Have you ever read your scriptures and confessed all your sins and turned everything over to God and still you thought 'What is the use?'
Today It was my turn.
Have you ever prayed and prayed and prayed but decided 'God must not care?'
Today it was my turn.
Have you been still and quiet as a mouse, and listened, and growned, and growned and listened in silence and wondered 'Can He be there?'
If you have, it feels like it has been 'my turn' for a long time. We are not alone. In the great book of prayers God has given us it becomes quicly evident Psalmists have been there before us.
Today it was my turn.
In Psalm 123 is written just such a prayerful expression. yet we also see anticipation. Imagine a waiter in a diner that never closes, where people are not always stopping to dine but there is always something to be done for the Diner itself or those diners-past present and future.
1Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.
2Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, uintil that he have mercy upon us.
3Have mercy upon us, OLord, have mercy upon us" for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
4Our soul is exceedoingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.
Today it was my turn.
My grandmother, 'Gwen', is what her grandchildren and friends called her, Gwen battled the effects of Ploio since she was thirteen. She road horses, Connie, she married my grandfather, Charlie, or tamed him might be the correct terminology, Cheryl, for he was a mule skinner early on, a race car driver and award winning car mechanic, knew all the best fishing pools on most bends of most branches of the Brazos, Craig, played the Tennessee Flattop Box like he wrote it, Michael, and according to legend, could tattoo an elephant, Randy. Gwen bore him two daughters and ran a printing and card business. With twisted hands and feet she was able to drive a car during an accident free 70 years of driving.
She showed me how to mop a floor, wash dishes, to cream and freeze coorn I had picked and chopped and shucked, to pick, shell and freeze blackeyes I had picked, and to pick, snap, and can green beans9the contender variety).
Later she showed me how to print cards and napkins and invitations and to make cold calls on customers who still come looking for good service.
Gwen is remembered as a woman who could be counted on to either get the job done or else see to it that it was done! My granny wore army boots!(pediatric boots, really) to help her keep her balance, til Charlie, who also buttoned herbuttons, couldn't lace 'em up for her anymore, then she wore house shoes and rolled around in a wheel chair, callingt her clients with that switchboard trained silky smooth voice and manner. She was an elocutionist and speech teacher, specializing in emotive recitations, you know, known today as cowboy poetry.
Today it was my turn.
A couple of times over the years, Charismatic type missionaries had stopped by and promised her healing through prayer, a hand masseuse from Shallowater had even tried to straighten her hands and feet. Now, nobody sang Amazing Grace, Rock of Ages or Victory in Jesus, any better than Gwem did. Everybody that met her knew--they--had been uplifted by the love and grace and joy ever present at her side. Even after she outlived Charlie, or Chas as she often called him, she regularly and continually praised and thanked Jesus for her blessings. She never quit battling the effects of polio, never gained her strength, her hands and feet were never staightened after her bout, not here on Earth, anyway. But she lived on the sunny side, paid her own way, no disability checks for her. And Gwen, thank you, Jesus, Gwen and Charlie helped teach me to pray, Bill.
So everything's rosy for me right? Naw, not always, not lately, cause today it was my turn. I am not gonna give you a litany of hardships i been sailing around in. You really do not need to hear that. But I have been going into Retirement homes and shariing God's word with a goup of people living at the threshold to eternity(since 5yrs?). Some of 'em are bright eyed and sharp as a tack. Some afre able to understand more that they are able to let on, and some cannot tell me their na-a-ame! A lot of 'em have to be reminded who that guy is that comes most every week and sings and prays and reads the Bible to them, yours truly.
That is a little bit of how, I am not so sure when, but recently, I began to think 'I'm just spinning my wheels. I am not accomplishing a thing.' I even bought a new watch, it has two time keeping systems on it. An analog or sweep hands system and a digital LED system. Well almost two weeks into my wearing it the digital system up and quits. No more LED, no more stop watch, no more alarm clock, no more handy night light, no more military time. Just the three sweep hands showing the hour minutes and seconds.
For three months I have been wearing this broken watch and wondering, "Why me O Lord?" I can't even buy a decent watch! I start pestering the resident answer man, known here abouts as Dr Randy, asking many of my doubting questions, and as I recheck verses and scripture, and see the answer to one of those multitude of questions, I call Randy and excitedly, tell him of my resolution there concerning some timing of Jesus' manifestation...lo and behold as I hang up the phone and check my time piece, I notice the digital apparati are once again clicking, so to speak.
What a grand coincidence you say? Not I, and never again! For a couple of days later when I web logged about this very occurence, giving to God credit for His great providence, but thinking all the while this may be just coincidence, just as I pressed the publish button and into the blogosphere it went I looked and percieved that my LED was once again quit.
I tried batteries but to no avail, and discovered, by tinkering, the watch has bent out of shape and can't work without some extreme contortions. You might say coincidence, but I say it was a sign, a sign for me to know God was checking to see if I am paying attention. Which brings me back to the reason for my being up here today. Today it was my turn.
The next day, Saturday, after my watch's digital began to work again, at Bible study in the retirement home I am speaking to my friends about Praying in Eclipse. You know the eclipse, it is that time when all is gray and heavy, nothing seems to fit, nothing gets corrected, despite our best efforts and humility and persistence and prayer and memory of the lightness of being in God's good graces. Yes, today it was my turn.
There is a lady in th study who just started coming a week or two ago. I had learned her name is Elva. She seems very aware and alert, if a little unsure. As I finish I see she has moved from the back to up close, (is this my first altar call? I think now in retrospect, Tim) After the session I stop by to speak to her and thank her for coming, for she is milling about there in front of me noticably: You know, today it was my turn.
I ask her how her stay is going, and she says 'OK'. but she hopes to leave as soon as she is healed from a heart condition, to return to California where she was a park ranger for thirty years. So I ask her if she has family close by, and she says, a bit miffed, 'None that will claim me!' I am taken aback, a dear gentle lady ex park ranger who is not loved and adored by her family, so I pause there a little longer, sensing her frustration, and to allow her to vent. She doesn't, vent, I mean. She begins to talk about how good her experience in the home is, Randy Christopher-one of yours, and where she will go when she gets out. She is smiling calmly, though her eyes are moist and lookiing intently into my face. I turn back to the family statement and ask her what she means her family doesn't claim her?! and bluster 'Why on Earth not?!' Her smile fades into a gentle understanding and with a stoic but friendly look she asks, Do you know what they said to me when I came in here? They said, 'Now you can't go to church any more.' It is as if the Devil is tipping his glass and spilling a celebration and laughing with her family, yet here is God looking at me through Elva's reassuring eyes explaining to me that this is one reason why I am here-to help Elva specifically and others like her know that God knows them and loves them and has provided for them ahead of time and in the nick of time. He is Emet Elohim Emet; that is to say faithful and true God. from Deut 7:9Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to thousand generations.
This is key. Will God's love reach out into the generations from the starting point of you own doorway? Today it was my turn. Retirement homes ministry is in need of readers, singers, musicians, sitters of a spell and other grandchildren of all makes and kinds who love the Lord.