Molding a lump of clay

Molding a lump of clay
I am a work in progress, molded by my Maker, refined by His fire, shaped with His love. Walk the journey with me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A light at the top of the pit

Had a lot of time over the last couple of weeks to think about my sickness, other people’s sicknesses, where is God when it hurts…that kind of thing.

It’s funny in an ironic-kind of way that just when I feel God is speaking to me about doing this hospital ministry and being a vessel of healing and hope for these people in the TB ward, I get sick. And not just kind of sick, but really sick. I’m talking about coughing so hard that I vomit, and being so weak that I can hardly walk across the room. I know there are a lot worse illnesses, but I felt pretty beat up. Not exactly the kind of vessel of healing and hope that I had in mind.

But that’s just it, isn’t it. We often have in mind some kind of glorified role where we swoop in to save the day (or maybe I’m alone in these kinds of daydreams). God speaks about some new ministry opportunity, and in my head it’s all healings and salvations and the world coming to Christ. And I do believe those things are there, but most of it is a lot messier than that.

In fact, most of the mess is the one God chooses to use…in this case, me.

I just listened to an amazing sermon by Graham Cooke who was talking about wounded people used by God. He made an interesting point about being in a pit…and if you read the previous blog post you’ll see I identified myself as being in a pit of sickness.

Graham said, “Pit stands for ‘people in transformation’, and although it’s distressing to be there, that very pit becomes a well as the Holy Spirit fills you with the Truth of God.”

Graham went on to talk about the process God takes us through in terms of transformation, and how those pits and hard times can be used by God to work out the junk in us if we will respond to the situation like Jesus did. When faced with the biggest sacrifice of His ministry, the sacrifice of His own life, Jesus asked if the cup could be taken from Him, but if not, He said, let Your name be glorified.

And that, says Graham, is where many of us get it wrong. In the distress, we cry out for rescue…”God, get me out of this pit!” But what we should be saying is, “Father, let your name be glorified.” When the work is done, God will deliver us.

Graham said, “God doesn’t measure time; He measures growth.” I can stay in that pit for a long time moaning and whining and throwing lots of pity parties, or I can submit to God’s work in my life and say, “Let your will be done, Lord.” And perhaps my stay in that tough place will be shortened because God will be able to work out all the hindrances in me that stop me from being used by Him.

He has to train us up to do what He wants us to do. And that training is hard work and can be very painful.

So is God at work in this pit of sickness? Is He training me up for something, like this hospital ministry?

Honestly, I would have to say, “Yes.” I never wanted to do the hospital ministry. I’m the last person who wants to be around sick people. I can barely care for my own family when they’re sick.

And yet here I am sick, my husband gets malaria, my son gets malaria AND my cough…God speaks to me about healing and hope in the hospital, and the next thing I know I’m surrounded by sickness.

But interestingly, I find myself thinking about how horrible I feel, and then thinking about these people in the TB ward, much sicker than me, with no one to bring them meals, no comfy room to rest in, no money to buy helpful medicines. And I just started praying for them. And I felt God gave me a little peek into their world…just a little one, but enough to see that these people really do need prayer and hope and compassion and the love of God.

And it changed my heart about the hospital ministry.

And I guess that was what God was doing…working out the junk in me so He could use me to demonstrate His love to these people.

I’m not 100% there, yet. It’s a process. But I don’t want to miss what God’s doing in my life, even when it’s scary. I don’t want to sit here whining and moaning when I should be saying, “Father, be glorified in my life.” I want to be used by God, I want Him to work out His will in my life.

Even if it means coughing so hard I retch, He is worthy.

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