Crazy Love and Obedience

God is the creator of the universe. He keeps the cosmos in order and all things in His perfect balance. He is the ruler of much but still knows the numbers of hairs on your head. In all that He is and all that He does, He still loves you enough to know all the intimate, insignificant, seemingly random details about your life.

Remember that.

Sit in awe of that.

Meditate on that.

The Creator of all things loves You enough to be involved with every detail of your life. He loves you enough to want to handcraft the plans of your life. He loves you enough to want to direct your path. Remember that whenever He speaks to You. Whether it’s through a word from someone else or through your own time in prayer and meditation. Sit in awe of the fact that the One who sits in charge of all creation cares enough about You to speak and pour into your life daily. Bask in the incomprehensible expanse of His love. Follow the directions that He has laid out for you. React to His amazing love with your complete obedience. Do His will, regardless of what your busy schedule, other people or your own selfish desires may say.

Listen to Him.

Truly listen to Him in all of the love and awe that He’s placed inside of you. Listen to the One who is in charge of every star, every solar system, every galaxy in the cosmos, yet listens to every prayer, hears every cry and cares enough to want to give you the desires of your heart. And He does it all just because He loves you. Can you do the same and love Him with all your heart, mind and soul? Can you give up your tiny and insignificant plans for your life to listen whenever He speaks, hear when He cries out to you to serve Him, and care just enough to live out the life He desires you to have? Can you lay down the life you think you should have for the life that He’s planned out for you to have since He cradled the universe in His arms in its infancy? Can you trust that the ruler of all things would never misguide you or lead you astray? That His plans and thoughts are truly higher than yours? Can you decrease so that He may increase?

Well, can you?

Sit with that this week. Meditate and pray on it. Ask God to keep you in awe of all that He is, especially when it come to decisions about your life. Ask that you be reminded of His infinite power, yet infinite concern about your wellbeing whenever you are tempted to abandon his perfectly crafted will for your life for your own reckless and insignificant plans. Ask that He brings to remembrance the incomprehensible expanse of who He is anytime you are tempted to place the fallible and short-sighted advice of others over His all-knowing direction. This week I pray that you are in absolute and complete awe of Him and that through that awe you fall into absolute and complete obedience.

A Bank Teller, a Stroke, and a Message

So I work as a bank teller, and just like anyone else who works in customer service, you encounter a wide range of people. There’s never a dull moment when you work with the public, but sometimes you come across a certain customer who sticks out to you in a big way. I had a customer like that yesterday.

He was an older man that was probably in his mid-sixties. I work at a bank in a small town, so I usually see familiar faces walk through the door on a daily basis, but I didn’t recall ever waiting on him before. As he walked in, he stopped by the counter in the lobby to fill out his check. After a few minutes, he walked up to my counter. I greeted him with a smile and said, “Hi! How are you today?”

He hesitated and then he frowned. He gave a heavy sigh and finally replied in a harsh tone with, “Well I guess I’m doing alright.”

His reply caught me by surprise. Most people say that they’re doing well, even if they’re not. So when he threw me this conversational curveball, I didn’t really know how to respond or if I even should. I didn’t have to, though, because the next words out of his mouth were, “Can you fill out the rest of this check for me? I can’t write well.”

I said, “Okay. No problem,” as I started filling out his check.

I didn’t think much of his request because a good number of older people make the same request because their eyesight or writing may not be the best, but as I kept writing, I noticed that he placed his head down on my counter. I wondered what was wrong with him and wanted to ask if he was okay, but he seemed to be in a bad mood. “Maybe he just doesn’t want to be bothered. I probably should just mind my business and stick to my job,” I thought.

But something was tugging on my heart to say something even if I was at risk of another harsh reply. I took a deep breath, prepared myself to possibly get my head chopped off, and said, “Are you sure you’re ok?”

He slowly lifted his head off of the counter and said, “I’m just really tired.” I nodded my head and listened. Then he continued, “Ever since I had a stroke, I just get worn out so quickly.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that sir,” was all I could manage to get out. He’d thrown me another conversational curveball. When he said he was tired, I assumed it was because he hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep the night before (Lord knows I’m not the happiest camper when I don’t get a full eight hours of sleep!) or that the 88 degree weather outside had worn him out. But a stroke. Wow! I didn’t know what to say. As I struggled to find the words to say, he continued talking.

 “I was supposed to get surgery this Thursday but the doctors told me that I’ll have to wait another two months. They ran some tests on me and they said I have way too many blood clots and I’m at risk of having an aneurism. I just don’t know what to do. I mean how can I wait that long to have a surgery that I need. I’m scared I’ll have an aneurism and die before then, but I guess those doctors know what’s best, right?” he said.

I stammered out, “Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry to hear that. I know that with things like strokes, it just takes a while to recover, but I’m sure you’ll be alright.”

He went on to say that he was just really upset because he didn’t know what was going on with his health and he didn’t really understand his doctors and all the terminology they used. As I watched him talk about his health, I no longer saw the man who seemed to be in such a bad mood that all he could offer was a frown and a harsh response. I now saw a man who was so consumed with worry, sadness, and fear about his own life that he couldn’t even smile if he wanted to. I saw a man who had been carrying around the burden of fighting what seemed to be a losing battle with his health and was frustrated with his body for failing him. I saw a broken man. It was almost like I could literally feel his pain and I felt such a deep sense of compassion for him, but I wasn’t really sure of what to say to comfort him. I thought to myself, “Lord, what in the world should I say to this man? I was not expecting all of this!”

Then he said, “I just got my voice back 10 days ago. I haven’t had it since I had my stroke. The doctors said it had something to do with that. But I just woke up one morning and it was back like it never left.”

I gave him a big smile and replied, “Well that’s a good sign then. That means you’re improving and getting better. It’s going to be fine, it’s just going to take some time.”

He gave a shy smile and said, “Well yeah. I guess so.”

By this time, I’d cashed his check so I counted the money out to him and then said, “You’ll be alright, but I’ll definitely keep you in my prayers.”

He said thank you and left. I felt like there was so much that I could have or should have said. However, I’m thankful that I didn’t ignore God speaking to my heart and actually said something. There have been so many times in my life, where I’ve felt that same tug to speak to someone or ask them if there are doing okay, but I ignored it. I talked myself out of it by saying, “Well they’re a stranger. They’ll never open up to me.”

Or, “It’s really not my business so I shouldn’t pry.”

Or, “If I say something, the people around me might think it’s strange.” 

But as I continue to grow in my walk with Christ, I’m learning more and more to listen to him when He leads me to reach out to someone in love and compassion. My biggest fear in reaching out to someone like that is that I’ll be rejected. The funny thing is though, every time I’ve listened to and obeyed Him when He guides me to reach out to someone, I’ve never faced any kind of rejection. I really think that’s because when God leads you do something, it is on purpose and it is for a purpose. When He pulls on your heart for you to reach out to someone, it’s because He really wants to send that person a message of hope and healing. He’s pulling on your heart because He needs in a willing vessel that He can send that message through. All you have to do is be ready and willing to be used by Him. You don’t have to prepare that message for that person in advance. You don’t have to preach a sermon to that person. You don’t have to say it perfectly and eloquently. You just have to be willing to open your mouth and say it. That’s it.

Honestly, I think most, if not all of us feel those same tugs on our hearts and conscience from time to time. There are so many broken and hurting people in this world that need to hear a message of hope, love, wisdom or healing to help them overcome whatever they are going through. What a beautiful privilege and duty we have been given by God to partner with Him in giving His heartfelt messages to the people who need it most. He desires to use you as a vessel to give words of strength to the weak, words of encouragement to the hopeless, and words of love to the lonely. Our dying world is full of people who desperately need to hear His message from a willing and obedient vessel just like you. So the next time you feel that tug on your heart to reach out to someone, don’t ignore it. Don’t talk yourself out of it because you’re afraid of the possibility of rejection, scared of what others may think of you, or feel you should just mind your business. Trust God and know that if He’s asking you to reach out to that person it’s because He has signed and sealed a message that He wants to deliver through you.