A month ago it was my turn to lead our Life group discussion on Kris Vallottons’s book the, “Supernatural Ways of Royalty.” A fantastic read poignantly reminding us we are God’s royal Princesses and Princes. Simple truths, reiterating who we are in Christ Jesus and walking it out with confident trust. Since “The Royal Flush” was the title of chapter 4, I thought it would be clever to play on the words using tools gleaned from a small group training last Fall. So, what better way to start the evening off than an Ice Breaker using playing cards? Four different suits, four different questions … having them pick a card any card. Sharing the following based on which one they selected.
The Heart … What is on your heart?
The Spade… What do you want to cultivate in your life?
The Diamond… What is precious to you?
The Club … What do you want to work on getting rid of in your life?
Everyone selected a card conveying their choice and what it meant to them. After all had shared it was my turn to talk, revealing the Spade in my hand declaring how I wanted to “cultivate” my faith. It sounded spiritual and all grown up… someone who had put their Big Girl pants on. Having no idea the next two weeks would give ample opportunity to “Cultivate ” my faith.
Here’s the hand I was dealt, starting out with…
My husband loosing half a tooth while eating his sandwich………… $167 after insurance.
Our family car died as we pulled into United Battery’s parking lot to drop off our son’s old battery ………….$98.00 for a new battery.
Realizing our alternator was the main culprit…. “DOA” ………………….. $200.
Next, this same car did not pass DMV and needed the EGR replaced ………….$216.
Yep, you guessed it, our family car was on a roll… one tire was nearly flat and all 4 were balding ……..$599.
Mixing it up and changing gears, the old Lap Top computer kicked the bucket ……..$229.
However, the piece de resistance was the sewer pipe blowing its lid (unbeknownst to us) landing all our Royal Flushing smack dab onto the front yard; for only God knows for how long. FYI… For those inquiring minds that wonder how we could not have noticed this, we always enter and exit using our side door. Temporary sewer fix….$160
Believe me, I’ve had way too much fun thinking about this last one. The thought of bubbling crude erupting like old faithful gushing out onto the yard. Dingy white toilet paper clinging on for dear life draping Mugho Pines and a nearby Candy Tuft. Wondering what the dear postman thought as he whistled happily up the walkway delivering our mail, clueless to this now primitive sewage system. Wishing at least we could have provided a sign warning, “Their She Blows” before he embarked up to the mailbox so innocent and unaware.
Makes me wonder if praying to cultivate my faith fell along the same lines as praying for patience. Desiring a goal devoid of the pain, or the process of getting there. More often than not, in order to develop patience it requires having difficulties to encounter. For example, you pack for a balmy trip to Cancun and are greeted with the biting cold of Nome Alaska instead.
Perhaps my pageant answer was too cliche when it was my turn to share. If I had truly thought through what it means to “Cultivate”, another card would have been my choice. Webster’s dictionary defines it: “to loosen and break up the soil, to improve by labor, care, or study”… adding in unpleasant manure is usually part of the process. Flowery words spoken dare not grow nor thrive without being planted in rich fertile soil. What you practice is way more challenging than merely preaching. Still, my heart has a deep longing to live with authentic faith. Having well worn rubber meet life’s hard to travel roads. Being mindful that there isn’t a day that goes by, that I haven’t fallen short and my faith tires have gone flat. Thankfully, God already knows, His countless promises remind me of that.
Psalms 73:26 says: “My flesh and my heart fails: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”
Feeling like doodoo has hit the fan? Your desire is to press into the Lord but you can’t wade through all the manure of life. Good News! God is there with wading boots on, ready to pull you out of the muck and mire. Your needs, well, God has them covered too; He provides daily manna from Heaven a rich storehouse of provision.
All the drains to our bank account did increase my faith for when I cried uncle God showed up. Writing this story I’m conscious that many of you have far greater situations to recover from. May I encourage you, God is faithful and nothing comes as a surprise to Him. He knows when your toilet overflows, or if someone you love walks away. No matter how great or small, God sees it all and cares with a love that is outrageous.
Father God, thank you that you hold our times in your hands, all our needs, hurts, and fears are safe in your redeeming grace filled hands. Hands that rock mercy, display forgiveness and reach out to us with tender compassion… a winning hand time after time.