Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We Need Elbows

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:4-5

Sometimes the “edit button” between my brain and mouth doesn’t work. I have many stories of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. With maturity, I’ve gotten better at using self control but I still hear inappropriate words fly out of my mouth willy-nilly.

Once when I was teaching, I stood before an auditorium of students to make an announcement. A fellow teacher had just gotten married, so I congratulated her. I heard myself saying, “Yay for marital sex!”

I saw some shocked faces but mostly just heard the laughter. Then I spied my principal’s face. He was not happy.

Last night I attended my writers’ meeting at Barnes and Noble. I’d never met the speaker and I was quite interested in her topic. In the middle of her speech I was in deep thought about what she was saying and apparently my face showed some confusion. She looked at me, mid-presentation, and said, “You look like you have a question. Your face is wrinkled.”

The “edit button” was broken. I said, “It’s gas.”

My mother used to tell me “Robbie, think before you speak.” She said that a lot.

Last night I heard laughter and I also heard my mother rolling over in her grave.

My personality and my personality defects are all one big, happy package that God wants to prune and use. He loves my humor, I’m sure of it and He probably giggled last night. But sometimes I have a problem reconciling my personality and my desire to be a Godly woman. See, when I picture a Godly gal I envision an impeccably dressed, wise, confident and tactful lady. I don’t see a large woman who interrupts a guest speaker’s presentation with wise cracks about flatulence.

You know what? I AM WRONG. God loves me just like I am. He made me. As I grow in the Lord, I want self control to be a more evident fruit of the Spirit in my life. But I also want to glorify God through the way I am. If you have committed your life to Christ, you are part of His body. And in the body of Christ, I am like the elbow, needed to support and move the arm. I will never be a hand, like Mother Theresa who touched so many. I was not made to be an eye, like Billy Graham who saw straight into peoples’ hearts and identified what they needed. I am an elbow, where the funny bone is located, and I thank God for it. I pray that as you read this you will be encouraged to identify yourself as a precious part of the body of Christ, needed and loved.

Just like you are, “edit button” or not.

This is this week's Joyvotion, a free devo I can send to your email box once a week. Just let me know by emailing me at robbieiobst at hotmail dot com

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is God in Haiti?

I love Jesus and I try to follow God's teaching in the Bible. But I don't know God's mind. Isaiah 55:8 says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.

So when I look at the TV and see the devastation in Haiti, I wonder "What are you doing, God?" So many people dead. So much destruction. So much pain.

I believe that God is completely in control and so when I hear someone say God had nothing to do with this quake, I don't agree. I also cringed when I heard Pat Robertson imply this earthquake happened because Haiti is under a curse because of a pack with the Devil the country made years ago. Really, Pat? Seriously? I don't think so.

What I do believe is that God is a weaver of a tapestry. A beautiful masterpiece. We cannot see the front, just the back and the mess of knotted threads. Corrie Ten Boom wrote about God's tapestry after she visited a man dying of polio. Why would God allow this man to suffer so much? Only God knows the beautiful tapesty He is weaving through this man's misery. Only God.

I believe that part of God's weaving is what is going on in Haiti. Do I believe He caused it? I believe He either caused it or allowed it. But of course, He knew it was going to happen. He's God. He can take this horrible earthquake and make some wonderful things happen, even as He is comforting those in tremendous pain.

I watched two people die, including my mother. I've lost my father and other relatives. I have counted and I've been to twenty funerals, all of people who I knew
well. Friends when I was in school died. I've had two close neighbors commit suicide. Students I've taught have died. I am a little acquainted with grief and death.

And last year, I spent a month wondering if my husband was going to have brain damage for the rest of his life.

True, I've never had my house crumble or lived through a disaster like those in Haiti. I don't claim to understand what they are going through. But I know what I have experienced. I know that God uses pain and grief like threads weaved to make a beautiful picture.

So is God in Haiti right now, right this moment? ABSOLUTELY. He is comforting and loving so many. He is sitting right now with a mother who lost her child. He is holding a woman who doesn't know where her husband is. He is giving strength to a man's arms to move rubble and find folks. He is stroking the hearts of the orphans who are wondering what's next? He is gathering with the MANY Christians in Haiti laying His hands on them to do His work in the flesh. He is whispering to those who don't know Him that He is there and wants to have a relationship with them. He is on the planes landing with supplies and food. He is giving faith to those close to the Archbishop who died, assuring them that His Grace is dancing with the King. He is there! I believe this with all my heart.

May those in Haiti realize His presence and embrace His love for them. May those like you and I, sitting safely in front of our laptops, PRAY for them and GIVE money to the Red Cross or reputable organizations like New Missions. May our Lord pour out His strength and grace upon all those dealing with this tragedy.