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Remember, from my last post, I said I wanted to review each ingredient to Beth's "fertilizer" for a 100-fold harvest. Of course, the "fertilizer" is from God. And packaged by Beth Moore!
The first ingredient I'll use to get a harvest from the word that He plants in my heart is to:
TREASURE THE WONDER!
Actually, I have nothing in my notes written down under this ingredient. That night I was determined to live in the moment.
I walked into the church Friday night and I was hungry. I knew I was going to have a feast laid out in front of me and I was determined to take in every morsel of bread that God wanted to give me. And, He had already told me that it would be a lot and that it would be really, really good.
That's why I don't have many notes. I didn't want to miss any of it. I wanted to taste it all. I didn't want to get so busy writing everything that I missed the meal. Which, if you have ever heard Beth Moore, you know you would have to have bionic hands, mind, and ears to write down everything she says!
Wouldn't it be silly to go to a covered dish dinner and be so busy asking for the recipes to all the delicious food, that you didn't have time to taste everything, and missed being filled up by all the great food someone had prepared for you!
However, "this food" kept getting better and better. So, I did have to reach in the ol' purse and pull out a pen. Just couldn't help it!! And though, I didn't get it all, I believe I got the jest of the recipe!
So, I'll share what I think this ingredient means. "To treasure the wonder."
The wonder....to open His word and find out He is talking to me!
The word of the God "...who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. Lift up your eyes on high, and see Who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one of them is missing." (from Isaiah 40: 22-23, 26)
The wonder is that this God, the One and Only God, wants to talk to me. To me! That's the wonder I'm treasuring.
I could sit here all day and write about the times He has spoken to me through His word. Answered questions. Revealed Himself to me. But, Friday night as Beth talked about the wonder of His word, my mind went back to the time when Ethan was in the hospital.
I'd like to share it with you. It's just one of the many wonders I treasure from His word.
Ethan was injured in Gainesville. After spending 16 days in ICU, God made a way for us to have him transferred to a hospital back home. He was transported by ambulance, still breathing with the help of a ventilator. He remained in ICU for another 8 days. He was then transferred to a room on a floor called the Progressive Care Unit. A step down from ICU. A step up from the regular floor. That room became our home for 43 days.
I consider those days to be days I spent in a very dark and lonely desert. A desert God called me into. A time mostly spent alone. Alone in my grief and despair. Alone with Him. And those most desperate days were, in so many ways, the sweetest days of my life. Even though my baby was in a coma, with no human hope of him waking up, God was with me. God was there with me. He talked to me. He held me. He told me over and over again how He had forgiven me. He took apart, piece by piece, the wall of lies that I had believed for so many years, that had separated me from the truth about Him.
I spent hour after hour alone. Nurses would come and go. They would do what they needed to do and leave. There were a few that stopped to talk. To cry a few tears with me. Mostly they were completely silenced by the grief and sadness that permeated the room. They seemed to know that there was nothing they could say that would make my burden lighter. And they were right. There wasn't.
But, God was there. And, He became very precious to me.
On the way to Gainesville, after we received the phone call, Jim and I both desperately called out to God. We were prodigal children who were beginning to turn their faces toward Home. The Father was waiting. Waiting for us. There aren't words to express His presence in the car with us that evening. The only way I can describe it is, a "knowing." I'm sure that doesn't make sense. But we knew.
His presence was supernatural. I actually felt Him hovering over us. Like the cloud that led the Israelites in the wilderness. And I was amazed and humbled. So humbled and amazed, I began to try to figure it out.
For me, everything about my relationship with God had been based on a point system. I did this, I got a point. I did that, lost two. I finally got so sick of trying to stay in the black (I couldn't) that I threw the whole thing out the window. And unfortunately, I tried to throw my relationship with God out with it. Why stay in a losing game? Trying to barter with God was all I knew. I had heard you were saved by grace, but then somehow the "holy point system" kicked into effect. "Oh foolish Cheri, who has bewitched you...?" (Gal 3:1-3)
And then at the worst time in my life, when I had nothing to give but a broken heart, a broken life, and a broken child, God was there. Pouring out His Comfort and Strength. He revealed Himself in the most unbelievable ways. And I had done nothing to deserve it. I was covered with the slime of the life I had chosen. Like the prodigal son who had run away, I felt covered with the smell of the pigs in the fields. But God didn't care. He came and sat with me and told me about Himself.
I was confused. I kept telling God it wasn't right. It wasn't right for Him to be so good to me. Was I imagining it? I knew I wasn't. You don't imagine that kind of strength and comfort when your world is falling apart, and you have no control of anything. When your baby is so broken and modern medicine had no offer of hope. How could He be as good to me as He had been to people who had walked with Him their whole lives? People that had never wandered away from Him. I didn't understand.
A friend came by the hospital to see me and brought me a journal. I looked through it. I noticed some verses on the first few pages. Remember, I didn't have any Christian books. I hadn't been involved in any Bible studies. I hadn't been in God's word for a long time. After I had thrown the point system out thew window, I started running. Trying to run away from God. And I had been running a very long time. I had my Bible and a legal-sized pad that I used to write down my prayers, and verses that God was using to teach me about Himself. That was pretty much it.
I was hungry for direction. For answers. We didn't turn on the television. It was too painful to watch life going on as normal, without Ethan.
I looked up the verses in the front of the journal.
One of the verses came from Matthew 20. It was the parable about the landowner who hired people to work in his vineyard. The laborers who were to work a full day agreed to be paid a denarius for their work. The landowner hired some more people to work in his vineyard for half of the day and some to work for just an hour or two. Needless to say those first hired that had worked a whole day were none to happy and a bit confused that the ones that worked much less got paid the same amount by the landowner. I don't really blame them. I think we would have all felt that way.
But the landowner said, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?" (Mat 20:13-15)
The words "I am generous" jumped off the page. He is generous. God is generous. That was my answer. It was Him. The comfort. The strength. His presence. Faith. It's all His and He can give it to whomever He wishes. And for a reason that is far too great for this mind to understand, He wished to give it to me!!!
He had given me my answer. And it didn't have anything to do with me. Or the point system! It was all about Him. He taught me His truth through the same story He used to teach the disciples about the Kingdom of God two thousand years ago.
His word is as alive now as it was then. It still answers our questions.
That's one of the many wonders of His word that I will always treasure. I will treasure it by remembering and cherishing it. And by sharing it. I will treasure it when I ask God and believe.
Because He is generous.