I originally found this back in ’08, when 2nd Cup was still by email only. I have no idea who was reading it back then. I was still healing, myself, so it might’ve been as much for me as it was for anyone else.
Anyway, you have all known Babycakes from the beginning. She found this yesterday and sent it to me. God knows what He’s doing, and why and when. So–here’s an old guest article by Ron Rose from the archives of 2nd Cup of Coffee.
Do you hear something like, “Ohhhh, did you have a bad day?”
Then, does some voice deep within you answer, “Yes, it was horrible, thanks for always being there for me?”
“Eat as much as you want … we’re here to help.”
I know that when you’re stressed and threatened, you may not find refuge in a stack of Oreos, but everyone finds refuge somewhere.
Where do you find it? In food, television, shopping, sports, or a visa card? Perhaps you’re like me, struggling with finding refuge inside the resources of your own mind? “After all, if I just think about it more, concentrate harder, and search deeper I can figure it out, myself.”
Well, this weekend the preacher spoke simple words, but the Spirit of God convicted me. Instead of choosing God as my refuge, I’ve slipped into choosing my own creative abilities and strategies.
I find myself praying … “Please, God! Do this! Do it now! Please.”
Well, I repent! I’m turning to a better choice. I choose God as my refuge. He is my source of strength and help.
Now, my prayer is, “Please God! (with no comma!) No matter what happens I want to please You.” It’s a faith step. “Thank you, God, for being sooo close, sooo faithful, and sooo understanding.”
That little comma is more than a subtle difference. It’s a total turn around … It’s a sign of personal choice … a mark of repentance.
J.W. had accepted his need for surgery. It was serious. The surgeons were about to begin the process of attaching his lungs to his chest wall. Shirley, his wife, was anxious and consumed with apprehension and fear.
She was praying … “Please, God” “We want J.W. back home, Please . . .”
Her preacher suggested that she pray, “Turn J.W over to God and ask God to help you accept whatever happens.”
“I just couldn’t do that,” Shirley said. “At that time it felt like I would be letting him die if I prayed that prayer, as if I had some control over our circumstances. In my mind, I felt like I would be betraying him.”
It was late in the evening when the Doctors actually performed the surgery. Shirley remembers, “I was the only one around when they discovered J.W. had been hooked up backwards to some vital machine. My husband was now in critical condition and could die and he was in so much pain that he kept pushing me away. Nothing the doctors did was bringing any relief. J.W. was in serious trouble and I felt totally useless. I was just in their way.” “I left the room and wandered across the hallway and into the nearby stairway. I simply could not bear to see him suffer any more. I now realized that just like I was in the doctor’s way, I was also in God’s way. At that moment I turned my husband over to the Lord. I stood in that dark stairwell all alone, scared, and in tears. I finally prayed in faith that God’s will be done, regardless.”
It was a holy moment for her. “I felt like God put his arms on my shoulders. All my fears and burdens were lifted away. I found all the help and strength I needed. My prayer had changed. It became, “I don’t want to get in the way, Lord, I just want to please you, whatever happens.”
When Shirley walked back into that hospital room, J.W. looked up and smiled. While God was lifting Shirley’s burdens, he was relieving J.W.’s pain. As she held J.W.’s hand and put a cool cloth on his head, she thanked God for his fingerprints that night and for his eternal refuge.
Do you find yourself praying … “Please, God” more than “Please God?”
Where is your refuge? When you get stressed or threatened, where do you go?
Faith cries out, “God is faithful.” He is the perpetual source of help and strength. So, the question of the day is: Do you want his help and strength?
It’s your choice.
Well, 2nd Cup friend, there it is – a blast from the past. The names are different, but we’ve walked those same darkened hospital halls.
We’ve been there and done that.
And we’ve both done our share of switching from, “PLEASE, GOD!” to, “Please God.” From bargaining and the tantrums (“God! Come ON! You’ve GOT to MAKE THIS HAPPEN RIGHT NOW! YOU KNOW YOU DO!”) to a calm acceptance that goes beyond mere words to actually feeling inside, “Lord, I’m Yours and this whole situation is Yours to use as You know best. I am here. Nothing else matters. If by staying I can bring joy and strength to others, I’m good with that and I’ll do my best. And if by me coming to be with You I can smooth the path out for others and help turn some folks back to Jesus, that’s okay, too. I belong to You. I want what You want.”
One of the most priceless lessons from the past 20 years has been that, all too often, the healing you need is firmly attached to somebody else’s faith and obedience. God hasn’t been mean or absent-minded or careless. He’s been sittin’ on ready, poised to instantly answer within split seconds as soon as whoever is at the other end of your faith switches . . .
. . . from “PLEASE, GOD!” to, “Please God.”
© D. Dean Boone, September 2014