Standing in my dining room he quietly said, “Wow, you have such a nice home.” Conviction stabbed me in the heart. It wasn’t 48 hours earlier that I had prayerfully bemoaned to the Lord about some nice things in our house being ruined and not having the money to replace them. I had asked my Father why I couldn’t have the nice things of which I have long had artistic appreciation. Now here I stood, almost slapped in the face by the Holy Spirit with the realization that I do have a LOT of nice things . . .
Eyes to see beyond myself.
IF I’m willing to keep things in perspective. — If I have eyes to see beyond my own desires, I will see that yes indeed, we have a lovely home. A home that many in our urban neighborhood don’t have. While I see the stains on the rug, rips in the sofa or the bite marks on the back door from a dog suffering from anxiety, my young neighbor only saw that we HAD a rug covering the hardwood floors in the living room, adequate furniture and drapes on the windows. He saw a home put together with creative thought and love rather than just necessity. I pray that more than anything he sensed the love of Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. In that moment I needed that very reminder to keep things in perspective. That while it’s not wrong to bring my desires to my Heavenly Father who enjoys giving good gifts, I need to not overlook the good gifts I already have.
I was pretty REAL with some of my feelings in my last post. Yes, I spoke from a very real place in my heart. My heart that had been hurting, but prior to the writing of that post, my heart’s focus had been redirected by the Holy Spirit. I could have remained silent out of fear that people would think I was fishing for words of encouragement for myself — though that wasn’t my reason for posting — but I realized that often God speaks to us in moments of our own struggle and helps bring understanding to something that perhaps we didn’t give much thought to before. My conviction in writing as I did was to encourage all of us to look beyond our own lives into the lives and circumstances of others who are suffering or struggling for a myriad of different reasons. Just as my young neighbor’s quiet words brought conviction to my heart, my own longing for the comfort and care in the midst of trials made me ask myself if I was doing the same.
We all know this verse well and yet I think we refer to it in general terms of being kind and teaching our children not to hurt the siblings and friends. But when it really comes down to the areas we bemoan because we feel overlooked or wish that we had been invited to that friend’s party or hope that someone will see us holding up the wall at church and invite us for lunch. . . are we seeking out those who may feel the same way? We want to be embraced, but are we embracing that new family at church? We want a call from an old friend out of the blue, but do we make those calls to someone else? We want to be known, but do we take time to get to know others? The areas are endless and while it isn’t wrong to desire in the areas for ourselves, we can’t stay in our own desires. We must ask the Holy Spirit to give us His eyes to see how we can “do also for them”.
I find it interesting that in Matthew 7, right after speaking about about bringing our desires and requests to our Heavenly Father, he proceeds to talk about doing the same for others as we desire to have done to us. Could it be that the Lord desires for us to feel need; have desires. . . express those to Him and then look for ways to care for others with similar needs and desires? Matthew Henry says this in his commentary of the book of Matthew [7:12 specifically]. . .
We must, in our dealings with men, suppose ourselves in the same particular case and circumstances with those we have to do with, and deal accordingly. If I were making such a one’s bargain, labouring under such a one’s infirmity and affliction, how should I desire and expect to be treated? And this is a just supposition, because we know not how soon their case may really be ours: at least we may fear, lest God by his judgments should do to us as we have done to others, if we have not done as we would be done by.
So friend, if you are struggling amid a trial or beseeching the Father for a good gift that your heart desires, feel not condemnation. Our Heavenly Father does indeed give good gifts — to those who ask — I think we cannot miss that part of the verse. Bring your requests to the Giver of all good things who gives beyond what we can ask or imagine and ask confidently. But don’t stop there. In your next breath, ask Him to show you someone to whom you can extend care. Ask Him for eyes to see the circumstances where He may desire to use you to answer someone else’s prayer.
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Praying for each of you today, that you will find God the Provider to be Provision Incarnate in Jesus Christ.