Dad That’s Mine, Let Me Have!
By Pastor Pat Badstibner
The four-year old had been sick for a while, today was no different. The only thing different about today was that it was rainy and wet outside, and he knew there would be no way he was going to get to play outside.
The man had been sick for sometime, his body hurt every single day like as though he had the flu every day. What used to only be a few days with body aches had turned into weeks, months and now over a year. The only difference about today was he was tired; he was tired of hurting physically, emotionally and spiritually. He was tired of feeling like he had no way out, and that everyone was looking to him for answers and support.
So the four-year old picked up the shiny object and began to play with it. “This is fun,” he thought. It was new and exciting this made him feel better about not being able to go outside.
The man had long found solace in the business he had built with his hands. He had won tons of awards, recognition of his peers, his church, his friends, dozens of employees depended on him. Most of his customers did not even know his company’s name they only knew he was “THE MAN.” This made the pain worth it, eased it, made him feel better, made the days easier until it did not.
The father saw the four-year old with the shiny knife and knew his child could get hurt very easy playing with it. So the father reached down to take it out of his hands.
The man’s Heavenly Father knew that what the man was finding his value in, his satisfaction in, his worth in, what he was medicating himself with was actually harmful for him. A plan was in place to bring the man to let go of what was harmful to him.
“Mine!” said the four-year old “Son, you need to give me that” The son shouted louder now “NO! MINE!” as he clinched the knife tighter. The father began to pry the fingers away forcefully!
“Son you need to walk away, give up that business, look to me, trust me, not you”. “NO! Dad I have worked too hard, too long I deserve this, it’s MINE!” The pain the man was feeling was only getting worse, intensifying, getting harder to deal with and to hold on with.
The four-year old screamed, hit, pouted and stormed to his bedroom after the father took his shiny object he screamed “That Was Mine!” “It’s No Fair!”
The Emergency road patrol found the man with one leg over the rail staring down at the road below ready to jump about 10 that night and talked him down. The man wanted the pain to end. It seemed everyone wanted something from him, his church, his family, friends, employees and all he remembers is just wanting the physical pain to end, he had hurt physically for so long.
Sometimes I wish he did not love me so much!
Not one single thing, but a combination of things, that came from the pain, pressure, not feeling well, seemingly everyone wanting something from me, families whose lives including my own depending on me for survival and feeling I had no way out, had led me to that moment on the bridge. Yet, that moment would be where I would begin to understand more than a head knowledge the truth of God’s desire for me to make him my all and what it means to walk in grace.
Just as he had to with Elijah (1 Kings 17: 2-7) he had to with me, in bringing me to the point of living with a disease that would literally destroy a once strong body leaving no choice but to live in complete dependence on him
J.D. Greer says this about God’s work with Elijah:
“Led down to the “Cherith Brook,” Elijah had to depend on the special provision of God for the food he ate and the water he drank. Cherith, in Hebrew, literally means “to cut down.” God was telling Elijah, “I’m going to cut you down, to remove any strength you have in yourself, even the capacity to take care of your most basic needs, and to teach you to depend completely on me.”
God truly does love us enough to bring pain in the forms, shapes and many ways of loss, death, heartache, inability, insults or anything else that he needs to bring to get us to let go of that thing or things. Those idols we replace HIM with or fill the void with that only he can fill. He loves us way too much to allow us to continue to use any method we may use that allows us not to be completely dependent on him.
When It All Comes Down!
“I’m going to cut you down, to remove any strength you have in yourself, even the capacity to take care of your most basic needs, and to teach you to depend completely on me.” – Did HE Ever!
Between January of 2006 and May of 2007 my wife and I would suffer the loss of the following:
- My health – my doctors marvel that I’m able to walk today with no balance.
- Our way of life – We would go from being wealthy successful business owners to depending on friends for survival. What was that part about taking care of your most basic needs?
- My Father – My father and I had finally begun having a relationship, after never having one.
- My Wife’s Mom – Every daughter wants their mommy, now she no longer had a strong husband but had lost her best friend!
- My Life’s Work – the business would sell for a tenth of a fraction of what it was worth and by the time the debt was paid there was nothing left. All I cared about was that I had held on long enough to make sure all eighteen employees still had jobs.
- My Wife would lose a strong husband and would have to go to work for the first time in twenty years.
- Our youngest would begin to suffer various aliments, that would actually have the doctor’s bewildered – she would have three surgeries, along with multiple illnesses. Ever hear of anyone being allergic to mono, it’s OK, neither had the doctors.
- Our Vehicles
- Our Home
- Our first grandchild would be born and die seconds later!
In the same week we would got our foreclosure notice (Tuesday), days later our Son-In-Law would call and tell us the baby had been born and died seconds later (Thursday). When a pastor friend of ours heard this he threw himself on the floor he said he cried out “God how much more do they need to take!” Another pastor says “When people say they do not believe in Job, I say I know him personally would you like to meet him.”
Things seem to be happening so fast there just seemed to be no way to look, even looking up appeared down. Everywhere we turned me, my wife, parents, financces, children something apparently life altering was taking place and happening. Even our friends looking back have said “You seemed cursed”
When it all came crashing down it left me with a lot of questions, questions like:
- WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME?
- WAS I NOT DOING MORE THAN MOST?
- WAS I NOT FAITHFUL ENOUGH?
- WHERE SHOULD I HAVE ZIGGED INSTEAD OF ZAGGED?
Elijah, David, Job and maybe you have asked those questions or found yourself in a crisis of faith. David asked these questions in Psalms:143 and Asaph asked them in Psalms:73.
Perhaps Paul points to an answer when he says it is in my weakness he is most glorified. 2 Corinthians 12:9. If this is the case then as JD Greer said “If Dependence Is The Objective, Then Weakness Is An Advantage”
It is here, when we feel all hope has been lost, when what was once straight has now been made crooked (Ecclesiastes 7:13), when solace brings no relief and prayers seem empty, that we possibly (not always) learn that there are answers but not what we might be expecting, looking for or want.
Though it hurts like nothing we have ever experienced, it really is for our best. (WOW! That Hurts!) Though it surely never seems that way, if one is living just in the moment. There really are times that living in the moment is deeply painful and the only way to get through it is to look past the moment.
The deepest truth one may learn is that:
Grace Is For Those Who Don’t Have It Together!
God Really Does Love Us Too Much!
None of us like to hurt physically or emotionally. None of us want to be stretched, taken out of our comfort zone , endure the pain that produces weakness. Yet God really does love us way too much to allow us to be satisfied with anything smaller than him.
However it is in those darkest times, most difficult periods of life that bring the most difficult questions that we begin to look to the external source of our faith and not ourselves . Then and only then do we discover we were never strong to begin with.
Through this ripping, through the pain, through the difficult questions, through the wondering and feeling alone (Though we never really are, in truth.), when the struggling slows (never stops), the questions ease (we always ask), the pain gets less (we will always know), when we slowly (we never fully) accept HE truly does control every molecule. If we survive (some do not) we come to understand (never completely) he’s always been there. Even if in the moment we begin to realize that we are still struggling to believe it (we always will). Somehow, someway he brings a deeper understanding, a deeper appreciation, a deeper reality that we truly are his beloved. When we begin to grasp that we begin to know his grace is beautiful and it truly is enough.
Perhaps that is what is meant by all things working to our best! We may learn in spite of ourselves that it is not so much that everything will work out the way we want it or what will bring us happiness, or what will be the best resolution for us, as we see it, rather instead it works out for our best as we become more Christlike for in truth that really is for our best.
For if it is to bring us happiness with our circumstances, or the way we might want it, or to the life we have always wanted, or everyday Happy Hour then somewhere I missed the boat. For my body is still broken, my way of life still has not returned, I still must deal with pain and discomfort few know! If I were to cling to the falsity of teaching that those who want to promote a health, wealth and prosperity doctrine then I can honestly say I would feel even more hopeless and would have left the journey called The Way, long ago. YES! I know that is experimental faith but if the “Word Of Faith” message is true then I need a new god. Since the God I know, who loves me and treasures me reveals to us a different set of truths, other facts became clear in my life.
For somewhere in the desert, in the darkest of nights, in the deepest of pain, whether it was the night on the bridge or the beginning of 2012 seven years later when I would lose sleep, spend many nights praying in agony, pleading for help as I was losing the ability to hear the love of my life (This would lead to a cochlear implant), my wife, a light switched on. A light that moved a head knowledge of God’s grace to a heart knowledge. A grace that was freeing me from the life of performancism, obey-reward, does he love me – does he love me not, life I had always lived. As that light came on I discovered the love of a father whom I had never known. A feeling of tenderness, a radical acceptance and a freeing awareness that the question was no longer what did I need to do but how could I not do for the one who had done everything and then said IT WAS FINISHED, though he asked and expected nothing in return!
So in the middle of all the pain, being stripped literally of everything, there was awoken in me a heart of worship for the one who is everything. From that heart I serve and am blessed to be part of a team of almost 150 Servants Of The Most High God whose leadership team shares an equal heart of worship for our beloved. For in my struggles, amidst my pain, the steps of my childhood, the loss, the years of confusion, questions, bewilderment, he planned my steps, he ordered my path and placed me where he needed me.
Are You Hiding?!
Often during those darkest of nights, while traveling those deepest of valleys, when all hope feels lost, when looking up seems down, when one desires nothing but to be alone, to hide. Our best solution seems to become posers, pretenders, we wear masks that say “I’m rejoicing in all things” when all HELL is breaking loose. We become like Adam and Eve hiding from friends, family but most of all we try desperately to hide from God. I know, I been there, have worn the masks, still do way too much.
We need to always remember when you’re hiding from others, keeping others from knowing, when others do not know of the pain or the hurt or the want to quit! HE KNOWS! HE UNDERSTANDS! Most of all he remembers we are human (Psalms 103:14), even when we act as though we’re ready to apply for a role in the trinity! He KNOWS the truth!
It’s Ok to be honest, Nothing Can Separate Us from his love (Romans 8:38-39), there really is no condemnation (Romans 8:31) as a result we really are FREE to tell him how we feel, REALLY!
Take a moment today and thank him for writing the Poiema of your life (Ephesians 2:10), even when in him doing so it sometimes hurts like nothing else.
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Job 13:15