“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand” (Psalm 139:17-18 NAS).
We all love verses like this. They remind us that God loves us and thinks about us often. We are not lost or forgotten. We are children of the Creator! In prayer, we boldly go before the throne of God the Father to seek His will and to make our petitions.
Like all children, though, we have a tendency to be self-centered. We have such a powerful, intimate relationship with the Father that sometimes we imagine we’re an only child, the sole recipient of God’s time and affection. After a while, we can start to think that every situation is about us. Whether it’s a lesson we need to learn or an opportunity to grow, we imagine ourselves as the leading actor in every scene of our lives.
But our faith isn’t just between us and God. Our kingdom is full of other believers—brothers and sisters in Christ—all of whom have needs and desires just like we do.
It’s true that God called us to have a child-like faith, full of hope and dependent upon God. (See Mark 10:13-15.) However, He did not want us to have a childish faith, focused on ourselves and ignorant of the needs of those around us. (See 1 Corinthians 13:11.)
I admit I’ve been guilty of this childish behavior—as recently as last week. Over a year ago, a pine tree fell from the property behind us, across the corner of our yard, coming to rest in the tree limbs above the house of our next door neighbor, Lynn. We’ve spent months trying to get the owners to resolve the situation before it got worse. Then its weight finally brought down an oak tree into our yard, and we spent more time sorting out who’s negligent, what insurance can be applied, who has to remove what, and who has to pay for it.
Through it all, I’ve been focused on my needs. But all my worrying and fussing has only made the situation more frustrating for me and my husband.
I was on the verge of giving up and just calling a lawyer when I finally (belatedly) asked God for His direction on the matter. Much to my surprise, He didn’t seem concerned about my sense of right and wrong; I suppose He’s the only one who can keep a proper tally of such things. He wasn’t worried about my need for judgment, either, for He is the only true Judge. And He wasn’t fretting about our finances because He’s in control of our income and expenses.
Instead, God showed me what’s on His mind: our neighbor Lynn. He reminded me that Lynn is a disabled senior citizen on a limited income. She can’t afford to remove her portion of the tree, let alone repair a damaged home. It’s even possible Lynn could be injured or killed if the tree were to fall on her roof, and God doesn’t want that to happen.
I felt so convicted! While my heart had been turned inward, God’s heart was focused on Lynn and what she needs. I know God loves me as much as He loves Lynn and, yes, this will work out for the good for all of us. (See Romans 8:28.) But this issue is about Lynn and making sure she’s safe in her own home.
In other words, this isn’t about me.
God’s Hands and Feet
My husband and I now have an appointment to have the tree removed. Lynn offered to pay us back in installments, but we declined. Once we realized that God wanted to work through us to bless Lynn, we knew we had to be obedient.
We all love it when God moves in our lives, when we’re the focus of His blessings. But as we grow in the faith, we learn that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NAS). We should want God to trust us to be His messengers, comforters, teachers, and servants. It should be our heart’s desire to be God’s hands and feet in this world.
I encourage you to seek God’s heart in every situation. Don’t be discouraged if you realize God isn’t focused on you, but instead ask God how He wishes to use you to bless others. You may be surprised to find out how much of a blessing it can be just to be useful in the kingdom of God.
~ By Ashley L. Jones of BigSisterKnows.com