Monday, July 20, 2009

Missing in action

Today’s Reading: Acts 4:8-10 (NIV)

8 The Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.”

Good morning!

Have you ever, in a moment of sheer ignorance, lost something so precious and valuable, and didn’t even realize it was gone? I had the unfortunate experience of leaving my husband’s laptop yesterday near the coffee bar where I spent time in prayer and devotion before going to breakfast. It was the last place I remember seeing it. I had packed my automobile early with the intent of helping others get their luggage loaded. The last thing I did before I left the dorm where I was staying was to take some time to study, pray and write. This is the second time in less than one month when I’ve managed to lose school work. Inside the computer bag was our laptop and thumb drive. All the work I’ve completed for two classes is missing in action.

So here I sit, in a state of unbelievable shock and embarrassment, trying to figure out where my brain disconnected from the rest of my body when I literally left a very expensive and valuable piece of equipment behind. I cannot figure out how I could do such a thing! I must have really needed a cup of coffee yesterday. I was way too busy thinking about everything I was learning at the School of Lay Ministry to go over and fix a cup of coffee. Talk about being on fire – I think my brain must have burned to a crisp during this event.

I didn’t even realize the computer was gone until I unpacked the car after I returned home. I was so upset about the loss, that I was having difficulty telling Jeff about all the incredible things that I had heard and learned there. I was fully focused on that missing computer. How could I have left it there?

Peter and John boldly stood before their accusers, answering the question of the hour. By what power or what name did you heal this man? Peter didn’t even hesitate to tell them what they had seemingly missed out of sheer ignorance. Jesus Christ, the one you left hanging on a cross to die, has risen from the dead. He is the great healer! It is only by Jesus’ name that this man can now walk. You left Him hanging out there on a limb to die; now He has the power and authority to absolutely change your life from the inside out. What were you thinking?

In my life, I have seen the Lord heal things that could not have been healed any other way. He forgives the unforgivable, comforts the grieving ones, feeds the hungry, and fixes what should have been forever broken. If Jesus Christ can do all these things, then I know He can help me recover what I have lost. So I knelt down and began praying fervently for the recovery of my husband’s laptop. I think the word “stupidity” cropped up in my prayer several times, as I blurted out my confession and plea for heavenly intervention. As I was praying out loud, I heard the unmistakable voice of God speak to my heart. “Daughter, you worry so much about the “things” in your life. What about the people I have placed in your path - do you worry about them?”

Jesus Christ, son of God, stood among us in the flesh. He lived with us, taught us, and we walked away from Him, not even realizing what we had done. He died to save us, and we still have a hard time comprehending this gift of grace. He commanded that we get out there and share His saving love with all people, everywhere. I went to the desk by the refrigerator in our kitchen and pulled out our church’s membership books, and began looking at the names and faces of all who have worshipped at Faith Church in the last ten years. Some folks have passed on to glory, others have moved away. Yet, there are a significant group of people who have left our congregation; they slipped out the back door seemingly unnoticed, and I didn’t even realize they were gone. How in the world could I have not missed them?

Losing a computer out of sheer stupidity is traumatic. Losing a life and not even realizing it is just not acceptable. Father, help me seek out and reconnect with the people that you placed in my path, who have seemingly disappeared into thin air. Forgive me for being so totally focused on my own stuff that I have missed seeing what you see, as you watch the ones you love walk through the front doors of our churches and slip out the back way totally unnoticed. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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