Several years ago my husband and I traveled to the outskirts of Lima, Peru, to witness firsthand the impact of a food program we were supporting. We had spent a long day with the local pastor passing out food and praying with impoverished families. Just as it was getting dark the pastor begged us to pray with one more family. Tired and uncomfortable about being in this potentially dangerous area at night, we reluctantly agreed to one more house.
As we approached the dilapidated shack, a beautiful woman in her sixties, flung open the half-hung wooden door. This joyful lovely woman in her spotless light-blue dress was such a contrast to her drab surroundings. As we entered the single room structure, my attention was immediately drawn to the hard-packed dirt floors. If dirt floors could be clean, this floor was unquestionably the “clean dirt floor” winner. The woman explained that four generations of women lived here in her home. She introduced us to her mother, daughter and her daughter’s newborn baby girl.
Tears began to stream down my cheeks, I tried to play it off and pretend that I was celebrating the birth of her daughter’s new baby. You know: tears of joy. The real reason for the tears was the pain I was feeling thinking about the impoverished life this poor baby was born into.
I walked over to our sweet hostess and laid a hand on her shoulder. “Can I pray for you?
“Pray for me?” She smiled sweetly.
“Yes,” I said.
“I’d actually like to pray for you,” she said.
“For me?” I said bewildered. I was blindsided, thinking, “why would she want to pray for me?”
Before I could catch myself I said it: “Why?”
She smiled, not offended by my question at all, and said, “Because you have way more things to distract you from our God than I do.”
I hit my knees to that clean dirt floor as if God Himself had pushed me to the ground.
“Please, please pray for me” I said.
The woman laid her hands on my shoulders and begged God on my behalf to not allow me to get distracted by the things of my world. It truly was one of the best prayers anyone has ever spoken over me. Kneeling there on that dirt floor, I was uncomfortable and distraction free and exactly where God wanted me to be.
It was as if the Lord were saying, “Shelene that little baby belongs to me. That baby will be just fine. There’s only ONE thing that baby needs to get right. Her surroundings don’t matter, her relationship with me does.”
- WE NEED HONEST EVALUATION TO REMOVE BLINDERS
Usually we are blind to our ruts. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were so far from where they should have been in their relationship with God, it actually became their mission to kill Jesus. They had blinders on to God’s message of love. Too often we are blinded by our cultural and institutional biases. Until I was sent to my knees on that dirt floor, I was delusional as to what I was doing there on that Monday in Lima, Peru. I thought I was going to pray for this poor woman, who lived in impoverished surroundings. But to God, her physical surroundings didn’t matter, she could see what I could not, that material distractions could choke out what God wanted to do in my life. Removing blinders takes honest evaluation, and without God’s help most of us are incapable of properly evaluating our blind spots.
Lord, reveal my blind spots. Expose to me areas of my life that need to be relinquished surrendered or changed.
- GIVE GOD PERMISSION TO MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE
Our status-quo can be very comfortable. I can’t think of a single apostle or hero of the faith that was living a comfortable life. To the contrary, every person who made a major impact in their world for God operated from a place of extreme discomfort. Too often I get so wrapped up in my comfort-driven world that I miss out on something God wants to show me. Ways he wants to stretch my faith. We need give HIM PERMISSION TO TAKE US ON UNCOMFORTABLE JOURNEYS. Sometimes God wants me uncomfortable kneeling on a dirt floor and focusing on what he wants to do in my life. It is in those uncomfortable situations that He can begin to erase our blind spots. It is in those challenging moments that we can focus on what really matters and maybe get a glimpse how God wants us live a life of loving and ministering to others.
Lord, I give you permission to take me on uncomfortable journeys in my ministry.
- YOU’VE GOT TO JUMP
Once we let God take our cultural and intellectual blinders off, and once we have given God permission to make us uncomfortable, it’s time to JUMP.
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Peter jumped. That is what I love about that story, the fact that Peter actually jumped out of the boat. By jumping, he had the amazing opportunity to do something that no one in the history of the world had ever done; walk on water! Peter took that leap right out of the comfort and safety of the boat to go be with his Lord. Are you missing out on ‘walk on water’ moments in your life because you are too afraid to break the status quo and jump? Perhaps it’s time to remove the blinders, get uncomfortable and jump into an adventure God wants to take with you; your own ‘walk on water’ adventure.
Lord, give me the motivation and courage to jump into the adventure you have for my life and ministry.