As I was with Moses I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you. Joshua 1:5b
Shirley Temple died this week. That was sad for me because I adored her when I was a child. As soon as I heard the news songs and scenes filled my mind, but one stuck. I don’t remember which movie it’s from but precious, precocious little Shirley struts around singing “When I Grow Up.” Eventually the butler, Arthur Treacher I think, starts singing it too. So there it was, “when I grow up, in a year or two or three.”I suppose that one stuck with me because I’ve just decided, at the tender age of fifty-six, what I want to do when I grow up. It’s a great idea but I don’t know if it’s God’s will so for now, I’ll bloom where I’m planted. But bloom how? The what I want to do is finally pretty clear but who do I want to be? You’d think that I would know by now and I do, sort of, but suddenly that became much clearer as well.
Call it the day of the awkward conversation. Early in the day I was involved in a discussion that included a woman I know who prides herself on being a “good Christian.” I love her and therefore do not want to cast aspersions on her so I will use two quotes to sum up her attitude throughout the conversation.
“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when he hates all the same people you do.” Anne Lamont
“I love your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Ghandi
Listening as she spoke I prayed, “Oh Lord, please don’t let me sound or look like that.” My goal is to draw people to Christ not push, judge or scare them away.
A bit later I received an email from an old acquaintance. It included the quote about the woman the devil hates. The one who when her feet hit the ground in the morning the devil says, “Oh no! She’s up.”There it is. That is who I want to be when I grow up. So it was settled and I was so grateful to God for the enlightenments. My day felt great. Enter the next message from another person. I suppose it was meant to be cute and funny but it wasn’t. Instead the passive aggressive nature of it hit right between the eyes. It almost knocked me over. I felt myself wanting to give into to some serious self-pity. The Enemy would have loved that, right?
God is too good to let me sit there. In the exact moment that I wanted to give in and whine, God placed an image of my sweet friend Tara in my mind. I remembered her sharing a story of how someone she loves was blindsided by fear after taking a serious leap of faith. Hm… is that God allowing cruelty? No! If we look at it as an if/then, if you step out in faith the challenge will come, then maybe… But thinking of Tara in light of my own weak moment I realized how different it truly is. God’s love never fails.Those leap of faith moments or decisions to be the best witness/servant we can be bring huge grace and love into our lives. That grace and love gives us the strength to sustain during the moments of attack. So the if/then would go like this, if an attack is coming, God has already shown up in love with the mercy, grace and strength to see us through.
I love Tara and I am always grateful for her but yesterday God made her a little more precious to me. She served as a reminder that God does indeed provide. His mercy is new every morning and his love never fails.