Tuesday, January 12, 2016

EVERYBODY Has a Story to Tell

Oh, thank God—he’s so good!
    His love never runs out.
All of you set free by God, tell the world!
    Tell how he freed you from oppression,
Then rounded you up from all over the place,
    from the four winds, from the seven seas.

Some of you wandered for years in the desert,
    looking but not finding a good place to live,
Half-starved and parched with thirst,
    staggering and stumbling, on the brink of exhaustion.
Then, in your desperate condition, you called out to God.
    He got you out in the nick of time;
He put your feet on a wonderful road
    that took you straight to a good place to live.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves.
He poured great draughts of water down parched throats;
    the starved and hungry got plenty to eat.

Some of you were locked in a dark cell,
    cruelly confined behind bars,
Punished for defying God’s Word,
    for turning your back on the High God’s counsel—
A hard sentence, and your hearts so heavy,
    and not a soul in sight to help.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He led you out of your dark, dark cell,
    broke open the jail and led you out.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves;
He shattered the heavy jailhouse doors,
    he snapped the prison bars like matchsticks!

Some of you were sick because you’d lived a bad life,
    your bodies feeling the effects of your sin;
You couldn’t stand the sight of food,
    so miserable you thought you’d be better off dead.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He spoke the word that healed you,
    that pulled you back from the brink of death.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves;
Offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
    tell the world what he’s done—sing it out!

Some of you set sail in big ships;
    you put to sea to do business in faraway ports.
Out at sea you saw God in action,
    saw his breathtaking ways with the ocean:
With a word he called up the wind—
    an ocean storm, towering waves!
You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out;
    your hearts were stuck in your throats.
You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk,
    you didn’t know which end was up.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He quieted the wind down to a whisper,
    put a muzzle on all the big waves.
And you were so glad when the storm died down,
    and he led you safely back to harbor.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves.
Lift high your praises when the people assemble,
    shout Hallelujah when the elders meet!

God turned rivers into wasteland,
    springs of water into sunbaked mud;
Luscious orchards became alkali flats
    because of the evil of the people who lived there.
Then he changed wasteland into fresh pools of water,
    arid earth into springs of water,
Brought in the hungry and settled them there;
    they moved in—what a great place to live!
They sowed the fields, they planted vineyards,
    they reaped a bountiful harvest.
He blessed them and they prospered greatly;
    their herds of cattle never decreased.
But abuse and evil and trouble declined
    as he heaped scorn on princes and sent them away.
He gave the poor a safe place to live,
    treated their clans like well-cared-for sheep.

Good people see this and are glad;
    bad people are speechless, stopped in their tracks.
If you are really wise, you’ll think this over—
    it’s time you appreciated God’s deep love.
~ Psalm 107, MSG ~
(Emphasis, my own)

There’s something in the internet world called “click bait.” One of UrbanDictionary.com's top definitions describes it as, "When a news article or link has a provocative title in order to get you to click on it."  To be certain, it is a tactic that increases readership and attention.  It also contributes to stories "trending" or "going viral."

In the disability world, "provocative" equals stories of beating the odds, obstacles overcome, or impossible situations with a feel-good happy ending.  Miracle cures, waking from comas, huge charitable funds raised, amazing jobs done by the cognitively delayed, homecoming kings and queens -- all of these are the types that generate a groundswell of interest.

With the popularity of such prominent postings, it's easy for the average person to feel glossed-over by the world as a whole.  We can feel insignificant, unimportant, just tiny worthless cogs in a bigger machine.

Those feelings deceive us!  In reality, everybody has a story to tell, and God wants those stories shared.  For those walking with Jesus, He wants the tales of His never-ending goodness and faithfulness told.  For those pushing Him away, He wants the reports of His justice and mercy known.

Has it ever occurred to you that the LORD has given you a platform through your remarkable child to tell the world of His activity?  

Think of who you once were before God used your son or daughter to transform you.  If you are even the slightest bit like me, THAT is a story to tell!  Even as a Christian woman, I had much more selfish expectations and ambitions.  Jesus didn't have full occupancy on the throne of my heart.  First through my son, then later through my daughters, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort increased my tenderness and love for others.  He transformed me into more of a selfless servant than the pretentious taker I had been.

Think of the times you have seen the miraculous movement of your Maker because of your child.  I could and have written about times where my allergic, Aspie daughter was saved from certain tragedy because of no other explanation than Divine intervention.  I have told of God's perfect timing in allowing our son to have relentless troubles with his hemophilia just long enough to clear the hurdle of government approval for aid.  The issues suddenly halted after paperwork was filed and he was anointed by fellow friends in Christ.  Medical bills and joblessness have left us standing at the edge of a financial cliff, only to have Jehovah Jireh provide through anonymous funds arriving at the exact time they were needed.  These are amazing God-sightings that need to be shared!

Think even of the times you disobeyed God in life's storms and made life more difficult for yourself.  I often tell people, including my children, of a situation where I charged ahead with a situation without even consulting the Lord on the matter.  In the end, it was ugly and contentious, landing both myself and my family in a place we would rather not be.  If I had taken the matter to Jesus in prayer before jumping in, I likely would have heard Him tell me not to get involved.  That entire experience burned an indelible example on my brain, reminding me never to repeat that same awful mistake.

These are the stories that need to be told again and again, especially since they put the spotlight on the only One who should be center stage!  They affirm the reality of God in our midst.  They buttress the Truth shared in His Word.  These are the tales that stick with our neighbors, families, friends, and community members, simply because they know us.  They bring honor to Jesus and strengthen the faith of other believers.

Your personal narrative may not go viral like "click bait," but it has immeasurably more lasting value.  It is your irrefutable report of what God is doing in your life.  He doesn't move in your circumstances only for you to keep it to yourself!  He knows that what the world needs now is the encouraging hope of a life transformed by the power of the "Lord of the impossible situation."  You carry that message with you wherever you may go.

PRAY:  Holy Spirit, awaken our minds to a new awareness of when You want us to share our stories.  Move us to tell of Your goodness ten times more than we share our complaints.

~ Barb Dittrich

3 comments:

  1. You bless me each time I read your posts. I am often in the place you write about. Thank you for helping me to get to another day. God bless.

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