Sunday, January 23, 2011

God's Ways Aren't Very American

Some days you have encounters with God that leave you thinking. The kind of thinking that leaves your brain in a slushy mess, but at the end you feel revitalized because it caused change. Somewhere in the crevices of my brain some of my God "knowledge" made it's way to my heart.

This past November, our family went down to serve with a local ministry (The Tapestry Project) that helps provide care and housing for marginalized women and children. The day consisted of helping these sweet families gather food for the upcoming holiday and then sit on the lawn and enjoy lunch with them. I was able to wait with several families and talk to them about what they did and how their children were enjoying school. After the food was bagged up we either helped them to their houses or cars. I got to hug some necks, tell them "thank you", and walk back feeling like I had done something, even if it was little.

I had helped one woman (who had five children ranging from 17 to two) to her modest home that day. Her place was cozy and warm (really warm, she clearly did not like the cold) and I looked around. Modest, but she had what she needed. And as we drove away that day, I thought, "God, thank you for taking care of my family the way you do."

And then God... "Why is the way that I take care of you any better than the way I take care of and provide for these people? Are you better because of it?'


If I had been a balloon, I would have deflated on the spot. And really, I did. I didn't even know how to respond to that. So, I didn't. I have, however, been thinking about it ever since.

In America, we are taught "If you work hard, and make good choices, you can have and do anything." Our blessings are up to us. That's great, except it's not entirely true. Yes, your choices make a difference, but I know plenty of people who work hard and make as good of choices that they can and still struggle to make ends meat. I know people who do little, but have been born into privilege, and according to the American way of life, are "blessed".

God's standards are not American. His blessings are more than I can understand because they go beyond what I have been "taught" my entire life to consider as blessings. And still, He blesses me in ways I can't see with my heart because He loves me.

And that right there, His love, sacrifice, faithfulness, is the biggest blessing of all. I know this in my head; I pray true understanding continues to trickle it's way to my heart.

Psalm 144:15 "....Blessed is the people whose God is the Lord."


Amanda Sims said...

I'm reading the book Radical by David Platt and it is TOTALLY hitting me on this same topic. We are blessed to be a blessing to others and to glorify God. That's IT. It's not for US at all. Total eye opener. I highly recommend it.

Cindy Beall said...

That's a good word, my friend.

Shelley said...

Your words have pierced my heart. Thank you for sharing.