Friday, May 20, 2005

Weekly Word for May 20 - 27, 2005

Weekly Word - May 20, 2005

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature - because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees . . .”
(1 Samuel 16: 7a)

The other day, I ran into a woman who I have known for quite a number of years. She has been an acquaintance, that I would see here and there - once in a while. I always liked her! I liked who she seemed to be, and what seemed to be in her heart. She had gone through a divorce about the same time that I did, and I knew that she had worked very hard to take care of her children while being a single mom. Her own struggles seemed to be somewhat like mine - - - and I felt like I understood her just a little bit.

As we talked, I asked her if she had re-married, if she had found someone else. Her disappointment showed, as she told me she hadn’t. “How can I?” she asked. “I work all day, and when I go home I have so much work - - - there just isn’t enough time.” “And who would want a woman my age anyways . . .” she asked.

“Do not look at his appearance . . . For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16: 7b)

As we continued to talk, I started to hear more about her hurts - about how her husband had betrayed her - leaving her alone and heartbroken. She then told about her church, and how she had turned to them for help and comfort. But they too - - - had betrayed her, siding with her husband and turning against her. As I listened, I really didn’t know what to say. She knew that God hadn’t turned his back on her - she knew that “they” were just people - - - but her heart hurt - - - and she wasn’t sure about trusting anyone . . .

I wanted to give her some hope - to say something really important that would help her - - - but all I could say was that I would be praying - hoping that things would get better. She looked at me, and then she shrugged, saying: “I know that a “church” isn’t perfect - no one is - afterall, as soon as “I” walk in the door . . .” and she laughed and turned away . . .

For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man . . . (James 3:2)

When I left my friend, I felt so sad! I knew that she was trying to make a joke about her hurts - about feeling betrayed. But, I also knew that she felt defeated - like she didn’t deserve - anything better . . .

“for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him;”
(1 Chronicles 28: 9)

Many years ago, I had been told about a woman who led a certain ministry. I had heard stories and rumors about her over the years, from a number of different friends. I really didn’t know what to think, until the day one of my friends asked if I would go to a meeting with her.

As I sat there, I saw a woman who was very beautiful. I couldn’t take my eyes off her, as she stood in front of the room, teaching about the ministry. It was a counseling ministry - and as she spoke, I found myself drawn to every word she said. Watching her, I felt like she was speaking straight to me. It was as if she were sent, straight from God, to offer hope to people who had been terribly wounded in their lives. I couldn’t help it - - - I wanted to be part of her ministry!

Over time, I found myself learning from this woman. I took seminars and also went to counseling with her. She seemed to have a gift that God had given her, to reach out and help others. But as I watched her, I realized that every word she said, everything that she did - was taken as straight from God - by those who worked with her. And somehow, that didn’t seem quite right . . .

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4: 18)

I wanted to see how this woman was just like me - human, and with faults. I knew that God’s gifts were perfect, but I also knew that “we” were not! As time went on, she became a friend, and then a very close friend. We would get together for coffee, and I started to learn about her life. When this happened, I started to learn about her “flaws”, the things that made her just like everyone else. I saw her as she was - with all her gifts and talents, as well as all her troubles and mistakes. And that’s when I really learned to care about her - - - about the “real” person that she was.

But we have this treasure - in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God - and not from ourselves.
(2 Corinthians 4: 7)

I saw “my friend” as she really was - human and with flaws. In “seeing” her, I had come to care about her even more. We prayed together, talked together, and shared a ministry together. We talked about everything! And then one day, I told her all about wanting to see her as a person - and not as “Godly” and someone who couldn’t be touched. I told her all that I saw - - - and soon - the friendship ended . . .

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
(2 Corinthians 4: 8 & 9)

The Lord had called my friend to be a minister. But first, he had called her to be - - - herself! He wanted her to be - who He had made her to be - - - someone who needed Him everyday - just like the rest of us . . .

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you . . . .” (Jeremiah 1: 5)

A few weeks ago, Ted and I were talking about our relationship, and about the time when we first started to fall in love. We had both been told by our pastor that the paths we were on - were not the same paths. We knew we loved each other, but wanted to do what was right - to be “good”. So we tried to stay away from each other, to figure out ways to “live” without the other person.

As we continued to talk, Ted then told me how he tried to find things about me, that would make him not care - “flaws” that would make him not “want” me! As he said it, I have to admit, I got a little angry! I knew that I had flaws - - - that I had a terrible temper and wasn’t always nice, that I had a mole on my chin and a scar on my face, that there were things about me - that weren’t “perfect”! They were all things that I didn’t like to look at, about myself. But then he told me that each time he would think about one of my “flaws” - he would love me even more . . .

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, . . . For Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12: 9 & 10)

In my “flaws”, my weaknesses - Ted loved me even more! He saw me just as I was, a person with needs. And in those needs, Ted and I fit together. I need him - he needs me - and we both need the Lord, everyday!

My friend who had been hurt so badly by her husband and her church - also has needs. I don’t know exactly what they are - but He does! The Lord knows how to heal her broken heart - and give her all the good things she will need - for the rest of her life . . . .

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans - to give you a future and a hope.”
(Jeremiah 29: 11)

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
(Jeremiah 29: 13)

We all have needs - we all have “flaws” that keep us needy - and reaching out to God. In those needs - we find Him! God doesn’t always take away everything that is imperfect in our lives. But He does offer us The Perfect - Himself - to be with us through it all! He is just waiting - for you to call . . .

“for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him;”

It is my prayer that you will ask Him to be with you - in your hopes and dreams - as well as when you hurt and have failed. He knows what you need - - - for the rest of your life . . .

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Perfect Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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