Not many people will bend down to pick up a penny these days, but as I loaded groceries into my vehicle, I noticed one beside it. Now, as a self-proclaimed “overthinker,” I had to think about stooping down to pick it up prior to the actual event. In my thoughts, God spoke to me. (What? God doesn’t speak to you about currency? Don’t judge me.) I could’ve sworn I heard Him say, “You know, a lot of people want the blessings but there’s not a lot of people that are willing to do any work for them.” Whaa? God surprises me sometimes. And He surprised me this time because I actually understood what He’d said. While it’s true we don’t have to work to gain God’s grace and we don’t have to work to be forgiven, there is a certain amount of work and sacrifice that comes with His blessings. Now the “work” that I did wasn’t much. Picking up that penny wasn’t back-breaking labor, but I did have to do something. And to be quite honest, I was a little embarrassed to bend over to pick up that penny. What would people think? What might people think of my taking the time out of my day to do something so seemingly trivial? Would they think I (*gasp!) needed the money that bad? So many of us have a tendency to build our lives around what people will think of us. I think God was trying to show me something in that moment that gave some clarity to His blessings. As I stooped, in the rain no less, to pick up that wet penny, I saw a dime not too far from it. So I felt God smile as I smiled back and said, “Yes God, I’ll do the work.” God always “pays us” more than what we deserve. And he will never ever stop blessing us and blessing our work. God has a plan and a purpose; we just have to be about it.
The “fear of God” has always been an idea that hasn’t “set well” with me. I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach that makes me think, God, how are people supposed to feel comfy with you if you want them to be afraid of you too? In my busy lil’ head, I picture the individuals who have a problem with authority anyway, bucking at the very thought of bowing low to a God who wishes to be feared. I realize this is pride, not only within myself, but also within others as well. (We better stick together on this one…) Do you know what I mean? I catch myself in the shoes of an unbeliever a lot of times when sitting in services or worshipping and always have. I honestly believe it has a lot to do with my compassionate nature. I took a test once that showed my number one gift was hospitality. The last thing I would ever want is for someone to feel left out or alone. (And if anyone is ever uncomfortable in my home, Lord help me! I’ll make it right, I swear! Just gimme a chance!) This, of course, borders on unhealthy people-pleasing, but that’s another day’s therapy session.
In my ponderings, I think back to my own dad. He taught me more life lessons than he could ever know without even trying. Although I know he tried as he is very educated in human nature. I knew he loved me; that was never in question. Not once. I always knew he wanted what was best for me despite some of my decisions. He showed his love for me in numerous ways: from feeding me to clothing me to smacking me across the face once. (Oh, I deserved it, you can place your money on that.)Did anyone cringe? Because I still do. Not because it hurt, but because of the look in my dad’s eyes. It was one of hurt determination. All I remember about that moment was that I had disrespected him and my mother. Eek. That doesn’t set well with me either…to this day.
Proverbs 14:26-27 lets us know that he who fears the Lord has a secure fortress (Can I get an Amen? I need that!) and for his children it will be a refuge.( I’ll take that too.) It also states that the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life. (Can I get another Amen? Who doesn’t want more life in their lives?) I had a healthy, reverent fear for my father. I knew that he meant what he said and his reasons for saying so. I knew he loved me without abandon. I also knew that he wouldn’t tolerate disrespect in any way, shape, or form. I had a fear of my father, but not in the way one might think. This fear was about respect, reverence, and honoring his wishes.
God wants the same thing from us. Galatians 6:7 warns us that God cannot be mocked. We reap what we sow. I am thankful for a dad who was always seemed to be more than “just a dad”; he was a teacher as well, through both words, but more so through his actions. I am so thankful I had a father who taught me solid, Biblical principles.
If you were a healer of some sort, would you heal the same way every time? If you had the power to heal anyone and everyone, would you perform the miracle in the same manner in each circumstance? Would it always be instantaneous?
God has that power and He chooses to incorporate the personalities and the journeys of others so that our, and their faith, can not only grow but also provide and add to a testimony. God is a healer. He knows what He’s doing.
In a universe where He can do absolutely anything, He chooses to help us. He does that by using others and weaving them throughout our lives to construct an amazing material. He chases down some and removes others from our past in order to create the perfect timing that only He can. He hasn’t forgotten about us. He knows who we are. He knows how impatient we can be and He knows our frustrations. But in the end, all is well. All as well.