The Grace To Go & Be Stung

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

– Hebrews 4:16

The shade from the large trees helped to dispel the intense heat of the August Florida morning as I stood on the sidewalk in front of the child sacrifice center. I was in between calling out to the mothers who had come to do just that when I felt a sharp sting right in the center of my upper abdomen. I told my friend, who had joined me in the battle on this particular day, that I had just been stung as I struggled to look down my shirt for the culprit. Unable to locate him, I assured myself that all was well and went back to manning my post. A few minutes later, however, it happened again! This time it was a sharp sting on my upper arm. At this point I began ripping off my equipment. Throwing my headset and voice amplifier to the ground as I struggled to free myself from the rest of my gear. I called out to my friend again and she came over to assist me in the search for this stinging monster! I was all but prepared to remove my shirt right there on the sidewalk! This thing had to get out of my shirt or I was going to get out of it myself! Thankfully my friend located my enemy and bravely swatted him to the ground, stepping on him per my demanding request! The battle was over and, thanks to my friend, no one had to suffer seeing me topless out there on the side of the busy six lane road that leads to that place of slaughter! I can assure you that had she not been there, however, they most likely would have not been spared such a sight!

I have found myself thinking about this morning on the battlefield as the days have passed since. I have been pondering on how when we are backed into a corner, in a crisis situation, when we are strongly convinced of a truth, when we are under threat of danger, we stop caring about what others might think about us, about their opinions, about anything other than the pressing matter at hand! We do what we got to do- we go where we need to go- we get the job done! The truth is though, when it comes to Jesus and His commands- when it comes to the work He has given us to do- the Great Commission; the rescuing and protection of the least among us from their oppressors; the practice of pure and undefined religion- we doubt Him, second guessing and downgrading His Words. He wants us to go where He has called and we have decided we will go anywhere other than there. And because justice is not executed swiftly; because He is long-suffering towards us, towards the wicked even- as He does not wish that any would perish- we carry on as if all is well with the world and ignore the weightier matters, choosing instead to fight battles He never placed us in to the detriment of not only our own souls but to society as a whole. There’s no sense of urgency because we simply have chosen not to know Him to the point of being obedient to His call and commands.

Oddly enough, This reminds me of when I was in school to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant. It was time for us to receive our fieldwork assignments and I was so sure that I was made to, that I was meant to, have my placement in the hospital. I was positive that I would be granted this placement because I had the best grades in the class- the best grades in the programs history to be exact! Well, you can imagine how shocked and angered I was when I discovered that rather than a prestigious internship at the hospital I was being assigned to a skilled nursing home instead! Praise God, It took less than a day at my nursing home internship for me to realize that I had been wrong- wrong about everything! I thrived in this new environment! It become my passion to serve the elderly and forgotten of our society, many of whom are imprisoned at places such as nursing homes, as I would go on to spend the next 8 years of my life purposely working at just such places!

When God gets to that place inside of you- deep deep down in your spirit and soul- with His often relentless call, if you are wise, you will answer Him by going! It’s in the action of answering that He will take you through things you never thought yourself capable of withstanding! I never ever thought I could wipe someone’s dirty bottom but it did not take long for me to become a happy volunteer for just such a task when I was helping my patients with their toileting routine or changing them in bed during our therapy sessions. God gives us the grace to endure! In fact, He is so good to His children that He gives them joy in doing the mundane, dirty, demeaning tasks and duties in life when those things are needed of us in our service to others!

Anyone who knew me before I surrendered to a live hidden in Christ will attest to the fact that I am terrified of bees and wasps and have been all my life. I remember living a life of extreme fear and caution when in the presence of such creatures! I would try with all my power to get away from them as quickly as possible! I remember a couple of years ago, when I had first answered Gods call to go full time into sidewalk ministry, standing their on the frontlines under the shade of a lovely blooming flower-filled tree. As I stood there waiting for the next car to pull into the drive of the death pit I looked up and around me at this beautiful tree and noticed that it was swarming with bees who had come to pollinate those many flowers. Normally, like I said, I would have ran away from that tree as fast as I could with panic bursting forth from every fiber of my being. Instead, I found myself content to watch them buzz around me as they flittered back and forth from flower to flower.

Ah! The beautiful grace and peace of God that surpasses all understanding; that casts out fear by His perfect love; and gives us courage and strength to stand in places we never thought we could with no thought to the opinions of others- all for the glory of God!

Is He calling you somewhere that you do not feel capable of going? To something you do not feel qualified to pursue? To tasks that seem beneath you? Answer Him by going! Go! By His grace He will carry you through; giving you joy to the full as you do that thing He has called you to!

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