Wednesday, May 26, 2004

God's Storehouse

May 26, 2004

Her name is Maria and she has four children, the oldest is 13, the youngest 4. Her husband, Francesco, is from Cuba and due to the extreme prejudice in this country, has been unable to find adequate work to support his family.
They live in one room of an obzerzhetye (or dorm), no kitchen, toilet in the hall, showers in the basement for the whole building. I have seen them come to church over the past few years, their clothes old and well used, the children in boots too large or falling apart, the parents tired and careworn. And yet this couple loves the Lord, often weeping openly during worship. Until today, I looked at them without thought to their circumstances, without a desire to know their needs, even though they were obviously struggling. Then I saw them weeping before the Lord, and their simple, unashamed faith broke my defenses down and I began to see them with the Father’s eyes. As I bowed my head, tears streaming down my face, I asked Jesus to forgive my pride and lack of interest and tell me how we, as a couple, could bless this family.

After the service, gently, and with compassion, I was able to ask Marina how she was doing. She paused and then shared with me some of the trials her family had lived through these past few years. “But God is our strength and joy and He is enough!” I looked at this beautiful woman, her threadbare dress hanging on a frame too thin to be healthy, and I saw the beauty of Jesus shining in her face.

James 2:15,16 “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and be filled, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” I love James, he puts the obvious so well. How many times I have shook my head in concern and said, “I’ll pray for you my friend, that God will open His storehouses of heaven for you…” then gone on my self righteous way. WE are God’s storehouses, we are His blessing, His answer to prayers of brothers and sisters in need. I turned aside to Aaron, my wonderfully gracious husband, and said, “I believe God wants us to bless this family.” He pulled out his wallet and opened it up.

“How much?” he asked. I thought of an amount that would feed them for two weeks and then doubled it. Knowing it was more than her husband might make in a month, I quietly slipped the amount into Maria’s pockets with a kiss and told her God wanted to bless her. She vainly tried to push my hand away, but I am rather quick and persistent. It wasn’t until later that I thought to pray that there were no holes in her coat pocket.

God’s love is amazing!!!! Aaron and I have been able to bless so many these past few years. Believers and nonbelievers who have found themselves in the midst of desperate situations and have been utterly blessed as we have met their needs. Your generous gifts over the past years have been passed on, in the name of Jesus, to so many. The birthing cost for a beautiful little girl named Emma, whose parents had no idea where the money for the hospital and birth would come from, an operation for a 10 year old Ukrainian girl, removing massive growths on her legs so she could walk again, a missionary out of food and asking for a loan received a debt free gift of money till his support came in. The list goes on… In every instance the grace of God was extended to these, many responding in tears of relief and sometimes disbelief. My coworker who received the money for the operation on her niece’s legs stood dumfounded in our staff lounge crying because a group of people who knew nothing about her niece had given to help others.

You think you guys have it fun!!!!!!!! No way! Try being God’s banker for a few years and see how blessed you get!

It’s not just the money. Aaron and I have been able to use our home, time and again to bless others, to show them hospitality. Just the other weekend we had thirty women stuffed into our living room for a woman’s conference put on by our church. It was supposed to last 4 hours. 7 1/2 hours later, we finally said goodbye to the last ladies. Teaching, prayer, worship, filled our home for the better part of a Saturday. As a church team, we fed them, ministered to them, and fellowshipped with them. The women were deeply moved, and as one of the team leaders I was able to write down every name, and a bit about each one. What an effective tool for intercession.
My dear husband kept Timothy entertained, fed and changed while I helped to host the event.

So my challenge to you dear ones is to ask the Lord how you can be an effective blessing in your congregations, neighborhood, workplace. Find someone, or a family in need, get to know them (don’t be shy!) and then ask God to open your eyes – to see them as He does – but be warned, He will break your heart for them!