Saturday, December 12, 2009

Comment on Next Door Saviour By Max Lucado

Words too Significant to Lose in the Comments

As I have done a few times in the past, yesterday I reproduced a section of a Max Lucado book that I received in a regular email from I find his writing inspirational and some of you do, as well. And sometimes my friend Joshua or another reader comes by and makes the most outstanding and interesting comments; so much so that I refuse to relegate them to the comment section alone, where nobody is likely to see them. So, like now, I make a posting based on the comment.

Here is Joshua's comment, which touches on a small part of his personal story. I enjoy reading Joshua's take on things, and expect that you will too.
How many ways can you spell "wow"? Michael, your citation from NEXT DOOR SAVIOUR has resulted in at least one sale. I am going out to buy this book today! And I'm going to bow out of a (somewhat silly) social event in order to dive right into it.

Much of my professional success as a commercial writer/editor is attributable to my ability to "get out of the way" and serve as a communications channel through which others might express themselves. It gives me jitters to merely contemplate what might happen if I could accomplish this with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! I am more or less retired now, and I am admittedly uncertain about what I should do with my God-given talents. Talents cannot retire the way people do. Like vocation, talent just goes on and on, feeding itself, refining itself, and generally getting better. Like the self-fulfillment that comes from heeding a "vocational calling", talent involves a self-perpetuating cycle. And while I don't pretend to the monumental writerly talent of a C.S. Lewis or Somerset Maugham, I nonetheless have a enough talent to have kept myself and my family fed and warm and prosperous for decades now.

What am I supposed to do with it now that: I am virtually retired and on a pension; the kids have grown up and moved out and on to building their own families; and, my "responsibilities" have been effectively reduced to a fraction of what they were? In the past, circumstantial necessity obliged me to "sell" my talent in exchange for Caesar's cold, hard currency. But what to do with it now? How should I use it in the years left to me?

I find myself praying for guidance about this a LOT these days. I know it is irresponsible and wrong to not tend the little garden God assigned me, to let it become overgrown and ragged. The gifts God gives us MUST be used, and used wisely. If they are not, they wither and die. And that's no way to treat a gift from God, is it?

This posting, Michael, will see me praying that much harder for guidance about this. While still in convalescent mode in the wake of recent illness, I am getting both intellectually and spiritually desperate about this. I know God will provide me the direction I pray for, but I just want it sooner rather than later. And the healthier I am feeling, the greater is my desperation.

And, thank God, I am beginning to feel HEALTHY again! This was something that seemed a rather remote possibility a mere month ago. Yet here I am, feeling better with every passing day, and I'm beginning to feel IDLE. I know I have to "pace" myself, but I want to have a plan for when I don't have to pace myself. That plan might as well be God's Plan, right? I mean, wouldn't it be MARVELOUS if God revealed a plan to me? I'm waiting, willing, and praying for such a revelation. And sometimes I wonder if I invest too much "me" in all this. Is my desire getting in the way of my fulfillment?

Meanwhile, back on Channel Earth, I'm watching reruns of crappy programming that mankind knows didn't fly the first time around....

Am I drifting? Because that's what unused talent is like - snowflakes drifting through air when they could be part of a really NEAT snow fort that keeps dozens of kids amused and entertained and playing together for hours at a time.

I'm tired of being flakes, God. Please show me how to become Your snow fort. That's what I wanna be, God, and soon. Like this winter, okay? Please? I'll get outta the way, I promise! If You fill me up with Jesus and top me off with a heady dose of Holy Spirit, I'm outta there in a heartbeat and with YOU totally.

How cool would that be? is my fondest wish and dream right now. And so I will continue to pray...
This is teeny weeny glimpse into a man on fire for the Lord. And it is awesome. Joshua was seriously ill very recently, and when he says "And, thank God, I am beginning to feel HEALTHY again!" it is a serious understatement. I know what he is talking about, and that is a miraculous STORY, let him (not me) tell you.

I spoke with Joshua the day before I spoke with Father Sam Johnston, and my time with Fr. Sam caused me to further connect with Joshua in a very personal and faith filled way over the last few days. I have not written about it, nor do I intend to, because it is not really my story to tell. It is Joshua's and the ball is in his court on that one.

Our off blog discourse is delightful. I can hardly wait for him to write with intention of the explosion that is going on in his faith life, and of how God in all 3 persons is moving in him. But then, of course, I did post this comment, which is more like a spark, than the flame that is burning inside of him.

I am certain that Joshua would enjoy meeting with Fr. Sam. My guess is that after that meeting, Joshua would be writing up a storm, and know in a heartbeat where he is heading as a writer. He is about to overflow with God's love in ways that are almost unimaginable at this moment.

Father Sam described for me a circumstance that happens in people of faith, when they are specifically touched by God's Holy Spirit. I have experienced the sensation of it in my own life, though never knew it had a name. He called it the Initial Fervor, as he referred to the time after this touch, when you are about to explode you are so filled with love, and joy and peace. Joshua got it.


Joshua S. said...

Dear Michael:

You have done me a great service, Michael. Re-reading my own words (somewhat unexpectedly) this way obliges me to observe that, for someone who can "get out of the way" so effectively, I sure can make my needs clear, can't I? That was so full of "me" it alarms me! It's also rather alarming to me to acknowledge that I am so spiritually desperate that I don't mind your "posting" what amounts to an expression of desperation and a prayer/plea for help from the Big Guy. Far from it - I appreciate your efforts on my behalf. A big THANK YOU to you, Michael. It can't hurt to broadcast this particular prayer, after all. I did ask for some direction sooner rather than later, didn't I? God knows I'm serious in my prayers, but He's got a LOT of desperation to deal with. My little conundrum is pretty small potatoes, I know, but He'll get around to me. Broadcasting my prayer can't hurt, can it? ;-)

I'll keep you posted...

mbrandon8026 said...

There is no way on this earth that God is not going to honour your prayers.

Your little "conundrum" is the biggest thing on God's agenda. It is tied with billions of others, but it is really important to Him, because He created you in His image, and loves you as though you were the only one.

Your prayer is the prayer we all should pray every day. I sensed no desperation, just telling it like it is, like a good writer is supposed to do.

Can't wait to hear.