John Wayne swagger. He was quiet, but when he spoke it was like E.F. Hutton, everyone listened. He loved aggie jokes, and would grin at me while clinching his pipe between his teeth by raising his eyebrows and raising the corners of his mouth. His hands were thick and off-colored. I was never sure if that was from handling tobacco for his pipe or from all his years in the steel factory. When Pappaw was 81 we discovered he had an aneurysm on the artery above his heart. No one in Louisiana would touch him because of his age, but if he didn’t have the surgery, it would rupture because it had gotten that large. He was care-flighted to Houston, and the surgery was performed. He would never recover. After several weeks in Houston, we had him transported to a hospital in Shreveport. I’d go there before work and during lunch to exercise him, talk to him, put Chapstick on him, brush his hair, and things like that. I knew the time was coming that Pappaw would be going home. I remember telling my daddy that I didn’t understand why God would allow my Pappaw to languish in that old hospital bed. Why didn’t God just take Pappaw home? All daddy could say was, “God doesn’t waste anything.”

A little after Pappaw’s death, his nurse wrote a letter to our family. By the way, we loved this nurse. I walked in on him talking to Pappaw and turning on the television just in case Pappaw was tuning in. He saw my Pappaw as a person and not a number. Apparently, just as I had been watching this nurse take care of my Pappaw, he had been watching our family, the way we spoke to one another, what we said to one another, how we treated each other, how we treated guests, and how we treated him. In this letter to us, he confessed that he had wandered away from God, away from the church, away from the things he had once believed in. He said by watching and listening he had been convicted about his walk with Christ and that he was determined to get his family back in church. He wanted God’s healing for his family.

In Acts 3, a lame beggar had to be picked up and carried to the gate called Beautiful day in and day out, and one day Peter and John came to the gate. Because Peter told the lame that in the name of Jesus Christ to stand, the lame man believed and arose.

      So why did the lame man have to live for so long before being healed?

               God doesn’t waste anything.

                         Did the lame man not hear of God before this time?

                                   God’s timing is perfect.

Do you ever have questions regarding your walk with God? God, why did I have to go through this? How long do I have to endure this? Why can’t you just handle things like __________________?

I’ve been there, and I’ve wondered those same things about the lame man in Acts 3. Why did it take so long for someone to heal this poor man? Why did he have to endure this humiliation day in and day out and to what cost? Don’t you know he felt like a nuisance asking people to carry him wherever he needed to go? Don’t you know he suffered great humiliation being tended to by others because he couldn’t take care of himself?

My answer – God doesn’t waste anything. God’s timing is perfect. In order for God to gain the maximum effect in reaching others, to bring glory to himself and bring awareness to others, God wanted people to see this lame man. God wanted people to hear this man begging. If God had healed this man an hour earlier, a day earlier, a month earlier or a year earlier, then someone would have missed out on the message Peter preached right after the healing. Someone would have missed out on seeing the joy only God can give through complete healing. Someone would have missed Peter’s message about Jesus Christ being put to death at their own hands and yet it was the lame man’s faith in this Jesus Christ who had risen from the grave which had healed him. Acts 3:16, “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.” For some seeing is believing.

                      If the lame had been healed before this time, someone would not have heard the sermon to  repent, turn to God and your sins will be washed away.

Can you endure your hardship, your illness one more day if you knew that it would mean that one more person would come to know Christ?

Faith is trusting that God will work these hardships out for his glory and for your best. Sometimes we won’t know how He does or who all has been touched by our lives. We may not know until we are in heaven, so I encourage you to keep trusting God. Work out that faith of yours, and by work it out, I mean kick Satan to the curb when he causes you to doubt. Work out your faith means dying to your own desires and wishes for the kingdom’s cause. Working out your faith means persevering through the hard times in a Christ-like manner because you never know who is watching and what your life is telling them about God.

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