Monday, July 8, 2013

Miracles of Ordinary Time…

Sometimes I relegate miracles to only the monumental ones. You know the ones I have on my mind: The miraculous turning of loaves and fish to feed thousands and for the blind to receive sight. Jesus came, he touched, and lame people walked and even the dead were brought back to life. Yet, I am reminded that our God does more miracles that go unnoticed. That is, of course, unless God Himself brings it to our attention. And that, my friends, is what He did with me on one specific morning. You see, I needed (although I was not aware I needed it) to understand how my belief about how God operates in our time sphere was shortchanging His power. I did not even realize I was doing it. God taught this to me through the miracles of ordinary time.

Before I begin to share with you the details of this story I want to remind you that it is not unheard of for God to do such miracles. Joshua had such an experience which is recorded for us in Joshua 10. Now what I experienced was not as dramatic as Joshua but it is exactly what I needed at that precise time. God deals with each one according to what our needs are. I don’t know how He does it but He does. Anyway back to the story.

The background to my lesson is this. The hospital chaplain who I assist was going on vacation. The hospital only has one full time chaplain and I volunteer two days a week for about 3 ½ hours. Each week we try to visit each new admission at least once in the 215 acute care facility and at least once a week for those who are staying in the 49 bed long term care hospital. We are available for prayers, spiritual direction and support for patients, volunteers and staff. It’s no small job. Anyway, the last time Brother Dennis was out for a couple of weeks, I tried to come in to help out on other days in addition to my routine. Wow – I was worn out! Plumb tuckered out. With an early morning job four days a week, plus Emmanuel Connections projects plus work to start St Peters --- WOW. Like I said – but it bears a repeating- I was plumb tuckered out!

So, I’m sure you can understand that when Brother Dennis told me I did not have to try to come in extra time while he was out, I quickly responded with an AMEN! Yes sir, I LIKED that plan. I would stick to my normal days and be on call in case of emergency. Yes, I can do that. No problem.

BUT something changed. As it turns out, my plan was NOT God’s plan. He chose to make Himself clear through a miracle of ordinary time.

It was Friday. The last day of my 4-day work week at the Country Store. On those days I get up at 2:45 am so that I can be at the store no later than 3:20 to start cooking an array of tasty breakfast morsels for the starving – and I mean STARVING construction workers as they pass through the village on their way to the plant in the neighboring county.

God gently woke me that Friday. As I rolled over in my bed glancing at the clock, my eyes fell upon the bright numbers… 3:00 am. OH NO! I forgot to set my alarm! I had to rush – and rush I did. As I was dashing to the car, another car passed by slowly. Not many drivers on the road in our area at that time of the morning yet I kept on my way. As I was nearing the store, the other driver pulled into the parking lot. I kept right on, passing by the store. Finding a place to turn around, I did so and returned to the Cabin where I could watch from a distance. The driver appeared to be working on his car. Was he washing the windows at this hour? I just wish he would move on! Seconds ticked away and they seemed like minutes – even hours! How LONG is he going to stay? I have to get into the store and start cooking or there will be no morning biscuits ready when the store opens. In this day and age, I just cannot go open the store with a stranger nearby. What if he was one with evil intentions? No one else was awake that hour to hear me if I needed to yell- even if I could yell. Just as I was about to call the owner, the man drove off. Thanking God, I hurried off to the store to start the morning duties. WOW I was really late. It was 3:40 by now. 

Although there was no way I would be able to complete all the cooking before the store open, at least something would be ready.

Rather than use my mental energy agonizing over not having enough time, I kept my focus on God asking Him for His peace. I kept telling God, “I know You are with me and although I will not be able to present my work as complete when the time comes to open, it would be alright.” I just kept slowly and methodically completing each task as if I was on schedule from the beginning. I began thanking God for everything accomplished… coffee made, corn dogs finished…90 biscuits ready… What? Before the doors opened – everything was finished! Everything! I could not have done that in my own strength. God had done something. I am not sure how exactly He did it – but everything was ready for the store to open.

I was speechless because I KNEW something extraordinary has occurred. Then His voice within me said…”With me all things are possible. I have control of time. In my strength, you won’t grow weary but tasks have to be at my bidding and my timing. It is I who accomplish it through you.”

All I could do was to ponder in amazement over what has just happened.

There was a reason God chose to teach me that lesson on that Friday. He just doesn't do such things for fun. He has a purpose. He needed to teach me that I was limiting His power.

My next Divine instruction was to call the Hospital Chaplain and tell him I would come in each day while he was gone to visit the critical care units at a minimum. If God showed me how He can work through me with ordinary cooking tasks – how much more would He do through me with the sick, the hurting and those in need. In His strength and power – my energy level will be able to sustain me. If trying to do it in my own power, I would not be able.

The Task Ahead of You...Is Never Greater Than the Power Behind You

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