Thursday, October 16, 2014

What's in Your Hand?

                   What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The Lord did not appear to you'?" Then the Lord said to him, "What is that in your hand?"   God and Moses, Exodus 4:1-2

It has been as unrelenting as a Plains wind in April. Every week, every day, every hour of every day the bad news pounds our senses. We seek solace and find it not in ordinary places. We need what the old spiritists called "thin places" where the eternal was somehow closer to the temporal and those ancient truths were more readily discovered and felt. Quite often it was on a wild mountain or deep forest or blue ocean a thin place was thought to exist.  But even if you discover the "thin places" there is the call back to daily living and the thick places of war, ISIS, Ebola, poverty, drugs, immorality, and Godlessness weigh us down again.

I want to help. I  really do. I don't know how. I really don't. I pray daily, often through the day and many times during the day for the victims, the abused, the forgotten, the diseased, and the discarded. I pray for those close to me whose names form easily on my lips and are spoken in love to God's heart. I pray for those with no names known to me, whose faces are unfamiliar to me, whose faith or lack of it are different from mine. They are uneasy prayers in that I don't know how God will respond or answer. But I don't know what else to do.

I want to help, to fix this thing. But I have no diplomatic skills, no political clout, not even an army to prevent a war or a madman or a mad religion. Those who supposedly possess these things and are wise in their use have had no success either. The death toll rises, as do the refugee camps. Broken homes, broken families, broken nations, and broken lives mount up.  I would like to help end and prevent war, but I don't know how.

I have no medical, scientific or research skills to end disease and its death. Ebola is the latest scare as it has come to the west and is not respectful of relative wealth, status, influence, facilities, or anything thought protected us. Passports, TSA screening, medical bulletins and tv reports haven't stopped it. In the wrong circumstances it will attack like cancers, Alzheimer's, ALS, the flu, heart failure and a hundred other diseases.  Today we are so much better off than ever before and yet Ebola reminds we have so far to go. I don't know how to stop disease and its pain and its deaths. I want to help. I pray. I give blood. I hope. I just don't know what else to do.

I want to help but I have no legal skills or political office. People are hurting, abused, forgotten, needy, often by no fault of their own. They have physical issues, mental issues, domestic violence issues. They need help. They need justice. They need a fair chance. Some new laws might help. Some lawmakers seeking justice instead of re-election or money for special interests might go along way. There are people that get into the courts and legislatures and battle for justice, on the personal level and institutional (governmental, medical, financial-economic, legal, educational, etc)  level. There are not enough of them. I do not think I am one of them. I pray. I vote, but I still want bananas for 40 cents a pound and I like my shirts cheaper because they are made by cheap labor in Singapore. I don't help like I could.

So I ask myself, 'how do I live in this world where so much needs to be done and I seem so ill-equipped, powerless, too far removed to affect much'? Then I recalled a fugitive shepherd on the far side of the desert, far removed from the capitals and leading cities of his day. His name was Moses. He was called by God to a task he felt ill equipped to handle. Too much baggage, too poorly spoken, too far removed, too many bad memories, too entrenched in today's living...go away God, I can't do it. Even if I did, who would believe me of all people?
Then God asked Moses, "what's in your hand?"  It's the same question He asks all of us, what has he placed in our hands? Answer it. It is an extremely important question, maybe only one other is more important.

'What is in my hand?'  is the same question God asked Moses long ago.  I must answer it myself. What is in my hands? God has placed in my hands a pulpit. It is a place to stand, to proclaim, to question, to correct, to encourage, to bless and share the greatness of God, the salvation of Christ, and the hope of eternity. There may be those present with other things placed in their hands, things that heal, that administer justice, and make peace. Maybe the pulpit is a burning bush with questions about Presence, thin places, and gifts placed in hands needing to be placed in service. I have a pulpit.

I have a pen. I can write, not as well as most, not as prolific as some but maybe my pen strokes the imagination of one who helps one who helps another who brings peace, hope and health to one forgotten or discarded. There may never be a lasting word from my pen but possibly its scribbles drew a line to Christ for someone and their own personal question of what is in their hand was read. I have a pen.

I have a prayer. It is heard. It is considered. It is answered. It is the least I can do. NO! It is the most I can do. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds, arguments, and every pretension raised up against the knowledge of God.... II Cor. 10: 5    Prayer is divine power. I don't see it in my hands because I keep reaching for other weapons. But I have divine power to be used! Whatever that implies, I have a  prayer.

I want to help. I really do. I have a pulpit. I have a pen. I have a prayer. It is what God has placed in my hands. The question, 'what is in your hand?' is important to Kingdom living in a hurting, warring, diseased, and broken world. There is, however, one more important. What's in your heart? The hands will go no farther than the heart directs.

What's in your hands?