Tag Archives: God at work

How about some good news?

One of our members, Rosario Gibbs, posted this on her Facebook page. I’m sharing it with her permission:

My church served single mothers through a ministry called LOFT. Every year on Christmas, our church would ask families to sponsor a single mother and her children with Christmas gifts. Two years ago, I was walking the aisles of Walmart, buying items off the gift list we got from one of the single moms and her three children, and as I was looking into the shelves, a Walmart employee stops me and asks, in Spanish, if I’d accept an employee discount card that she had. Me, not fully understanding what she meant, asked if she was offering me her discount card for free, and she said “yes, I am done with my shopping and I don’t need this card, so I asked God to show me the right person and I think it’s you, it’s a 25% discount card.” She said she needed to go with me to the cashier cause she needed to sign to get the discount for me. I said “ok, but I’m not done yet,” and she said she’d wait for me at the cashier. When I was done, I met her at the cashier and she made the discount available to my purchase. I gave her a hug and told her about my church’s ministry and who she was blessing with that act of kindness, she said she knew God would point her to the right person. And I left amazed at God’s mysterious ways and grace.
Last week on Wednesday, a 22 year old male tragically passed away, he was the son of a lady that’s been visiting our church for over a month now, with whom I hadn’t spent much time during church. She was obviously devastated and requested visits and prayers. By Thursday, she was dealing with the unfortunate and painful fact that she didn’t have the money to pay for her son’s funeral, she couldn’t even have access to see his dead son, everything was just too much to deal with. Our church stepped in and helped raise the funds for her. On Sunday, amidst her pain, she was at church and we had a special prayer for her. Yesterday, Monday, some members of my church attended the visitation. I was standing in the room, looking at the young life that was lost, and then looking at the face of that mother, so full of sadness and pain, and I obviously couldn’t contain my tears. After a few words, a prayer and a song from one of our ministers, I left feeling terribly sad, praying for her and her family. As I was driving towards my house, I had her face on my mind and I remembered! She was the lady at Walmart that gave me her employee discount card two years ago!! She was her!
I thought of turning back so that I could ask her if she was that lady, but I didn’t do it. Today, we offered a meal for her family and friends after the burial. At the end of the meal, and after her friends and family left, all the present women from church sat with her and her husband and prayed for them again, when we were done I asked her “are you the lady that gave me the discount card at Walmart? She smiled and nodded, and we hugged. I told her again how she blessed that single mom and her kids, and I said “God blesses,” and she said “I have no doubt about it!”
2 Corinthians 9:8 says “….God is able to make every blessing of yours overflow for you, so that in every situation you will always have all you need for any good work.”
Be sure, we serve an awesome God and His hand is all over our lives! And He definitely works in mysterious ways. Thank you God for your grace and love!

Habakkuk (2017)

I regularly neglect the minor prophets. Not intentionally, of course; I just don’t seem to get around to reading those books. But in preparing a radio program, I was studying Habakkuk again and was struck by the timeliness of the message.

Habakkuk was living at a time when society seemed to be going downhill. Everywhere he looked, there was corruption and injustice. He had prayed to God many times, yet God didn’t seem to be listening. He expresses his frustration:

“How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.” (Habakkuk 1:2–4)

Been there? I have. I look at the world, see the wrongs, and wonder if God is even listening. He is. It’s just that his answer may not be what we want to hear. It wasn’t for Habakkuk.

“I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own.” (Habakkuk 1:6)

The Babylonians? God is going to use godless people to correct injustice? God is going to bring about good through bad people? Doesn’t seem like the right answer. Habakkuk didn’t think so.

“O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?” (Habakkuk 1:12–13)

The prophet says, “God, you are wise nad holy… and you’re making a huge mistake!” He just can’t believe that the Lord would use such awful people to punish God’s people. But God goes on to explain that the Babylonians will in turn be punished. In the last chapter, Habakkuk praises God, asks God to do great things in the world today as he did in the past, then finishes with these beautiful words:

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17–19)

So here are some things to remember:

  • When you ask God to fix this world, he may do it in a way you didn’t expect. Depending on your politics, it may be “that president” that did/does the things that will eventually bring about justice. Even if he does/did it by doing things that are unjust.
  • God is still at work today, as he has been in the past.
  • Life for faithful believers won’t always be rosy. But we are to trust, praise, and rejoice in the Lord… even if the economy fails and injustice is all around.

I think Habakkuk has a lot to say to us in 2017.