Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Lesson I Learned When God Organized My Garage

An amazing thing happened to me in my garage yesterday. My eldest daughter is moving back home in preparation for finishing off her school, so I am giving up my office for her. This sounds easier than it is; I have to find a place to store all my office furniture and files. Thankfully I have a double garage but therein lies the challenge. My double garage is already full of church and school storage along with a dozen bikes I have promised to repair. There is no more room. So yesterday I found myself standing in the middle of my office totally overwhelmed at how I was going to do this.

Over the years I have learned a few things and one of the most important of these is, when I am not sure about something I need to pray. So, in the midst of being overwhelmed I asked the Lord for guidance. The second thing I have learned is, once you have prayed you need to take action. I turned to the garage and I started moving things around. I am a fairly decent organizer of limited space and I knew I had already arranged the garage as well as I could, but as I started moving things I began to see things a bit differently. Four hours later I had regained half of my garage; more than enough room to move my office. I immediately recognized the source of this "miracle" and began to praise him.

I found myself praising the Father for the many times he has made something from nothing or next to nothing. The truth of this fact settled on me and I knew I had to write about it because this is who our God is and this seems to be his preferred way of doing things. It is certainly a guarantee for him to receive the glory. I am no fool, I know my limitations so I know the garage was not my design but the Spirits guidance. I have repaired and built so many things in my life with no knowledge simply by asking for help from the Spirit. As I sat this morning reflecting on this I realized the many ways our God has done this throughout history in small and big ways, creating something from nothing.

This is the Creator who spoke what had not existed into being. God said and there was. God said let there be light and there was light. That's a pretty big thing but fast forward and we find Jesus on a hill telling his disciples to feed a crowd of over 10,000. The Word says 5,000 men so you add up the women and children and suddenly we have a hockey stadium full of hungry people. When they couldn't figure it out, Jesus simply accepted a little boys lunch and made something from practically nothing. It was only a lunch but wow! what a lunch. Let's go backwards again and consider the nation of Israel. God chose two simple people who did not appear any different from most people. He chose Abraham and Sarah to create a chosen nation. He grew a great nation out of practically nothing. Consider though that the boy had to be willing to give up his lunch and the couple had to be willing to follow instruction and believe.

Now realize what our God does with lives that are willing to allow him to work in and through them. Consider David who was nothing more than a simple shepherd from a simple family. There wasn't anything about David that made him stand out from others. It was David's willingness to submit and obey God's will and commands that allowed God to make something great from practically nothing. David was so aware of this that when it came time for him to step down and allow his son to reign as the new king, he acknowledged the one who had accomplished all of this:

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you." (1 Chronicles 19:14-16)

We could also consider Gideon, who was nothing in his community let alone the nation. He was just a man, afraid of the enemy as much as anyone else. He was a man who only wanted to eek out a living without drawing any attention to him or his family. That is until God showed up and called him a mighty warrior and made something out of practically nothing. This is the man God chose to use to lead the smallest army in the history of man to drive out an occupying force that had been there for a very long time. Something from nothing.

Think of Joseph and Mary as we begin to celebrate this Christmas season. They were nothing special, just honest hard working people who were looking forward to a life together. Their greatest dreams were probably about building a family and putting food on the table every day. Then God showed up and called this peasant girl favoured and their lives were changed forever as was the world. We could go from them to Peter who was just a simple fisherman, trying to keep up his end of a partnership; hard working and just wanting to provide for his family. A man who, if we would describe kindly, we would call rough at the edges. Uneducated, simple, rough, no experience with the world outside of his village until God showed up and said "follow me". Peter, the rock, the great apostle who everyone would turn to for guidance and strength.

Then there is you. You are probably nothing special according to this world but all God needs is a willing and obedient man or woman so he can make something from nothing. He needs someone who will recognize that they have nothing to offer but are open and available for when he shows up and calls them "mighty warrior"; someone who will believe when he says that he is creating something too big to imagine; someone who says "may it be to me as you have said"; someone who is willing to allow God to receive all the glory by saying "all this is from your hand not ours"; someone who is willing to leave everything they have known when God says "follow me". Our Father can accomplish great things from nothing when that nothing is willing to be used.

Too often we limit Jesus by our limitations. We refuse to see the impossible or to acknowledge his great plan. We would rather stay in the desert, eek out a meager living, stay safe and warm, allowing life and God to pass us by. Don't stay there. When you hear his voice today respond with "here am I Lord, send me". Be willing to trust, to believe, to risk it all for the greatest adventure. Realize that we are servants of a great and mighty God who has many things he wants to accomplish and we have the privilege and honour of being chosen to join him in the work. Let go of your limitations and realize that our limitless God is once again wanting to make something from nothing.

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