May 27

“Bring them here to me.” Matthew 14:18

Do you find yourself at this very moment surrounded with needs, and nearly overwhelmed with difficulties, trials, and emergencies? Each of these is God’s way of providing vessels for the Holy Spirit to fill. If you correctly understand their meaning, you will see them as opportunities for receiving new blessings and deliverance you can receive in no other way.

The Lord is saying to you, “Bring them here to me.” Firmly hold the vessels before Him, in faith and in prayer. Remain still before Him, and stop your own restless working until He begins to work. Do nothing that He Himself has not commanded you to do. Allow God time to work and He surely will. Then the very trials that threatened to overcome you with discouragement and disaster will become God’s opportunity to reveal His grace and glory in your life, in ways you have never known before.

“Bring [your needs] here to me.” (Streams in the Desert)

When brown-bagging solo, I prefer to picnic under the shade of a significant oak that towers above the east side of St. Francis Church on the west edge of downtown Waco. The tree canopy is ideal for lowering car windows and allowing gentle zephyrs to blow in and out, finding refreshment in the process. I routinely enjoy these tranquil moments without distraction, which explains my frustration with the young woman who interrupted my Taco Bell Deal #4 by approaching and sitting on the steps nearby, disturbing my solitary peace in this cherished space. Her arrival annoyed me and I was about to depart in frustration when I looked closer and noticed that she was both pregnant and crying. The teenager was speaking with someone on a cell phone and from her gestures and expression I could see the conversation wasn’t going well, her end of it anyway. Annoyance yielded to compassion and I paused to pray for resolution of all that was distressing and leaving her in tears. For all I know, her life and that of her unborn child hung in the balance of that conversation.

I am fairly adept at paying attention to my own needs and desires; I often falter at shifting my attention to others. Life is fragile and deserves awareness. How often do life and death struggles wage war under my nose with no acknowledgement whatsoever on my part? How frequently am I stone cold oblivious to the damage done to human dignity by preoccupation with myself? I cannot say that my prayer helped the young lady observed from behind my windshield, but I can say that it softened me towards the angst of a fellow human being. In the end, prayer is more for my sake than for God’s, and compassion changes me far more than it changes anyone else.

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