It was hot. Hotter than I expected it to be in October. Wherever we went, I never managed to find the shaded side of our prayer circle. I began to feel beads of sweat make their way down my back and thought how nice it would be later that night to take a shower. I wondered if we’d take advantage of being in the “big city” and maybe swing thru Starbucks. I thought that would be a special thing to do with the youth we brought with us.
Ending the day with Starbucks and a shower. Yes, that would be nice.
Then I was praying for a woman whose 32-year-old son was in prison. She had four other children at home and tears squeezing out the sides of her closed eyes. My hand was on her damp back. My voice was pleading with the Lord to comfort her. Her grip on me was hard, and her “amens” were soft.
Her name was April, like the springtime representing new life. Does that new life for April include a good shower and a frappucino? Maybe not.
Does the new life April is promised each morning include something divinely more special? Absolutely.
April’s life is hard. She lives in an area that you wouldn’t live in unless you couldn’t afford to move somewhere else. If you’re living there, you’re not thinking about how to make your day special with some salted caramel coffee confection. You’re thinking of your son alone in prison and how you’re going to raise four other kids. From the way April trembled when I asked God to renew her strength, I know she’s thinking of how she’s going to hold it all together.
April is the one whose days are special. In her struggles, she knows she needs Jesus because she knows the reality that she can’t make this all work. She knows that better than I do.
In her obvious weakness every single day, she gets to experience His strength.
I can go thru long strings of easy, uneventful days that lull me into the lie that I can do this. In bed at night, I sometimes realize I haven’t prayed that day. I haven’t prayed because I forget how I need Him.
April lives on the edge of coming unraveled. She knows she can’t help herself. Her need for the Lord’s power, strength and grace stares her in the face every morning. She knows she has to hit her knees or else she’ll hit the wall.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
We went to Atlanta to help those in need. I came home reminded that I am a person in need as well. I have a desperate need for Jesus to sustain me, strengthen me, hold me, comfort me, empower me, and give me purpose. He’s blessed me with a stable life, but Satan uses that provision as a temptation to forget my endless need for Him.
Lord, if I need to always stand in the harsh sun, always feel the sweat of whatever heat You have to put on me, then let it be. Let me never find the cool shade if it means I’m tempted to take You granted.