This was a big week for God-talk.
I drove to K.C. to meet with Carol, my 89-year-old friend, who loves, loves, loves Jesus. It had been a couple of years since we had met face-to-face, so she warned me that most of her teeth were missing, but until her dentures are made, this was “as good as it gets.” I told her that we weren’t competing in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest. We were just catching up. That was good enough for her.
Every time we visit, I learn how to be a better person. Carol never blames God. Not when her husband died. Not when her daughter-in-law had cancer. Not when Carol became incapacitated and could not leave her home. She radiates joy. We spent much of our time talking about God and what He is doing in our lives…if we are living as He would choose.
Her granddaughter, recently returning from her third three-year missionary stint in Poland, shared this with Carol: “You can never be lost when you are in the center of God’s will.” Carol stays there.
My friend has children and grandchildren who call/visit her several times a week. They adore her. When I questioned what her secret is, this is what she said: “I ask myself, when I speak to them, are my words helpful? Needed? Timely? Wise? And most of all, does this person care what I think?”
Advice I need to heed.
This past week, I met with “Lauren” who visited from another state. Lauren has a faith like no other. When we were setting up a time and place to meet, I suggested we have lunch. I was not surprised with her response: “Let’s just fill ourselves up on the word of God.”
(Say what? I mean, can’t we do both?)
With little time, chomping on a sandwich wasn’t nearly as appealing to my friend as it was to me. I always leave Lauren knowing that I have been in the presence of someone anointed by the Holy Spirit. Her stories of miracles inspire me, and her ability to read Scripture and find wisdom in God’s words leaves me speechless.
Then, this past week, I met with Karen. Karen blames God. Actually, she has found so much fault with Him, she no longer believes in Him. No one could be as cruel, as uncaring, as He, according to my misguided friend. Karen is not alone.
There are many who choose to find fault in the One who could make a difference…but doesn’t. When temporary setbacks cause them to question how life is not turning out the way they want. When they pray for something they don’t receive. When life just stinks. In all of the above, they refuse to look in a mirror and accept responsibility for their part in creating the stench.
Most of the time, God-talk inspires me to be a better Christian. But sometimes it reminds me of my need to pray that I can be the same person of influence for people like Karen as Carol and Lauren are for me.