Rom 7:14-15 “Yes. I’m full of myself — after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison.” (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)
Last week I shared with you the miraculous healing of Donovan’s bird Mexico (see Empty handed leads to Fullness from God Part 1). Empty-handed we came to God, and we were blessed beyond belief. However there is a second part to this story, one that I am not that proud of. You see, when I found out that my youngest son had stepped on the bird, I understood that it had been an accident. However, when I discovered it had happened a few hours earlier, and that he hadn’t told us about the accident, I got upset. I started to yelling at him, going on and on about how important it is that we try and take care of our pets, and that if something happens, he is to let his parents know immediately. Nag, nag, nag. He was in tears before long, but this didn’t stop me, although I hugged him! Later, he confided in my wife that he hadn’t come to me immediately because he was afraid I would be angry. This shook me, and God’s Spirit started speaking to me. I realized that this was a problem in my life, not only with my children, but also with my wife, me students, everyone. I am a nagger and I was completely unaware of it! I asked God’s forgiveness, and He impressed me that I had to go for a power walk. Well, it was too cold for a power “walk”, so we compromised on a power “drive” — to work the next morning. During our time, God help me to understand why I nag: 1. I don’t know how to handle the situation; 2. I want to be in control of the situation; and 3. I was concerned about time. “But Lord, what should I do when the next situation comes up?” I asked. The answer was simple: “Who is the One who knows what to do in every situation? Who is the One who is always in control of any situation? Who is the One who has control over time?” I realized then and there that instead of trusting in the Lord, I was trying to solve my own problems. I was too full of me. Just like John the Baptist, I had to “decrease”, so that God could “increase” (John 3:30-31)! I made the resolution that from that moment on, whenever I faced a situation, I would wait for the Lord and not react immediately. Better be quiet (prayerfully) for a couple of seconds or even minutes, than trying to be in control. God would take care of the rest. But there was still one problem: My reactions had been forming for 40 years! How was I supposed to remember to react differently when I had such a long-standing habit of reacting the old way? I cried out to God: “Lord, you know how forgetful I am. How will I remember my resolution the next time I am in a tough spot?” His answer took me by surprise: “I will give you your answer today. Wait expectantly for it.” Wow! I wasn’t sure what it would be, but I was anxious to find out! When I arrived at school, I went immediately out for yard duty. As the kids were pouring off the school buses, a girl from grade 6 approached me with a big smile. She had just joined our Bible Club 2 weeks ago. She said to me, “Mr. Chaffar, this is for you. I bought this for you this weekend.” And she proceeded to hand me a colorful WWJD (What would Jesus Do) bracelet. I was stunned. I knew immediately that this was God’s promised surprise. What better way to remind me of my promise? I am constantly using my hands. I can see the bracelet when I teach and when I am with my family. And the difference became immediate noticeable. My students noted, with surprise, my calmness in the classroom. I didn’t need to raise my voice any longer, because God was in control! God could have led the student to give me that bracelet another day or another week, but it wouldn’t have meant the same. Instead, He promised to help me, and He did. Again the following text came to my mind: Rom 5:3-5 “We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary — we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.) My friend, whatever your problem is, come empty-handed to God. He will fill them up beyond your dreams. If your hands are full, drop whatever they contain. God’s rewards are far beyond whatever anyone’s hands can contain. You won’t be disappointed!
In His love,
Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org
(To access the entire “Empty-Handed Leads to Fullness From God” mini-series, please click here.)