A week ago I spoke on Jesus healing the man born blind at the Stirring (you can listen HERE if interested;) & to be honest, it was one of those sermons where I felt like God was really speaking directly to me.
I felt challenged and shaped and pushed in my own journey and walk…. & I hated it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it when God works on me through the sermon preparation process… but deep down, I really hate it. It’s tough and stretches me to apply the very words I challenge others to live by.
A while back I prayed a prayer (that I’m now partially regretting). I prayed, “God never let me preach what I’m not willing to live.” Good prayer. Good motto. Super tough to live.
But really, I am painfully grateful for this process.
God uses it to take me to the very depths of a passage or lesson or word that he desires to bring to the people. & It forces me to be a part of the struggle and joy and pain. And for that, I am truly thankful and a better person.
And so- sometimes this process, this journey, these knock, down, drag out sermons leave me stuck on a verse or lesson that God is teaching me.
& Here’s where I’m stuck now >>> John 9:1.
“As he went along, he SAW a man blind from birth.”
This is a super short sentence. Making a pretty simple statement. With an incredibly profound implication.
He saw a man overlooked, lost, forgotten by the rest of the world. He saw a man who likely sat in the same place, every day, surrounded by the same community.
But… Jesus saw.
He noticed something everyone else overlooked. Passed by. Forgot about.
Recently I’ve been thinking about how a lot of my issues or challenges in life have less to do with the “stuff” that happens to me but more about the vision through which I SEE the “stuff.”
That it’s not necessarily about the “stuff” but about my perspective in the middle of the stuff. It’s about my vision, perspective, and focus.
This past weekend I attended a moms conference in Nashville, TN. It was great spending time with some leaders and being challenged by some incredible speakers and breakout sessions.
But here’s the one talk that really stuck with me… It was simple. & short. & incredibly profound. It was the testimony of a young girl, Jen Barrick.
She told of how a devastating car wreck left her with a severe brain injury causing her to only have short term memory. It was a pure miracle she was survived. But here’s the kicker… she is using (and seeing) her tragic circumstance as an OPPORTUNITY.
An opportunity to live fully in each day. An opportunity to share the love and joy and peace found in Christ.
How odd… a teenage girl finding such joy in such a challenging situation. If it was me (a full on grown up)… I’d be angry, confused, hurt. And if I’m really honest… I’d probably blame God. Not Jen (a teenager!) and her family. It has taught them more about living fully in each moment, in each day they are blessed with it. It is teaching them to be thankful and find joy in the little things.
It has helped them to SEE.
See the thespyexpert.com joy and blessings and opportunity that surround each day.
Where I see difficulty, pain, & trials… Jen saw opportunity. An opportunity to fully live and speak of the JOY she has. Her injuries left with a clear disability and she saw it as an opportunity to be different, to embrace who she is and who God is calling her to be.
Her mother shared how often times when she is overwhelmed or confused about the challenges/trials/pain in life, Jen will jokingly tell her how her brain gets in the way and how she might need a brain injury to help her trust God better.
Jen can’t remember much about her past or present. & that “challenge” seen by many has instead allowed her to live more fully in the very moment she is experiencing and more easily trust God each step of the way.
Each day is a new day. A new OPPORTUNITY for love, hope, and joy.
This was such an incredible challenge for me. I too, like Jen’s mother, let my brain get in the way of trusting God. I dwell on my past. I worry about my future. And I am so distracted by this worry and fear that I can’t fully live in the present.
This worry and fear and pain blurs my vision. It keeps me from SEEING the opportunities that lie in each day, each person I am blessed to encounter.
So this is my current challenge and prayer: to SEE.
To see people, situations, challenges not as obstacles in my journey but as opportunities. As the very things God is using in my life to mold and shape and form me into the person he is calling me to be.
However, learning to see isn’t easy. It takes time and patience and lots and lots of change of plans. So that’s also my prayer… for an extra dose of time and patience & patience & patience. Oh and did I mention PATIENCE;) ?!