Recently, I received a thank you note in the mail. You know...one of those folded pieces of paper with ink all over the inside? A real piece of mail! Nothing electronic or fancy. And, a thank you note! It was as if "double-sided old-fashioned" had showed up at my doorstep. I was so excited that I couldn't wait to read it. The message was simple, pleasant, and to the point. However, because I am a serial (no pun intended!) cereal box reader - meaning I will read everything including the text on a box of Rice Krispies - I flipped the card over to the back cover. As is common with these ancient forms of communication, they are often donated by a charity trying to get your attention with a logo on the back. In this case, the charity in question was an animal rescue organization. Their catchy title?
"I found kittens! What do I do?"
Now, even your local five-year-old child would be able to answer that question. I found myself laughing and wishing - especially in springtime, a.k.a. "Kitten Season" - that I had a pile of kittens to discover. The point being, of course, that it doesn't take a genius to realize that if someone like me, who used to diaper her stuffed animals as a child instead of dolls, found kittens anywhere, that I would end up with new furry friends that lived in my house. Before you know it, I'd be drowning in tuna flavored everything. Think: Starbucks By the Sea...something like that.
This, of course, was Saturday morning. Saturday night, my husband and I found ourselves in the evening service at Capital Christian Center just like any other typical weekend. But, my mind still fresh with delusions of running a kitty paradise, Pastor Dave's message about "Miracles of Hope" struck a deep chord. The core of his message was this: To exist in a world where we can find help getting back up if we are down, "Hope" (the solution) needs a "Person" (you or me), and that "Person" needs God and a "Plan" (God's will). And then, ladies and gentlemen, the proverbial lightbulb went "blink": How often is it that we would never have a moment's doubt about rescuing others (in the previous case, kittens), yet when God extends a gracious hand our way to pull us out of the muck, we find ourselves asking the same unnecessary question, "What do I do?"
On paper, it's easy to agree that the obvious answer would be "whatever God wanted." Academically and even philosophically, it's not that difficult to understand that the Great Almighty knows better than we do. So, we should trust His road-map on our respective journeys. Yet when the metaphorical boat comes around for the "umpteenth" time to rescue you from your flood, it's not so easy to readily accept the help, is it? Think about it this way. A kitten in distress does not question where it's next meal comes from or the loving stroke of a kind rescuer. Very often, as Pastor Dave pointed out, "fear, pride, and denial" are the only three factors standing in our way from accepting a surprise meal from a meals ministry if our family is in need, a friend stopping by just to check in, assistance if we're looking for a job, or any other common example.
The solution? According to Pastor Dave's sermon, the answer is quite blunt: Stop trying to play God and control the plans He has for you. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
The glue that ties it all together? Trust. Just like that kitten who doesn't question twice the sudden source of comfort in a meal or warm place to sleep when rescued, how simple would our lives be if we were quick to accept God's offered grace in His outline for our lives? That kind of answered "Hope" would still be a miracle in our lives, but it just might have a chance at becoming a kind of miracle that's purrrfectly common place.
from Miracles of Hope, April 22-23, 2017