Monday, August 10, 2009

Openning Wide

We had a guest pastor at church yesterday--a sovereignly appointed end to the summer for our congregation and for me personally. God impressed on our spirits to offer Bible Camp for free this year to all children who register. Normally the cost had been around $100 per camper. This year we decided at God's direct leading to make it $0. I'm not going to pretend that I was confident in this economy of the outcome. I knew the kids would come--and come they did--each week was full. But where would the money come from. Immediately I pursued state and federal funding and aid. Hours on hours on hours I spent pursuing this help. Wanting to do my part I filled out stacks of paperwork higher than my desk itself and even went to a ridiculously lengthy training session in hopes of obtaining help with food costs. And it fell through. We estimated we'd need around $30,000 and we were depending on an already depleted congregation and well, God. Here's the first passage the pastor preached from yesterday. "I am the Lord, your God, the one who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it." Psalm 81:10 I AM. The first two words are enough to give me pause--I AM the WAY. I AM the TRUTH. I AM the LIFE. I AM the FUNDING. I AM the God who is ABLE. I AM the Lord, YOUR GOD. I'm your God--not the state government, I AM Jehovah Jireh. As soon as the funding fell through I realized that my entire efforts had been futile and yet perhaps God had wanted to show me something. This camp was His heart, His plan, His purpose and He didn't need my help or the state's help to give it to children for free. God is so much bigger than what we see or understand. It's as though He were saying, "Sarah, I asked you guys to offer this camp for free and I intend to help you do that. I am able. I want to do this to show my glory. To show my power. To show my strength and so that you and all that congregation may know that THERE IS A GOD AT THE HOUSE OF PRAYER." The last sentence of that passage--Open your mouth wide and I will fill it!--is so powerful. I remember when Nate was a baby and I would make airplane noises and swirl the baby spoon filled with mooshed chicken and rice at perilous heights in an effort to get him to open his mouth. I wanted to just rationalize with him; to tell him it was good for him, that he should just eat it. But somehow the airplane routine seemed more effective than my effort to convince him of the nutritional value of that gooey conglomeration. Sometimes I think we stand before God, hands clasped over our mouths, eyes squinted and lips pursed insisting we'll not open our mouths no matter what He's offering. And what a tragedy that is because His very word insists His plans are for our good. (Jer. 29:11) I remember when I was little I had a dentist who used to have this pair of pliers. They may have been a dental tool, but I'm convinced they were seriously a pair of yellow handled pliers he picked up at the hardware store for kids like me who couldn't keep their mouth open wide enough. Every time I saw him he'd pull those ridiculous things out of his drawer and there I'd sit like a 57 Chevy with my hood propped open. When God says open your mouth, we need to go to the garage and get out the biggest pair of pliers we can find--because He will fill to overflowing that which is open and waiting for filling. So I sat and listened to this pastor as he expounded on the passage and all I could think is that we are a congregation who has had our mouths filled this summer by a God who not only provided for the cost of camp but left us with a ten thousand dollar surplus! Ten thousand dollars! One thousand dollars for every child who came to know Christ at camp this summer. It was as though he left baskets full of money overflowing to represent the eternal value of each of the children who came to know Him for the first time. "I WILL fill it." Truly we have been filled. And then I ask myself, where am I still clasping my hand over my mouth like a young child? In what areas in my life am I still saying, "No way, God. I'm not about to trust you there." And I look forward to the autumn, the start of a new school year, of new disciplines, new projects and plans and I say, with arms open and mouth wide, "Lord, You are my God. You are the one who has been faithful in the past--Fill my life with your plans and your will and your desires and your purposes. Fill me, Lord." Amen. Read with me: Psalm 81 Jeremiah 32:17,26


Julie said...

Sarah, Great word today. Thanks! Needed to be reminded!

Hope you are doing well!

Bretta said...

Sarah, I'm behind on reading blogs and such, but when I just read yours I am GLAD I'm behind, because this is just the word I needed to hear today. I love your insight and well, I just love you.