6 April 2021
Who Led me to the Lord?
“The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” Psalms 138:8 NLT
“You got me when I was an unformed youth, God, and taught me everything I know. Now I’m telling the world your wonders; I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray.” Psalm 71:17
If you were here with me, I’d invite you to watch me string a crazy array of beads. It wasn’t one spectacular person or event that directed my faith walk, but many singular jewels gifted to me along the way, some unrecognized until long afterwards. With the perspective of many years, I see my life, which often seemed a mess, laid out by the Master Creator. Between each bead are jewels, “BUT GOD” moments that make my life a work of art.
The string began when my mother turned away from her faith. Even in the womb I felt rejection. When I was born, my mother made up her mind to win her unfaithful husband back, and left me at home while they partied. BUT GOD had placed us in her childless aunt’s home, who prayed over, loved and cared for me the first two years of my life. The first pearl of salvation whom I was aware of was her sister, my grandmother, always praying for and encouraging me to read and memorize the Bible. My mother’s sister also prayed for me every day until she died. Now I pray for her sons and their families. (Ladies, our prayers matter!)
Rough, wooden beads, my brothers were my anchors to sanity, playing out in the woods, sand dunes, water or snow. And God was always personally speaking to me though the blessings of nature. In fourth grade, we moved to my grandmother’s house in Ocean City, NJ, where I attended her church and Pioneer Girls. How I loved memorizing those Bible verses. “Thy Word is a Lamp Unto my Feet and a Light unto My Path” Psalm 119:105 KJV, went deeply into my heart. Picture a big lamp bead here?
I would need that light when, a half a year later, our dear toddler brother drowned in Lake Ontario. Unlike every other day when I cared for him, I was at VBS with a friend, painting praying hands plagues. That was the cruelest time. BUT GOD used the pain as I spent part of that summer in Ocean City, attending my grandmother’s church two times a day for missionary conferences. One week I gave my heart to Jesus. The next week, I pledged my life as a missionary. At night, I wore calluses on my knees praying for the lost, and still have that passion for intercession.
Abuse in the home and my own timidity twisted into cowardly fear that kept me from walking out the missionary calling as I grew up, but it never left my heart. For the next twenty years, I’d try to serve the Lord, the enemy would jab me, seeking to scatter all the beads to the floor, BUT GOD always wove someone in at just the moment with exactly the touch I needed.
Once it was a person who laid hands on me and prayed. I was instantly healed of strep throat, and out witnessing in a large gathering. Another time a little Sunday school class needed me, and Jesus, and together we grew forward. One really big God Touch came when my father, the terror of my childhood, lay dying at Bethesda Navy hospital. I was hurting and angry. BUT GOD brought a young medical student from Houston, who had taught our youth Bible study in Houston years before, to be the pathologist. He led me back to the Lord. At my father’s bedside, God worked forgiveness and healing in my heart, then woke Dad to accept Jesus a split second before he died.
God even worked events which look upside down and crazy to make it possible for me to finally go into the mission field, and serve eight wonderful years in Honduras.
This is a post, not a life story so I’ll stop here, but once you get the pattern, you can continue stringing on your own, can’t you? God puts a chip of life in our hearts, sends people, creation and nature, and His Spirit to adorn what he is doing, and creates something beautiful out of our lives.
Sometimes it feels like the Saturday before Easter, when we wait in darkness for a BUT GOD moment. Other times we rejoice as Mary and Martha did when Jesus raised Lazarus. Other times, we are used by God in other people’s journeys, a small part in their lovely life story. With the Lord of all creation at work, new every morning, even the smallest action or word can bring sparkle or shape to the beauty of life in His presence.
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. Ephesians 2:10 MSG
Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes! 1 Peter 4:7
Prayer: Lord, thank you for all the ways you have made your presence known in our lives, saved and redeemed and transformed us. May we have the eyes to see and recognize your touch on us from day to day. With the power of your merciful, precious Holy Spirit, grow in us willing hearts to serve, go and speak, to drop a pearl in another’s life story today.