By Pegi Bricker
The phrase “Life Happens” is about as true as any secular phrase I have ever heard.
I won’t list all the ways it is happening around the Bricker home or even the ways the Lord has been leading, cleansing and showing us his faithfulness and goodness right now because, well, life is happening big time. But God.
My best friend’s husband is gravely ill. They have a plan she tells me often. I have a plan also. I am going to trust that she and Mike are hearing from the Lord God and that his plan is their plan. Therefore, I am praying for them to hear his plan daily, a plan for peace, for comfort, for joy in their time together according to his will. But God.
Writing about Michael causes me to think about God’s plans — plans for life and abundant life now, plans for redemption and redeeming the time now and plans for giving and giving out of our need.
One of the most giving people I have ever met is Michael. I honestly cannot remember all of the times Tina and Mike have visited, and after they were on that almost three-hour drive home, we found a small scrap of a note by the bathroom sink with $20 or more saying “From Jesus.” I doubt they haven’t done this to many others multiple times a week for years.
I have witnessed Mike speaking to a waitress and then slipping her money after asking for the check from another table, plus giving her a nice tip. Usually, the person he blesses is a man, quietly eating alone with a faraway look in his eyes. Sometimes, it is a lone woman corralling her children while feeding a baby nervously looking around at the glaring eyes of judgment we so often have ourselves.
Now Mike and Tina are not wealthy if you were to define wealth in the way of our society. But God. They are some of the richest I know. When I see Michael one day, he and his beloved Tina will be struggling from the weight of jewels in their crowns as they toss them at the feet of Jesus. They have taught me a very intense lesson on giving out of need.
Keith Green’s song “Make My Life a Prayer to You” comes to mind as I ponder life, giving and redeeming our time on Earth. The lines “I want to do what you want me to, no empty words and no white lies, no token prayers, no compromise.” Then continues this convicting tune, “It’s so hard to see when my eyes are on me.” Ouch!
Mark 12 and Luke 21 teach us a lesson on giving straight from the Lord Jesus. A poor widow gave her last two mites (one penny total) to the collection box of the temple. She gave out of her need, Jesus teaches, which meant more to him than the large amounts the rich gave for all to see in their religious pride.
Again, we see a lesson on giving out of need in 1 Kings 17 as a widow obeys the Lord God in giving her last bit of flour and oil she was planning to use to feed herself and her son a last tiny meal before they were to die of starvation. The widow obeys out of her need and uses all she has to make some bread for Elijah. But God.
Elijah tells her what the Lord always tells us, “Don’t be afraid.” Guess what, yes, her flour and oil never ran out until the day of rain came and the crops could once again be sowed and reaped.
A biblical law paraphrased states, “You reap what you sow.” Some say this and call it karma. I am telling you from experience what comes around truly does go around. You can’t plant pungent onions and reap sweet corn. Period.
Sow out of your need, just do it. What do you need? The need doesn’t need to be money or even provisions. Michael has a very bad report from his doctors. When others come to him to pray for him, he prays for them. Just as a side note, whose reports do you think they are believing? You got it, Michael and Tina Parks are believing the report of the Lord. They have a plan. Trust God.
Are you lonely? Get out of the house and go love someone. Talk to a person at the store in the checkout line or as they ponder which cantaloupe to sniff next. Listen to their story. Ask if you may pray for them. Only once have I heard “No thank you’ to this request.” People are searching and seeking for anything and anyone who can love them, help them, show them some way better.
Let’s reveal the father’s heart of God to them, as he is the only true help that truly can help, and his son, Jesus, is the only true way to him and life eternal. Give out of your need and you will be surprised at the joy you will develop.
Are you chronically ill or in pain? Do all you can do to minister healing to someone else through a letter, a visit, a prayer, a phone call. Currently, this is my mission. I fall or tip something over trying not to fall several times a week; however, my hands work, so I write letters containing scriptural promises of healing to others who are in need of a word of encouragement and of love, out of my need for God’s Word and his promises.
Are you in need of food, clothing? Look at the lilies and the birds. God cares for them, and how much more do you think he cares for you? Look around, there is help, there is hope, there is love.
Are you anxious? Cast your cares on Jesus. Cast as in cast, throw it out with force.
Need mercy? Show mercy.
Need forgiveness? Forgive as God has forgiven you.
I realize those who take the time to read my thoughts are the proverbial choir to whom I preach. I have been extremely blessed by texts, hugs and words of encouragement from total strangers and friends alike about this column. Thank you so much. The initial intention of said column was to shed light on the point of view of a differently abled person with multiple sclerosis.
Yes, I do the basic activities of daily living differently than most could ever imagine, but this is not my identity. Yes, I have MS. But God. First, I am a child of God, then I am a wife to a saint, a mother and a nana to my amazing granddaughters. I just happen to have an incurable, painful and chronic disease that quite frankly wreaks havoc with every system of my body and aspect of my life except my point of view. I choose to take my eyes off me so I can see the world all around me.
How do you eat an elephant? The same way you save the world — one bite, one person, one smile, one word at a time. Where do you start, change your point of view, but do remember what Jesus taught, get the log out of your own eye so you can then help with the speck in another’s. God bless your walk as you reach out and give from your need.