So, my roommate and I got back safely from Florida. I tried to post this several days ago (via phone because my antiquated computer was having an antisocial day), but then my phone decided the antisocial game looked like fun too and just like that my post was thwarted. Well played, technology, well played. If you were following along, God was doing big things in my friend Scott’s life. He has been hospitalized for the better part of 7 months now, and is finally home but has a long road back. God has been telling me for awhile that someone needed to lay hands on him and pray for a healing – both physical and spiritual. I had a hard time facilitating this from New York, with him living in Orlando, but when I was there in person for 10 whole nights, it was game on. If you were one of the many praying for us, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Anyway, the prayer for Scott happened. The results didn’t. I could feel God moving in those moments, I could feel things getting shaken up, but nothing actually physically happened. It was sort of anticlimactic really. I am trying to shed this part of myself that looks for results when I obey and serve, but part of me still totally does it. If I’m told to lay hands on someone and pray, told repeatedly for months, I want to lay hands on that person and have them be healed. I want the disabled to get up and walk. I want my friend Scott, who has been ventilator-dependent since 1989 or so, to suddenly breathe on his own. Or at least stop feeling like he isn’t getting enough air even though he is. I want results. I want miracles. I know God is able to do these things. So I want Him to go ahead and do them. And I want to see it happen. Maybe it’s an area of unbelief in my heart. Maybe it’s a pride thing, wanting to be the one to ‘usher in’ the miracle when I know full well I have nothing to do with it. Probably it’s both.
Either way, I am working on shedding this desire, to serve for serving’s sake. After all, I’m just delighted to be His, to love Him and be loved by Him and to let that love pour out onto the world. It doesn’t really matter what I accomplish in the meantime. Right? Right.
Since I have yet to convince my heart of this, and still have a desire to see that pesky proof, doing the work without the results is frustrating. Coming home from Orlando, with Scott still heavy on my heart, I drove my roommate in to work. Several weeks ago I’d had the chance to chat with and pray for two homeless men. Wouldn’t you know, God sent both men back into my path on this day. One was a bit disillusioned that his circumstances hadn’t really changed despite our prayer and my delivering a word from God to him. The other man was asleep but by the looks of him, his circumstances hadn’t changed much either. I know, I know, these things take time. But it still sort of tied in with my ‘results’ theme of late.
So it was that a few days later (this brings us to yesterday), I was riding home from the nursing home after visiting my roommate’s mother (she had a tough day – something was wrong and she was clearly uncomfortable but we couldn’t get to the bottom of it no matter what I did). The weather was nasty, that need for visible results was pecking away at my heart and brain, I felt bad that I couldn’t help Jimmy’s mother, and I admit it: I had a bit of a moment. A sort of “why am I here if everything I do is useless?” moment. I mean, yes I obey. But surely God would be better served with someone who actually has success when they obey?
Yes, I know better. Like I said, it was a moment. Lord forgive my unbelief.
In that moment of despondency, however, I happened to look out the window, back towards the city. And in the midst of the storm clouds, still surrounded by storm on all sides in fact, a window of clear skies opened up over the skyline. With storm clouds to the horizon in all directions, there was in that one spot, the one place I’d been told to come to and where I hear God’s voice the most clearly, the sun came out and shone over Manhattan. Sunlight in the storm. Just what I needed to see.
Yes, logically, I know that weather patterns are not formed specifically to brighten my moods. But in that moment, I could totally hear God saying “See? I’m still here. I’ve still got this. Nothing to worry about.”
That, my friends, is the mercy and attention of the God we serve. Even when I’m learning the lesson of not relying on physical results to gauge my success in Him, He still sends me little signs of encouragement. Who else can give sunshine in the storm? Every day His love continues to amaze me.