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Accomplished or Sidetracked?

Imagine being able to heal people with just a touch—or even a word. Think of the good you could do! For starters, you could cure everyone of cancer. Then you could wipe out tuberculosis, Ebola, and AIDS. You could help war victims. You could heal the blind, deaf, and paralyzed. You’d have the cure for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, mad cow disease, arthritis, diabetes, and all the other diseases that plague the inhabitants of Earth.

If you had such power, the world would flock to your door. You could name your price, and people would be happy to pay it. Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News would feature you on their covers, and Oprah and the other talk show hosts would beg you to be on their programs. It probably wouldn’t be very long before you wouldn’t have much time to help the common people, because all the rich and famous would be pestering you to help them get rid of their acne, wrinkles, and excess weight. And how would you ever have time to share the gospel, when so many people were clamoring to be helped?

How did Jesus avoid falling into such a trap? He knew the dangers that came with being rich, famous, and popular, and He chose to avoid them through a life of poverty and service. He never lost His focus. After all, what good would it do to gain the attention and admiration of the whole world, if He didn’t do the work His Father sent Him to do?

God has a special work for you and me, too. Will we accomplish it—or will we be sidetracked by the things of this world? The choice is ours!

God Cares

I fought the urge to speed as I headed toward the ferry loading ramp. I needed to catch this ferry in order to make my appointment in Spokane, but I’d had some unavoidable delays. Now, a glance at the clock told me I had almost no chance of making it. Worse yet, my gas gauge panel flashed: 30 miles to empty! Saying a quick prayer that God would delay the ferry and help me make it to the next gas station about 30 miles away, I continued on my way. When I pulled up at the ferry ramp—seven minutes late—the ferry was still there! The moment my vehicle came to a stop, the attendant closed the gate and the ferry pushed off. I had made it, praise God!

After leaving the ferry, I began the trip over the beautiful Addy-Gifford road. Suddenly, a piece of white metal on the side of the road caught my eye. It looked familiar, so I stopped to investigate. Sure enough, it was an important part that had come off my trailer on a previous trip! I gratefully thanked God for the unexpected blessing and continued.

I drove as efficiently as possible, but the mountain road consumed the fuel much faster than the vehicle had calculated. Soon the gauge read, “0 miles to empty”—and I still had five miles to go. I drove those last five miles on empty, and as I pulled into the gas station, I couldn’t help but praise God for the third unexpected and undeserved blessing. Do you think anyone could convince me that God doesn’t care for His children? Not a chance!

Oblivious Scuba Diver

On one of our Mission Experience retreats, I had the privilege of scuba diving with two girls taking their very first dive. The dive instructor gave them a quick mini course in diving, and then we escorted them underwater.

The dive instructor led with “Cara.” Almost immediately he took hold of Cara’s tank to help keep her steady. I followed with “Emma,” and I soon realized I’d have to do the same for her, to keep her from shooting to the surface or rocketing to the bottom. The girls did well for their first dive, but they definitely did not have their buoyancy under control!

Back on the beach, Emma told Cara, “The dive instructor was holding onto your tank the whole time.
Too bad you weren’t able to dive on your own.” As she continued to tease her friend, it was obvious that she didn’t realize that she had needed just as much help as Cara—that someone had been holding onto her tank, as well!

It reminded me of how oblivious we can be to God’s help in our lives. We can think we are doing pretty well for ourselves, without ever stopping to realize that God’s hand is over us, keeping us steady and helping us along life’s way. In fact, although we seldom think of it, we owe every breath to God.

Hmm. When was the last time I thanked Him for all He does for me? How about you?

Chief Navigator

Dad slowed the car as we approached the intersection while Mom looked back to where I sat with the map. “Which way do we turn?”

I traced the road with my finger. “Left.”

Dad disagreed. “I think last time we came this way I turned right.” I felt a little perturbed. Dad had designated me “chief navigator” and now he didn’t believe me. I decided to let it go. I had just learned how to read maps and I could easily have made a mistake. As we turned right, I settled back in my seat. I would soon see a famous bridge and I couldn’t wait!

A few miles later, it became obvious that we were going the wrong way. There was no bridge and the road signs indicated that we were approaching a town that wasn’t where we wanted to be. We turned around and soon reached our destination.

I’m afraid I’ve done similar things in my life—when God has given me directions. His plans for me are always perfect. He has mapped out my course and He knows every curve and bump in the road. Still, I sometimes think I have a better idea and I set off on my own way. It never works out well, and ends in wasted time, hurt feelings, and lost opportunities. How much better it is to keep my heart open and my will surrendered to His guidance! He knows the map better than I ever can, and only in following His directions can I reach my destination.

New Heart

Although my friend Charlotte was still a young woman, she was dying of heart disease. Charlotte tried every medicine she could find, but she could not heal herself. Her heart was sick, and she knew she was going to die.

Charlotte told me of her desperation and her frantic visits to heart specialists. Finally a doctor held out some hope—if she could get a heart transplant, she might live. But someone would have to die in order for her to receive that heart.

Charlotte put her name on the list and waited. One day, the call came—a heart was available. Charlotte rushed to the hospital for the surgery. It was a success! But before Charlotte left the hospital, the doctor gave her a solemn warning: If she wanted her new heart to stay healthy, she would have to change her diet. She would have to exercise. She would need regular checkups. And she would need to take the medicine he prescribed.

Charlotte very willingly followed the doctor’s advice—and today she is enjoying a wonderful new life.

Charlotte’s story is full of object lessons for each of us. How many can you find? What is that old, sick heart? Who is the Master Physician? Who had to die? What is the “diet,” the “exercise,” and the “medicine” that He prescribes for each of us?

By the way, Charlotte told me that her worst enemy is her own immune system—her natural self. I can certainly relate—can’t you?