This past weekend I had the privilege of attending our church's annual Ladies retreat... what a blessing it is to get to spend time with ladies in fellowship and be challenged together in our Christian walk. Challenged and encouraged I was.
The theme for our retreat was Fanning the Flames. It references how we must fan the flame of our relationship with the Lord.... I needed this retreat (badly)
You see the first thing I learned is in regards to seeing the Lord in my life I have Glaucoma.
Glaucoma is an eye disorder in which the optic nerve suffers damage, permanently impacting vision in the affected eye(s) and progressing to complete blindness if untreated. It is often, but not always, associated with increased pressure of the fluid in the eye. Because of the increased pressure in life I have suffered vision damage and am not seeing the Lord in my life as I should.
The speaker reminded us that God is always present in our lives. He is always with us. Hebrews 28:20
"...and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." It is God's promise.... and we know He keeps his promises. But why are only a few occurrences in my life when I can say that I have truly seen the Lord? Why is it that I often question his presence, and ask Lord, where are you in this tough situation? It is MY vision problem. I, personally, fail to see him as a result of my own lack of awareness.
He is always there.... just as He promised... however, I am rarely where I need to be spiritually in order to see Him.
I have often heard this illustration given in church, and it relates so well.
- A couple who had been married for several years is traveling down a highway together in a pickup truck. The man is driving, the wife is sitting in the passenger seat. After several minutes, the wife angrily interrupts the silence. "What happened to us?" She asks. "Marriage and life just seems as if it has pulled us apart. We used to ride all snuggled up together in this truck. We were so much closer. Now... look at the space between us."
Without hesitation the man replys, "I didn't move an inch. Dear, you are the one that scooted over."
The Lord remains in our life constant. Never moving, never leaving, and never ceasing to work. The problem lies in us... we scoot over. We let routine, or struggles get between us. We don't pray, or spend time in His word as we should. We don't seek Him and we fail to see Him.
The last part of the session was about activation. Service. We all know we are commanded to serve the Lord and this of course brings us closer to Him. Yet, we come up with excuses.
I'm too old/ too young...... I'm not married/I am married..... I don't have the education/I'm too educated.....My background is not desirable... and of course the most often given.... I'm too busy. Our speaker used Exodus 35: 22-29 as her text. These verses speak of wise women who worked with their hands and provided the fabric used in the tabernacle. They had willing hearts, and they gave their own precious resources. As an illustration to giving of our own precious resources she mentioned our children. What is more precious to our hearts than our own children. Her statement was, "What if the Lord asked your child to serve as a missionary. Would you be willing to let them go?" My answer of course was "Yes" If God called Carson to be a missionary, oh how happy we would be, and proud. As my mind wondered on this thought..... Carson a missionary..... telling others about Christ..... serving Him with His life.... tears filled my eyes and my heart was overhwhelmingly prodded as this thought smacked me in the face.
God has called Carson to serve Him with His life, and to be a testimony for Him. He gave my child a disability in order to show His strength, and His goodness. It is a opportunity for us to praise Him..... yet, I am not always willing to allow Carson, my son, my baby to do so. I get upset that He must struggle, I cry that He isn't like other children his age. Spina Bifida may be the exact thing that God gave our family as a means of service to Him, and I have two choices.
I will either allow the Lord to work, and be praised, pointing others to Him.
Or I refuse, gripe and complain, and hinder the Lord's purpose.
Yes, this weekend I was challenged.... and boy, I am glad. My brother reminded me of this last night.
Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. "