Wednesday, June 11, 2008

God's fingerprints in a Dairy Queen

Our good friend, Lenya Heitzig offers us this tidbit of wisdom:

Holy Moments
Recognizing God's fingerprints in your life

It's easy to find evidence of God in the midst of extraordinary circumstances.

Really? Show me some. Seriously. Show me one piece of irrefutable evidence of God. We’ve been looking really, really, really hard and are coming up blank. Please provide!

It's not so easy to detect him during the ordinary events of our lives. But that's exactly where you and I live.

“Ordinary events of our lives” meaning every single moment of our existence.

Most of us will never walk on water,

Since we’re not carpenter ants.

heal the sick,

Unless, you know, you happen to be a doctor or a nurse or a parent or something weird like that.

or cast out demons.

To quote the great Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t bad.

But we may provide a meal for the needy, offer encouragement to the downhearted,

Rocking! Good works on both counts.

or receive an answer to one of our prayers.

Wait…what?!? Even if prayer actually worked, wouldn’t receiving an answer to a prayer count as something someone else is doing? Above we’re talking about being the guy giving the free meal, not being the guy getting it.

I’m all confused now as to what counts here. Maybe I should start looking into work as a carpenter ant.

We live amidst the nuance of the normal with God's voice echoing somewhere off in the distance, not thundering from the mountain peaks.

Which is really annoying since I’ve heard he used to do that a lot.

That is precisely the reason we need to be sensitive to his quiet voice and gentle leading, to the holy moments we often overlook as we rush madly through our daily routines.

We need to become aware of the more subtle ways that God works and amplify our spiritual sensitivity to his inescapable presence.

So is God “subtle” or “inescapable”? I’m trying here, but I can’t come up with anything that is both. Or is this like getting credit for being on the receiving end of a prayer?

Nineteenth-century Scottish theologian James Denney wrote, "The important thing in religion is not to believe that God is omniscient but to experience that God knows me. The important thing is not that God is everywhere, but that wherever I am, God is with me."

Great idea! Don’t think that God is omniscient. That leads to a lot of prickly paradoxes.

Heaven Sent
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary that bright Sunday morning as I jogged down the same route I had taken the previous six days of my vacation in Honolulu. It was a picture-postcard day in paradise. As I ran, I passed surfers catching blue-green waves that would eventually crash and subside on the sandy shores of Waikiki. I followed a course past touristy Kalakaua Avenue, through exotic Kapiolani Park and up the stark volcanic slopes of Diamond Head.

Dialing up my travel agent now. Hawaii sounds great!

Suddenly, trouble in paradise hit hard. Ouch! At the halfway point of a five-mile excursion, I stopped dead in my tracks. The mother of all charley horses gripped my left calf—I was paralyzed with pain. Stumbling, then fumbling for a nearby wall, I did every conceivable stretch in a desperate attempt to loosen the unrelenting cramp. Nothing worked. I was two-and-a-half miles away from my hotel with no money for a taxi, so I began hobbling toward my final destination.

After navigating several blocks in agonizing discomfort, God tapped me on the shoulder—or I should say, spoke to my heart: Lena, why don't you pray?

Why didn't I think of that sooner? Then I asked him, "Lord, help! I can't make it back without damaging my leg further. Please send me help or heal me. What should I do?"

Hanging up the phone now. I hear that God strikes down people randomly in Hawaii.

Through the park, strewn with palm trees and fragrant plumeria blossoms, I spotted a bright banner stretched across a minibus: Heaven Sent. I smiled at God's sense of humor and his impeccable timing. What was that minibus doing smack-dab in my path? Should I limp up and knock on the window?

Door number 3! Pick door number 3!

Then the rest of the sign came into focus: Heaven Sent: Mobile Massage Therapy. "This is too good to be true," I mumbled. Then I wondered, Could this be a holy moment orchestrated by God's good hand?

Right after he smote you with His bad one. Sure! Why not!

Just then a local named Bunny Gabaylo stepped out to ask if I needed help. A pleading request tumbled out of my mouth. "I've just injured myself running. I've got two more miles to go. Could you work out the knot in my calf? The problem is, I'm not carrying any money to pay you."

He simply handed me a flyer, and said in Pidgin English, "It your lucky day. I offering two-minute massage free to first time customer."

That shouldn’t be a problem since Bunny’s on God’s payroll. We’re still going with the “God set all of this up just to help with your muscle cramp” theory, right?

Bunny, a licensed massage therapist worked on my calf for nearly 20 minutes applying shiatsu acupressure, deep-tissue massage, and Tiger Balm. While I lay on the padded exam table, listening to Julio Iglesias over the high-tech sound system, Bunny graciously offered his healing touch. When I noticed a picture of Jesus on the wall of his minibus, I said, "Are you a Christian?"

He affirmed that he was and added, "I should be at church, since it Sunday. But a friend invite me to Kapiolani Park for race that end here today." When I stood up, I was overjoyed to discover that my gait had straightened out and my leg was greatly improved. I thanked him and offered to send a check in payment for his services. But Bunny refused, saying, "This my calling. No charge for you."

The next two miles seemed more like two blocks as I delighted myself in the Lord who had granted me the desires of my heart by answering my prayer the precise moment it was uttered. I asked God for help during a time of need, and he provided an answer that was truly heaven-sent.

To recap: You ran into a massage truck on a Sunday on a route of a major road race – which is not even a coincidence. You were running in that area because you were also jogging – which is not even a coincidence. You didn’t notice the truck until you looked for it and you started looking for it when your leg actually started hurting – which is not even a coincidence.

And all of these things which don’t even rise to the level of coincidence - let alone unusual – is what tells you that there is an all powerful, supernatural entity who created the universe and cares so much about you that he answers at your beck and call to provide a massage truck. But not just fix the cramp directly. Or not give you the cramp in the first place.

Okay. Got it.

Are you sure you don’t want to revise your story? This one seems a little weak.

The divinely appointed meeting with Bunny was not my first holy moment,

Very true!

and God has showered me with many other such moments since then.

Do they also involve readily available commercial enterprises appearing exactly where we would expect them to be?

All these events have convinced me that they are available to anyone,

Commerce is great that way.

from unbelievers to those who are passionate about following God—and he can send holy moments to many people simultaneously. Holy moments are God's subtle way of getting our attention. They serve as a sweet reminder that he is near.

Remember this the next time you’re hungry and God helps you spot a Dairy Queen.

I am not more special than anyone else

Oh, I disagree. You’re way more special. From the sounds of it, that massage truck was a short bus. You’re that special.

—our heavenly Father doesn't play favorites.

Except when He sends all those non-believers to hell. Or saves Noah and his family and their menagerie. Or rains fire and brimstone down on Soddom and Gamorah. Or crashes the Red Sea down…

You know…come to think of it. I think you might want to revise that statement as well.

However, I've developed a sensitivity to holy moments because of a Scripture that became my life's verse many years ago.

It’s all in where you set the bar, isn’t it?

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass (Ps. 37:4–5).

Meditating upon this psalm opened my eyes to the ways that God moves among us. He longs to intersect our paths with his heavenly interruptions. There are five phrases found in this psalm that tell us how to stay in tune with him.
Delight in the Holy One
Develop holy desires
Dedicate your direction
Depend wholly on him
Discover holy moments
The five pearls of wisdom extracted from this passage can radically impact your Christian journey with incredible moments of divine inspiration and intervention.

And some of God’s holy moments even have value menus now!

1 comment:

Jim Rational said...

Thanks go out to DoctorE on the Richard Dawkins forums for pointing this one out!