The Lord was kind to teach me (yet another) lesson in glorifying him this week.
I went into town to go to the grocery store. Afterwards, I stopped to fill up the gas tank because when you live in the middle of nowhere you never pass up a gas station. I only had cash, so I had to prepay. In line I was behind a sweet African-American lady. I only mention this fact because out here I have for real only seen 2 people with brown skin in the 3 months I’ve lived here - it’s very strange and very white. Suddenly she turned around and said, “I don’t mean to bother you, but could I ask you something….”
“Do you have spina bifida?” Now I get asked this question or something similar quite often as I wrote about recently on my friend Kate’s blog. I must confess that as a child/teen/young adult I was not kind to those who asked me this. I’d give curt answers, sarcastic answers, etc…but as I’ve aged I’ve lightened up about it and am open to talking about my stupid spine.
So, I answer the lady’s question. She responds with, “Oh I just wondered because my 6-year-old granddaughter has spina bifida and she can’t walk yet and I just wanted to know if there was any hope for her.”
Right at that exact moment, the cashier taking our money for the fuel needed the grandma’s attention. Thankfully the Lord prompted me to pray and I had about 90 seconds to pray and prepare for how to answer her.
As she turned around I was able to tell her about hope. Hope that her daughter, regardless of ability to walk, could have a good life. I told her about my childhood spent with wonderful friends and family. I told her about the blessing my education - a master’s degree, no less. I told her about my husband. I told her about my sweet, sweet baby. My perfectly healthy 13-month-old son whom I was blessed to carry and deliver and now parent. Most importantly, I was able to tell her about how all of this was the direct result of the kindness and faithfulness of Jesus. I wasn’t able to give a complete gospel presentation because the cashier needed me to pay for my gas so the line could keep moving, but I was able to get in most of my personal testimony.
With her eyes tearing up, she thanked me and was gone.
To glorify God.
Last week, I was invited to a “healing service” at a local charismatic/Pentecostal church. I respectfully declined. It’s not that I don’t think that God can/could heal me. I am 100% confident in the Lord’s ability to do so. That said I am equally confident in that I do not think it is the Lord’s will to do so. Call me crazy, but I think the Lord receives more glory in my limping around than he would if I was healed. You see, in my limping around, I stand out - I garner attention. That attention affords me the opportunity to share the wonderful news of Christ with others that I simply wouldn’t have if I was “normal.”
Now, this is not to say God wouldn’t be glorified had I been healed. But it’s more of a reflection of me. I know me. I know how fiercely independent I am. I fear that had the Lord healed me, no one would ever know because I, in my sinful pride, wouldn’t share about it. I know people whom the Lord has healed from diseases or delivered from sinful lifestyles who bring him tremendous glory so I say this not to belittle their ministry. It’s awesome when God does miraculous things. But it’s also awesome when God doesn’t heal but gives daily strength and grace to simply thrive.
Now I should have taken the opportunity to share this testimony with the sweet charismatic/Pentecostal lady who invited to this "healing service" but I was annoyed at her invitation and simply said, "no thank you." Just being transparent lest anyone think I've arrived. I have so far to go y'all.
Overall though I’m thankful that this is one way I can glorify God. And I am thankful that the Lord has disciplined me to the point that I can be mostly thankful for this (dis)ability to glorify to him.
I asked the Lord three times to take it away from me. He answered me, “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” I am happy to be weak and have troubles so I can have Christ’s power in me. I receive joy when I am weak. I receive joy when people talk against me and make it hard for me and try to hurt me and make trouble for me.
I receive joy when all these things come to me because of Christ.
For when I am weak, then I am strong. -- 1 Corinthians 12:8-10