Monday, January 30, 2012

Seeing Toys for What They Are

Eliza received an Amazon gift card for Christmas and still has not spent it. She’s also been saving her allowance for some time, and a few weeks ago, I mentioned that she could keep saving and then combine her allowance with her gift card and get something nice, like an American Girl Doll, in a few months.

Last night she asked if she could use her gift card to buy some books for her Kindle or mp3’s, and I told her she ought to save that money for something bigger. But thinking better of it this morning, I told her that she was free to spend that card on whatever she wanted.

She said, “Well, I’ve been thinking about the American Girl doll, and I already have one that I don’t play with that much. And I think that I would get that new doll and it would be really exciting for a little bit and then I’d just end up laying it down with my other one and not using it. So I’m not sure I want to save up and get that.”

There are grownups who haven’t realized what Eliza has learned, that most of the time the toys we buy never satisfy or entertain us for very long. Many have not realized that “the wanting” and “the buying” are 90% of the fun, and the 10% left of “the having” wears off really quickly.  And she realizes that while she has really enjoyed her American Girl doll, and still plays with it fairly often, one is enough and two would be too much.

When I grow up, I want to be wise like her.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oh Me of Little Faith

I was exhausted this morning at church (and after) and was looking forward to lunch with Diane and two friends. As I was walking Psalter’s friend Aleyah home before we left for lunch, a man on the street called out, “Pastor! I need to speak with you.” He occasionally comes  to the Wednesday night dinners at our church, and he had a rent situation – $55 due by tomorrow and no steady work. I knew that our church could not pay the $55, and I didn’t have work around my house for him to earn it. So I told him that “all I could do” was pray with him, and he and his girlfriend and I prayed there in the street. Yeah, that’s all I can do. I can’t fix it but I can go to the God of the universe and ask Him to do something. All I can do.

In my heart it was sort of like a Hail Mary, the type you throw in football not the Catholic prayer. I just tossed that prayer up, hoped it would be caught, and went on my way to lunch.

Three hours later I was in the yard playing with the kids and the man walked by and said, “You’ll never guess what happened. A woman called me this afternoon and has work for me tomorrow night!”

And honestly, I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I did believe it, but I was amazed that God had heard my prayer, as feeble as it was.

The only remaining catch was that his landlord wasn’t  going to give him until Tuesday morning (when he would get paid) to get the money. So we clasped hands again on the sidewalk and asked God to move in his landlord’s heart. Sadly, I’m not sure that my faith was much more confident this time than in our first prayer time, but I knew that God can do a lot with a little from me. I’m not downplaying the role of faith in our prayers, but I think that the power of our prayers has way more to do with the One that we pray to than whether our faith is up to snuff that day. My confidence isn’t in the answer, it’s in the fact that He hears and He knows.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Reassured by Faithfulness

This has been a "wedding weekend" for me and Diane. Friday evening I officiated the marriage of two young leaders in our church that we have grown to love. Saturday we attended the wedding of a wonderful friend, and then Saturday night we went to a wedding shower.

As an introvert, I was absolutely wiped out after the two weddings (and Thursday night rehearsal), and when I saw the line of cars outside the wedding shower, I wanted to turn around and go home. Crowds of people, even people that I love, are not the easiest for me. I don't really know where to go, who to talk to, and if my tank isn't full, small talk is not easy.

I'm so glad that I stayed.

What I hadn't realized was that while weddings are a wonderful thing to be a part of, two in a row had me a little overwhelmed. The promises and vows were beautiful, personally written. Promises to always love, always cherish, always pray for one another. Promises that I longed to live up to in my marriage, but also knew how frail my will could be when it came to the lofty call of marriage. I was feeling that frailty.

But at the shower, Diane and I were one of two married couples there under the age of 50, and the men and women at that house loved the Lord and had been married for years and years.

As each gift was opened, the couple giving it could share a word of advice or blessing. While they each shared wonderful things, both wise and funny (the best being "don't fry bacon naked"), it was their presence that most affected me. It was refreshing to be surrounded by godly men and women who had been through the good and hard times of marriage and had emerged with laughter, love, and wisdom.

I felt surrounded by faithfulness, reassured and lifted by faithfulness. Surrounded by love. The new commitments of Friday and Saturday inspired me; the lasting commitments of Saturday night reassured and anchored me.