Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Perfect State of Comfort

Last September, my husband and I traveled to the north part of our state where we stayed in a Bed & Breakfast.  It was our first experience with a Bed & Breakfast and I was a little nervous about it before we arrived.

Part of my nervousness resulted in the fact that in researching our trip, I had read multiple reviews on many different places to stay in many different cities, especially looking at B&Bs because of their affordability.  Some of the reviews gave the picture of innkeepers that ranged from creepy to downright disturbing.  Then we received an offer for the one we finally chose that was too good to refuse. I scoured their website, read all their reviews and looked carefully at each picture.  Even though everything I read and saw gave me every indication that this was a wonderful place, I still had some apprehension and wasn’t sure of what to expect.  

Perhaps it’s simply because I am basically a shy person and being in a new situation with new people always makes me feel uneasy.  Thankfully, my husband has never in his life met a stranger.  We arrived at the beautiful house which was to be our home for several days and the innkeepers, a lovely couple about our age, gave us a tour.

Every aspect of the house and the grounds were arranged with comfort in mind.  There was not anything that we would have wanted that was not there – well perhaps weather warm enough to get in the pool, but the innkeepers were not in control of the temperature.  This B&B was misnamed “Longing for Home,” because not once during our stay did I long to be home.  It was such a relaxing and comfortable few days, I truly hated to leave.  

I think there are those that have the same feeling toward heaven.  In their minds, they know that heaven will be the most wonderful glorious place.  Although they have read the descriptions in the Scriptures of the streets of gold, the gates of pearl, all the wonders that will astound us when we are there they still have the inkling they may somehow feel awkward or out of place.

From the first moment we arrive, however, we will only know the “perfect state of comfort”.  Everything we see, everything we hear, everything we touch will fill us with joy and comfort and peace.  More importantly, everything will point to us of our Lord Jesus Christ and be a true expression of Him.  There will not be anything which will not enthrall our hearts and lead us to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is nothing that awaits us in eternity that should give us the least moment of anxiety.  As my husband often says, “For the Christian, there are great days ahead.”

 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, 
neither have entered into the heart of man, 
the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  
 1 Corinthians 2:9

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

God "With Skin On"

A story is told of a little boy who is afraid to go to sleep at night.  His father, in an attempt to comfort and encourage him, tells him, “God is with you everywhere.”

The little boy determinedly says, “I know, Daddy, but tonight I want God with skin on!”

There are times in each of our lives when we need to see God "with skin on” …times when the Lord clearly provides for our needs or encourages us through the very human tool of His children.

I want to tell you of a story of such in our lives.

Our daughter is a studying photography in college.  Her pictures are very dear to her. 

In November she had to put her camera in the shop to be repaired.   This was no simple repair and no ordinary camera. Hers is what I affectionately call a “stalker camera”.  It’s one of those big-bodied cameras with big lenses used by people who take serious photographs.  

This repair was serious because that big lens had a tiny chip on it and our daughter needed it repaired before she traveled to England and Italy for a month.  She sent the lens off for repair hoping it would be returned in time for her trip.

A few days before she was to leave the country she found out her lens could not be repaired.  I spoke on my daughter’s behalf to a very nice gentleman at the store who assured me she only needed to come to the store and “pick out a new camera.”  I asked if she should ask for him if she encountered any problems and he replied, “Ma’am, anyone who has any problems with this shouldn’t be working here.”  I am now convinced it was his first day on the job!

About an hour later I received a phone call from a very distraught daughter.  Not only had “someone had problems” with her picking out a new camera, but she felt as if she had been humiliated as well.  My husband and I met her at the front of the store and she told us her story.  It took all of about 10 seconds of my husband talking with the clerk – the same woman our daughter had so much difficulty with – before our daughter was walking through the store to pick out her new camera.  

She picked out the replacement camera, then we found out it wasn’t in stock, it would have to be shipped from Atlanta.   We were concerned about it being delivered in time, but the sales clerk assured us it would arrive before her flight on Wednesday morning.  He told us it would come with the UPS delivery on Tuesday afternoon at the latest.  He didn’t assure me once, he told me three times.  Then when we finished the final paperwork, the cashier said, “No, it won’t be there Tuesday, it will be there by Monday!”

You know where this is going, don’t you?  

Monday came, no camera.  That’s ok, they said it would be here by Tuesday.  

Tuesday afternoon came, no camera.  Since it was the Christmas season, occasionally UPS makes two rounds, maybe it would come later.  

Tuesday night, no camera.  Disappointment does not begin to describe our daughter’s mood.  

We had all been praying she would have the camera for this trip and it would have been a marvelous answer to prayer for a package to show up Tuesday night, but God had a much better answer in mind.  

That Tuesday night we had a meeting at the Rescue Mission with our dear friend, Steve.  Afterward we were telling him the story of the camera and he said, “You know, I’ve had to go out there to the UPS site and pick up some things before – actually get them to get it off the shelf.  Why don’t you send me the information on it, and I’ll go by in the morning and see what I can do?”

Steve was there about the same time as the sun the next morning and “happened” to be there just as one of the drivers was walking in for his shift.  Steve explained our dilemma – which he had now adopted as his own dilemma – and within a short period of time, the man came out holding Emmie’s brand new camera.  We were able to take it to the airport to her just as she was checking her bags.

Emmie was elated.  

She said having the camera made her trip “7000 times better”. Our oldest daughter calls Steve a “Super Hero” for this. I think of him as an example of God "with skin on.”  

It would have been nice to have the package delivered by a UPS man on Tuesday, but how much better to have it delivered by a dear friend whom both my daughters love and respect.  Once Steve made himself available, God could do the rest.

Often when we pray for others, we may be the vehicle through which the Lord wishes to help answer the very prayer we have prayed. . .if we will make ourselves available.  Then the person receiving the answer to prayer is blessed and we are blessed as well.  The Scriptures tell us that He “worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”  For our world, we must choose to exist as “God with skin on”, to be available to the Lord for whatever He wants or needs us to do and then to trust Him to do the rest.

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, 
that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 
Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, 
working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight, 
through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. 
Hebrews 13:20,21