I don't know why God does the things He does, and doesn't do the things He doesn't do. I plan to ask Him when I get there (sure hope I get there). For example, when my mother prayed about 30 years ago, that God would hit me over the head with a baseball bat, why did He wait almost 25 years before He hit me in the head with a '94 Aerostar van, long after I had a conversion? And why, if he healed me of arthritis many years ago, has he allowed both my wife and me to be stuck with 6 years of disability and counting? What's up with all that?
I frankly have no idea, and have stopped caring, since I never guess right anyway. But, I am curious. Mainly, I have been learning to trust in Him. But, what does that have to do with Him being so good to me? Well, everything really.
But here's some thoughts about Life in the Spirit, the spirit of God. I had no expectations when I accompanied my friends for several weeks on their trek to Ridgetown to give a Life in the Spirit Seminar. I just wanted to tag along. Well, to be honest, you cannot tag along on something that God feels strongly about, and just watch. So, I participated as I could, and assisted my friends. I mean, I didn't go to be a bump on a log anyway. I wasn't closed to what God might do, just had no expectations.
Lo and behold, God exceeded my expectations. I don't know why God hasn't healed my health issues this time, but I learned a lot from Him about His love for me and for you too, by the way, through my openness to Him recently.
Prior to my auto accident almost 6 years ago, lots of things were going well in my life, and some not so well. It seems God wanted to change my focus. Now, I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but I figured that puppy out, and it only took me 6 years to do it.
I was doing really well in my career at the time, working for the Itty Bitty Machine (IBM) company, and going places. I was also a pretty gifted keyboard musician in a church choir, where the music just fell off my finger tips, and it was way cool. I didn't think I was all that, but there was a touch of pride, even when I knew where it all came from. OK, so not a touch, but a generous helping.
Oh, and one other thing, and it was a small one really (not), my marriage was in a shambles, and it wasn't my first kick at the marriage can either. My wife and I were separated at the time, though we were working at resolving it.
So, God changed my priorities. He made it so I couldn't work, and couldn't tickle the ivories, or plastics as they are now. So, if you have any part of a brain left, what do you do? Well, you have to go with what you've got, and 6 years later I have a very loving relationship with my soul mate. That's pretty good, but that is a foundation for lots of other good stuff too.
I believe that through my time of prayer with my friends recently, God has shown me some things for which I am very grateful. My dear wife and I have figured out that it is not all about us, even though we have a really good us. Mostly, in this last year, we have developed an interest in the poor. They were there before, but God opened up our eyes through one of our children, and other friends we met in Tucson over the last winter to practical ways of helping out the poor.
For charity, I have over the years, mainly been a check writing kind of giver, except for using my music and doing some other things with groups like the Knights of Columbus. But, particularly this year, though we have increased our financial giving, we have also started looking for more practical ways to help out, like back packs of school supplies for local kids, shoe boxes for underprivileged kids in the third world, making quilts for the battered women's shelter, and place mats for Meals on Wheels, and now Christmas hampers of food and gifts for the poor in town.
But, in prayer I realised that this is where God wants us to be, and because of the healing in our marriage, we are in sync together about it. Some of this understanding is the fruit of the Life in the Spirit Seminar, and really the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
You know, for the first time in my life, I feel real, no more velveteen rabbit. And it feels very peaceful, and loving. And above all, I can start to see how God wanted to redirect my life in ways that would give Him the glory. We can see together that these opportunities to step outside ourselves and give of ourselves are a gift to us. It may well benefit someone who has less than we do, but we are the big winners here. "It Is Better To Give Than To Receive." The only thing is you cannot ever out give God.
I find it interesting that it has troubled me for years that we don't really HELP those who have less than us, as a rule. But, still I did very little other than writing the odd check. It was always, after all was said and done, a lot more said than done.
Last night, in our prayer time, there was a reference to Peter Maurin, who was a founder with Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker movement, and an essay he wrote about feeding the poor. It is pretty short, so here it is:
Not a lot of words, but a lot of meat. I don't think I'm gonna pass the buck anymore.
Feeding the Poor – At a SacrificeIn the first centuries of Christianity the hungry were fed at a personal sacrifice, the naked were clothed at a personal sacrifice, the homeless were sheltered at a personal sacrifice. And because the poor were fed, clothed and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, the pagans used to say about the Christians “See how they love each other.”
In our own day the poor are no longer fed, clothed, and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, but at the expense of the taxpayers. And because the poor are no longer fed, clothed and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, the pagans say about the Christians “See how they pass the buck.”