Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Determination to Serve

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve… —Matthew 20:28

I am really seeing that service and kindness to others is such a beautiful thing. That is what I want to be. Beautiful inside and kind. I just remember how kind and what a servant my father was to others. He was that way because of his love for the Lord. His relationship with Jesus was so vibrant and real. At his passing, I heard many describe my father as righteous. That has really resonated with me. At my passing, I only want to be seen as righteous. I just want to be beautiful on the inside. I see the path that the Lord has brought me on. It has been a painful trail that I have walked, but I see some of the benefits. I am much less judgmental towards others. I am more empathetic than I used to be.

But the chief motivation behind Paul’s service was not love for others but love for his Lord. If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.

So true that our motivation can be only from the Lord and our love for Him. I've already been disappointed by people...some of them very close to me.

Last week I had a difficult time with my emotions...I was fine as long as I stayed busy. I knew that I would be facing some anniversaries of pain last week. Every year at this time, I struggle with memories of rejection, being misunderstood, and devastating loss. I have imaginary conversations with people that run through my mind...over and over again. The pain just squeezes my heart and soul, although it has been many years since the onset of this pain. As I was saying, I am fine as long as I stay busy. Work is wonderful at these times...but as luck would have it, it always seems to be winter break during my struggle time. I work at a school, so winter break comes. I made plans to be busy. On Monday I would have coffee at a friend's house. On Tuesday I would go shopping. On Wednesday I would meet a dear friend for lunch. I wasn't sure what I would do come Thursday...but I figured I would stay busy one way or another. If I am busy....I cannot think. If I do not think...I cannot ponder life's events. If I cannot ponder, I cannot remember. If I cannot remember, it will not hurt. It's all fine, well and good....if one does not have to crawl into bed at night. That is when the enemy strikes. I struggled all week long...every night in anguish. On Saturday night...I was again in anguish...even tears rolling down my cheeks because I couldn't quiet the painful memories that assaulted me. That was when I knew that I must go to Prayer Central the next day at church. Prayer Central is a quiet room at our church that anyone can go to after the services. There one can receive prayer for anything. So I went there, and a woman named Lucy prayed with me. First I told her a   brief version of my story. The one I feel the most pain from in my life. I prayed and she prayed. I again forgave people who hurt me. She prayed that I would be able to remember this event without pain. That it would become something that simply happened...and it would no longer bring me such sorrow. The crux of the prayer was that I would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to withstand attacks from the enemy and be victorious over him. She has a Pentecostal background and inquired as to what I thought about tongues. I am open to receiving tongues if it will bring me closer to Jesus. If it will help me pray in the Holy Spirit and be saturated with Him. I left, without having received the gift of tongues, but I must admit that I have felt a tremendous amount of freedom since going there. I feel a peace that I haven't felt before.

The path the Lord brought me on has showed me over and over again that I am completely dependent upon Him for everything. A sound mind, sustenance, love for others, the ability to forgive, to serve...the strength to trust in the Lord during the darkest moments of my life. I don't think that any of the events have been an accident. I think they have been planned all along. My life verse had become Job 23:10. He knows the way that I take and when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

I want to be gold. Becoming gold comes at a price. It doesn't come easily. It comes with fire and water and burnishing. It comes with pain. It comes with frustration. It comes with desertion. It comes with abandonment. But the lessons are beautiful in the end. The results are thankfulness, kindness, empathy, passion for the hurting, servanthood. The Lord is making me into something. He is making me a servant...just as He was a servant.

Paul’s understanding of how Christ had dealt with him is the secret behind his determination to serve others. “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man…” (1 Timothy 1:13).  I remember what I was. Along the path, I haven't always seen the results. Spiritual growth and change is S.....L.....O.....W. It is a process. It is a journey. Just when we think we have made it and we can see the summit, the clouds come and cover the view. It rains. The path is muddy. We are gasping for breath. We aren't sure if we can make it. We have to take a detour. I'm on a journey towards gold...towards being proclaimed righteous...toward being a servant to all. I could never have guessed that my journey would have taken me on such rough and rocky places...with glimpses of beautiful streams and waterfalls and hearing birds singing. I don't know where the path will take me next...but I trust that the Lord is with me. He is making me. He is taking me to higher places.