Love and Faithfulness at Work

Chee! Chee!

A piercing distress call pulled my attention to an area of the parking lot where three little girls giggled. Their father drew them away from the mother bird. As others walked by her nest, the beautiful killdeer spread her wings and puffed up her feathers in a protective bluff.

A few feet away, I looked among the rounded decorative stones where she stood guard. Sure enough. She had laid a clutch of eggs, almost invisible in their surroundings. Settling back on her eggs, she also became nearly invisible.

As the weeks went by, intruders frustrated her efforts to see to the safety of her eggs. Severe thunderstorms battered her. Yet nothing could drive her away. Nothing could pressure her into abandoning her special work. Because of her faithful love, four baby killdeer came into the world. She continued vigil over them until they were ready to go out in this world on their own. Once again, she had completed God’s plan for that season of her life.

When Jesus entered public ministry, no doubt he felt battered, too. His mother and brothers heard how he worked day and night with barely time to eat or sleep. Worried about him, they arrived to take him home. Instead he continued his ministry to the poor and needy. Important religious leaders scorned him, tried to trick him, insulted him and plotted to kill him. Yet he refused to run and hide.

When he told his closest friends that he would be betrayed and die on a cross at Jerusalem, they didn’t understand. One tried to talk him out of it, but no one could drive him off course. Nothing could pressure him into abandoning the special work he had come to do.

With all the faithful love in his heart, he held true to God’s plan to pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind. He knew that, only through his death on the cross would we ever know the blessing of eternity in heaven with God. God, who loves us more than we could think or imagine.

When life batters us, we have a choice. We can yield to well-meaning arguments. We can run and hide. Or we can refuse to be pressured off course. Instead, we can pray for the strength to be a blessing and hold true to God’s plan for this particular season of our lives.

Focus: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you.” ~ Proverbs 3:3, New International Version.

How about you? Like that little mother killdeer, are you struggling—or have you struggled–with a particular season in your life?

(This blog post is adapted from a June 2005 piece published by Together in Faith in my ten-year column, Love With Shoes On.)

A Prayer Not Forgotten

“Beth, you’re going blind.”

My optometrist’s words sank like a stone in my seventeen-year-old heart. He must have caught my utter dismay because he quickly went on. “Don’t worry. We may be able to stop, even reverse your condition a little, with something new.”

The “something new” he referred to were contact lenses. My heart sank further. How could a high school senior afford anything that cost the equivalent of a college semester’s tuition? My parents couldn’t afford them either.

“I know that,” the doctor said, “but, Beth, I can’t just let this happen. I will pay for the lenses. When you graduate and get a job, you can pay me back a little each month.”

I left the doctor’s office, overwhelmed by his kindness and shaken by the news. I squeezed back my tears and prayed. Lord, you can do anything. Please heal my eyes so that I can see without glasses!

The contact lenses arrived and did stop the loss of my sight. I was so thrilled, I forget all about my prayer, but God did not.

Thirty-seven years later, I raced into the waiting room to share the good news with my husband. “I can see! I can see!”

Back in the examining room, Jim and I learned that the new Lasik surgery had taken the vision in my right eye from 20-400 (legally blind) to 20-25.  A year later, surgery on my left eye had similar results.

As we left the doctor’s office, we marveled at all God had brought together to deliver my miracle. Someone discovered the laser beam. Another invented a machine to harness it for eye surgery. Doctors had to be trained, and I was sure it was no coincidence that my eye doctor was one of eight in the United States currently performing the new surgery.

How precious our prayers are in God’s sight. He responds to them all. To some he quickly says, “Yes!” To others, and for good reason, he must say, “No.” To still others, he says, “Wait.” However, when that right time arrives–it might be years later–he delivers the perfect answer.

Focus: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers” Philippians 4:6 (The Living Bible).

How different our world would be if, instead of worrying, we brought our needs to God and trusted him to deliver the right answer at the right time.

How about You? Do you agree? Why or why not?

(This blog post adapted from a March 2000 piece published by Together in Faith in my ten-year column, Love With Shoes On.)

What Amazing Love!

I’ll never forget the evening Jim and I watched Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” at our local movie theater. As we exited with other patrons, no one uttered a word! What we had just witnessed on the screen–the unvarnished horror Jesus’ sufferings–had stunned us to silence.

As I recall the movie’s content, all I can say is, “What amazing love God has for us!”

That Jesus would willingly suffer such a horrible death penalty for our sin. That he would choose to die on the cross in our place so all we have to do is admit we’re sinners and accept God’s free gift to wipe away our debt. What amazing and compassionate kindness!

Some may say, “Nothing in life comes that easy.”

Easy? For us, yes.

But far from easy for the Son of God who died in our place . . . as Gibson’s well-researched film makes so very clear.

How about you? Have you seen Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”? How did it affect you?