There are not many people these days who can stop me in my tracks and make me think, but luckily my pastor is one of those people who has magical “make me think” powers. Last week while expecting to drop my daughter off at her church youth class, grab a cup of hot chocolate, shake hands, and sing songs, I instead left with thoughts swimming in my mind which I knew needed “fixing”. Maybe like me you’ll stop in your tracks and need some fixing of your own when you think about the following questions – Are you worried about how God is fixing up all of the external things in your life from your marriage, your friendships, your finances, your education, your job, your ability to have a child, etc. instead of what needs fixing on the inside? Do you think healing your faith is as important as what life throws at you? Do you get mad at God because you don’t think he is fixing the outside things fast enough? Well, I do. Many times, for me, unfortunately, God becomes no more than a Santa Claus in the sky.
What makes things worse is my difficulty with prayer and when I do pray it is usually when my life is in dire straits instead of praying for my spiritual revival. Prayer in my life comes at the ugly cry moments. The moments when all I want to do is go out to my car and hit my head against the steering wheel. Yet if you think about it, what is more important – life possessions or Godly possessions? For instance, is it more important to dream of moving to a new neighborhood with a bigger house by next year and locating a dream job or leaving God at the front door knocking? This is my life right now. In the past, I’ve answered to greed, jealousy, and pride instead of answering to God’s knock. Admittingly, my own need to control has not left much room for God’s plan. Many times I have asked God – do you even care and do you really want what is best for me? It’s taken me a lifetime to realize what is most important. In my lifetime, I went to religion school but never felt it, had a husband believe and then not believe, and had family and best friends who questioned everything there is to question about God and religion and then walked the other way. It has not been a straight journey for me. There have been many detours, merges, and turn signs in my life. My life story is a perfect example of someone who cannot throw stones because there are many stones to throw my way. God has knocked and I have not always answered.
This leads me to if I were God. If I were God, my actions would be similar to Jim Carey in Almighty Bruce who decided what prayers to answer. My prayers would stay in the “if I have time” or “later” pile, but luckily this is not our God. Our God cares what is on the inside. From other people, we can hide what we’re feeling on the inside, but God can see us in any tunnel or any storm. The reason God concentrates on the inside first is because the outside is all circumstantial but the inside is where we hold our core. On the outside, a terrible storm such as a divorce may feel like a life time of pain, but for people who are divorced they will admit divorce is not easy, but they eventually learn their new normal. If I look back at all of my difficult storms in life from having epilepsy, miscarriages, lay-offs, infidelities, etc. – eventually I can see the sun comes up from the rain. Of course, it would be great to have a crystal ball at the time or have God erase all the pain, but this is where we have to have faith it will work out in the end. We may not forget, but we can heal. Our insides are a bigger deal. Our insides and what we believe and feel are not temporary situations. If we are depressed, anxious, lose hope, or don’t have our Faith – God wants to work on these areas first. God cares about having a relationship with us. He wants to help us from the inside out, but he can’t work on the outside if he doesn’t fix the inside. It is like our physical core if it is not strong we cannot walk, jump, or run. All of our necessities are gone. This is similar to God. He cares about what is holding us back from what we really need. This is obvious if you’ve ever been to church or read a verse in the Bible and it seems like the pastor or bible verse is talking directly to you. What I have observed is God works in mysterious ways of how he brings people to believe in him. Over the years, I’ve heard from people who talk about dreams, divine interventions, and for me personally how someone said word for word what I asked and needed to hear in a very vulnerable time of my life. The hard part is we don’t know God’s plan, but we need to ask do we trust him? When times get hard, can we look towards him and nothing else? If you’re like me, you may say “I am not sure.” This is why this sermon was so important for me because I knew, right then and there, God needed to work on my insides. Let me not fool you I am still a student of this lesson, but know somehow through snow, rain, and storms – God will help me find my way. It will take a lot of fixing up to do in my brain, my soul, and my heart, but know God has the right tools to nail it all together. I alone have never had the right tools. Alcohol, denial, and self-pity will never be the right tools. So if you’re like me, you may want to ask God to fix up what really needs fixing not what is temporary or what is your current storm in life. Then you may be able to build a foundation rather than a house that will fall anytime a new storm hits.