If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:5
It was a close call, but grace stepped in. Every year, our church sends a group of missionaries to help process Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in Atlanta. “Atlanta,” you say? “I didn’t know they needed missionaries in Atlanta?” Well, missionaries, at least to some degree, are folks who take a good message or do a good deed to a needy place and trust me that is anywhere and everywhere. But in this case, it was also an opportunity to be a part of something very big that would impact thousands and thousands of people with the joy of a gift in the shape of a shoebox filled with items of love and the joy of a gift in the shape of a cross and an empty tomb—the message of Jesus.
Well, last year I almost didn’t make it. I almost missed the boat. The week of the trip, two families in our church lost loved ones and as pastor and friend, I was asked to do the services for their loved ones—two precious mothers. As it turned out the services would be held almost immediately after my return from Atlanta. Add to that, each service would require more than a few hours of preparation. I believe each funeral service should be crafted in prayer and made as personal as possible and that requires time. So, I told Judy I just didn’t think I could make the trip. It would just be easier if I stayed back and worked. She wanted very much for me to go but also knew the importance of the task at hand.
After some discussion, the decision was made…she would go, and I would stay. I had made this trip several times and I knew it was going to be meaningful but easier just sounded easier. But then she said something that caused me to re-evaluate. It was something like, “Now, don’t be upset when I come back and tell you what a good time we had.” It was a moment of clarity. It caused me to remember the times before and that feeling of making a difference, the times of fellowship with the team, and at that moment, I knew I needed to go. This time easier just wasn’t the best choice.
I began immediately to prepare the services and asked God to multiply the time that I had. Then, Tuesday morning, the next day, with almost thirty others, I boarded the bus and headed to Atlanta…and it was an incredible trip. The journey, the destination, the work was all just incredible. We got back in town Thursday evening, and I went straight back to working to finish the two funeral services. In my heart I knew I had made the right decision. The first service was Friday, and it was my privilege to stand before a group of people and share about a life well lived and a great God who loves us—a bunch. The other service wasn’t till Sunday and, unknown to me, I would not be there for that one. I would be at home with the flu. Fortunately, the work for the service was done and someone else would use that work. God knew all of this and used all of this. Amazing.
Each day we are challenged to make decisions. Sometimes they are obvious and sometimes they are not. Sometimes the choice is between easy and hard. Ask God for wisdom to make the right one. Oh, you will miss it sometimes regardless, but I have learned that He has a way of honoring our hearts and intentions. I just know that this time the easy thing was not the right thing…it was just easy. I returned from Atlanta not depleted and tired but filled and refreshed. Helping others has a way of doing that. And, God, well, He always does all things, well!
James, the half-brother of Jesus, says in the Book of the Bible that bears His name, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” You gotta love that. Need wisdom? Just ask. Will He be upset because you “bothered” Him? Absolutely not. He is like a dearest daddy just waiting to help and the reason why He is like that is because that’s what He is—our Dearest Daddy. So, as you journey life today and you come to those crossroads called decisions, no matter how simple or complex, just ask and He will be there for you. Don’t worry, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne