Tag Archives: thanksgiving

On Being Blind…

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. James 1:12 (MSG)

The last few months at work have been filled with frustration. Four years ago, I headed out on a Spirit guided adventure to increase accountability in one component within my organization. It was a bumpy road, but one that was well worth the effort. With increased accountability came increased productivity. Each part felt responsible for itself as well as the whole, and each began to perform at unprecedentedly high levels, achieving impacts never seen before. As I completed the clearing of the path before us, I returned to the vision I had previously set, and began executing it in an unimpeded way.

Although my component made great strides towards our goals, we began to feel the resistance of the fully expanded bungee cord that tethered us to the rest of the fully-anchored organization. I explained the changes in the environment that required movement from our current position. I also explained how I had been successful at moving my component off of the rock it had handed on. At first my counterparts in other parts of the organization nodded with pleasant diplomacy and later rejected all offered assistance as uninformed arrogance from the blind and ignorant. Internally, I began to feel like a tugboat trying to tow two lost and disabled supertankers, whose engines are running in reverse, through a narrow shipping channel . Their wakes were much larger than mine and I did not have the weight to displace enough water to re-orient or dry-dock them. I was running full bore ahead to prevent the larger vessels from pulling me backwards and underwater. I began to cry out, praying that He would send some relief because it is impossible to lead the blind when they are afraid of movement and resistant assistance. In His normal, calm voice God said, “I am the shepherd who guides the lost sheep. I may use you as a small instrument in my larger plan to help guide them to the path of righteousness. However, their journey is one of choice. I have sent you out ahead to scout the landscape and to provide information, not instruction, back to them. It is up to them to accept or reject that information. You are not the catalyst of change that will save them from destruction. You are merely My utensil that is available to them to help them notice what is on the path in front of them. You cannot independently clear their way. That is what I sent my Son to do. You can only give them notice of what’s ahead. The actions they choose to take are their own. Stop trying to do more than I have asked! Move forward with what you have been given. I have plans for all of my children and am patient with them.” I instantly began to hum the lyrics to Mark McMillan’s How He Loves Us, “He is jealous for me. Love’s like a hurricane, and I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy. When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me.”

 I understood, at least conceptually, the message that had been given to me but I needed a visual to fully comprehend it. I did a little internet research on common instruments of the blind. I learned that a white cane is a long rod-like device used by visually impaired travelers to give them information about the environment they are traveling through. Using a cane can warn them of obstacles in their path, tell them of of upcoming stairs, warn them that they are coming up to a curb, and tell them of many other things in the environment in which they may have to deal.

To start using the cane, the person holds the handle at  waist level, using whichever hand is most comfortable. They hold the cane with their hand wrapped around the handle  with the index finger pointed along the cane shaft toward the cane tip, which is resting on the ground. While walking, the cane is swept from side to side in an arch a little more than the width of the body. As they walk along, the cane will touch the ground at the end of each sweep from right to left. It is done in such a sequence that the cane taps the spot where the next foot step will land. This allows the person to check things out with each step before their foot lands on the spot. If there is a hole there, the cane will find it first. If there is an object lying on the floor, the cane will encounter it and may prevent a  fall. Some are able to use the sound of the cane tapping on the walking surface to give them cues about the size of the area they are walking in, and other things that can’t be determined easily in other ways. However, the cane cannot walk for or take precautions for the user.

I had an Ah-Ha moment as I recognized I had been placed in this situation to learn many valuable lessons from the journey. I was also put there to be an assistance device available to those around me. But, my availability was not a guarantee of my use.

I then realized I have been frustrated because I have worked my knuckles to the bone yet continue to feel held back by those who cannot sense the wisdom around them or see the vision before them. I had rationalized that I am not seeking appreciation for my work, rather I simply want affirmation that I am doing well. The truth is that seismic change is happening inside the organization following the arrival of a new leader who is moving everyone in the same direction I moved my component. Rather than confessing that I felt justified and admitting my desire to remind others that they had rejected the information I provided about the road ahead, I have hidden behind a facade of humble righteousness. I immediately felt startled and anxious. The Spirit whispered, “relax and ask for forgiveness. Remember who you are and whose you are. Your purpose is still Kingdom building.”

We are His portion and He is our prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes. If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest. I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us; Oh how He loves us!How He Loves Us

As I reflect on what I have been experiencing, I appreciate that work in the vineyard takes many forms. To fill the vineyard with trees that bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we must get to work now; not on the worldly taskings of our day, for they impair our vision, but on the Godly askings from our Lord and Savior. We need not fret. The vines of good news will overtake the grounds upon which the weeds of wickedness lay. That which is true will deliver independent evidence that will stand on its own accord.

Go forth and become an extension of Him! Remember, we are an apparatus of He who called us. Stay in sync with Him! “When the body is in motion, the cane is in rhythm”; meaning we must tap the cane from side to side, one tap per step, about two inches beyond the width of the user’s shoulders to be the best instrument.

The Spirit has told me, “Be satisfied with your calling and thankful for your execution because I will call you all home one day and expose the grand plan.” God frees prisoners. He gives sight to the blind, he lifts up the fallen. Psalms 146:8 (MSG)

What fortune lies beyond the stars; those dazzling heights too vast to climb. I got so high to fall so far but I found heaven as love swept low. My heart beating, my soul breathing; I found my life when I laid it down. Upward falling, spirit soaring. I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground. What treasure waits within Your scars. This gift of freedom gold can’t buy. I bought the world and sold my heart. You traded heaven to have me again. Find me here at Your feet again; everything I am, reaching out, I surrender. Come sweep me up in Your love again and my soul will dance on the wings of forever. Touch the Sky – United


Matthew chapter 14 tells us the story of Peter walking on water.  In verses 29-30, the scripture tells us, “29 Jesus said, ‘Come!’  So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he noticed how strong the wind was, he became afraid and started to sink.  He shouted, ‘Lord, save me!’” (GW)  In the beginning, Peter had great courage as verse 29 says, Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus.” (MSG)  When first called, Peter was strong.  Without hesitation, he left his place of security to do what he was called to do.  But the conditions he found himself in (the rough seas and high winds) made him doubt that he could do the very thing he was already doing.  He then lost his nerve and began to sink.

Peter’s experience is very similar to many of ours.  We begin exploring our calling with great intentions and strong convictions.  We then let fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) get a grip on us and cause us to do less than we are capable of or called to do.  We allow anxiety and uncertainty to destroy the promise God has given.  One could question how different things would have been if Peter had beaten back the flame of fear with the fan of faith.  There is no need to ask what if because Peter was not much different from us.

This weekend, I had the privilege of attending a professional baseball game and watching a team that has made the playoffs.  I was extremely fortunate to have received the scarce and in-demand tickets as a gift.  I did not pay attention to the section or seat numbers on the tickets when I received them.  My offspring and I enthusiastically entered the stadium, glanced at the seat numbers, and realized they were in an area we had not ever paid attention to.  We found our way around to the other side and settled into our seats in the sold out stadium.  I then went and stood in long lines for food and beverages.  I wasn’t able to return to my seat until the bottom of the second inning.  Agitated and sulking, I was resolved not to move again.

For those around me, the excitement of the post season prospects created a vim and vigor as well as a corresponding static electricity in the air.  The positive energy was accompanied by the enhanced acoustics of the crowd’s continuous roar.  I realized that part of my anxiety was because I was with a larger, louder crowd, in a more confined space.  I was not in a VIP section, on the lower level behind home plate or along the third base line.  I was up high, under the scoreboard, facing the sun, directly in front of a bar filled with game-goers with libation-induced lowered inhibitions.  I realized I was with the general population.

Christ died on the cross so that the general population, not just the high priests, could have access to the Father.  His ransom for our salvation extended God’s grace to everyone and ended the need for sacrificial offerings.  His redemptive death was the great access equalizer and Holier than Thou eliminator.  Those who had more or could do more did not have a place closer to the Father.  Everyone’s access point to God is now the same, through the Son.  All people now have the same requirement – to take up your cross daily and follow Him, starting strong and finishing hard.

On the morning of the game, I spent time with God, praying and listening to Him.  I left the house feeling strong and full of faith.  Like Peter, I leaped out there to do what I was called to do.  Likewise, I got distracted by an unfamiliar environment and became anxious because it felt different.  For two innings I was unable to be His positive energy or enjoy the privilege He bestowed upon me.  He was patient with me during that time.  But suddenly, in the sweet voice that is only His, Jesus said, “Hello!  I sent you here to be my light, yet in this moment you are a dim bulb.  Ditch the funk and let’s get back to My business.  I want you to be that curious, outgoing, fun-loving child I designed you to be.  Move about the people, smiling at them and talking to them, bringing them My joy.  Games are play time and social events that allow you to be My ambassador.  I got you free tickets.  Now make them worth your while.”

I bowed my head in thanksgiving and then got up to refill my child’s empty drink cup.  While in line, I had the chance to hold an infant for a father who was struggling to tie shoes and place orders for his other three boys who were all under 5 years of age.  As the crowd roared because the home team scored, I sang into the infant’s ear: “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder; you get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger.  May you never take one single breath for granted; GOD forbid love ever leaves you empty handed.  I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.  Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens.  Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance….I hope you dance.  I Hope You Dance – Gladys Knight

After returning to my seat, reflecting on Peter’s experience, and Jesus’ message to me, I realized this:

  1. Heaven has no VIP section
  2. Access to Him is not limited to affluence
  3. On earth as it is in heaven, He loves all of His children the same
  4. General population is where faith is built, the gospel is preached, and souls are saved
  5. There is no space for exclusion in His kingdom
  6. His followers are not fans cheering from the stands. They are fearlessly on the field every day.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance; never settle for the path of least resistance.  Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’.  Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’.  Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter.  When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider.  Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance….I hope you dance.

Remain strong.  Answer your calling without hesitation.  Circumstances may change but the love of The Lord remains the same.  What fear is causing you to sink today?  Are you walking faithfully towards Jesus?  What earthly things are causing exclusivity in your life?  Does the general population of His lost children make you nervous?  Recapture the fearless faith of your first calling.  Reach higher, go farther, and dig deeper to plant seeds, fertilize ground, and collect the harvest that he has placed you here for.  Your passion and resilience are powerful and compelling to those who are seeking the love of our Lord.

30 But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink (MSG).  Be audacious and daring, especially among the masses.  Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along.  Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.  I hope you dance….I hope you dance.