Friday, October 21, 2011

Working ahead

This is my 901st post since I began this blog in March of 2008. 901 times I've put my hands on a keyboard to pound out some story or word or idea that God and I (but mostly God) came up with to share here.  That's pretty prolific writing.  Two verses come to mind when I think of what I've been about here, the motivation  behind the stories and the words. First, the verse I wrote of yesterday, "The love of Christ compels me." His love, and corresponding work in my life, push me to do a whole host of things I couldn't imagine doing on my own.  This is the most public but not the only one of them.  The other verse that runs through my mind is "I can't help speaking (writing) of what I have seen and heard."  That's it.  I can't help it.  The eternal imperative to speak who He is and what He's done.

So here's a story of exactly that-- who He is and what He's done:

The other night, in another sorting project, I came across the file box of memory verses I began in high school.  Every time I wanted to memorize a scripture, I'd write it on a 3x5 card, carry it around with me until I had it firmly in my brain, then put it in a carefully organized box with dividers for each book of the Bible.  Many of my Christian friends had fancy little memory card holders, but I just had this, and it worked.  There are hundreds of verses in that box.  There have been times now when people have been surprised by my easy recollection of scripture, but the credit doesn't go to me, but to the discipline of memorization  drilled into me (and all our friends) by our Young Life leaders.

But that plethora of memory cards wasn't what caught my attention.  At the back of the box was another set of cards, a set I couldn't have told you about a week ago, but knew unerringly to look for the moment the box was opened.  Each of these seven cards corresponded to a day of the week, and on each was listed about six or seven names.  Beside most of the names were verses--or passages--of scripture.  These were my prayer cards, the names were the people for whom I prayed weekly for five or six years of my young life.  I have to say I honestly feel like talking about myself in the third person when I tell you about this, because it feels somewhat unconnected to this me.  That teenager was intent on praying for those around her.  In her earnest, halting way, she was allowing the Holy Spirit to work in her feeble prayers to impact her friends and community.
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And here's the really profound part--to me, at least! The Sunday list was clearly the top list. No question about it--my dad, the Texan who was our Young Life leader, my closest guy friend.  This was the power group in my life.  And on Sundays I also prayed for Beve. Or not yet (as far as I knew) the Beve.  Seeing his name on that list, with all the others who were also on that day's list was a powerful moment.  What I didn't have the faintest inkling about in those days, God knew.  He who is sovereign helped me put that list together in that way.  Pretty powerful reminder that long before--a whole dozen years before we married--He was pressing on me to pray for Beve.  And continue to faithfully pray for him.

As I say, I continued that practice for about five years.  Those prayer cards were the last things I touched before drifting off to sleep at night. By the end of that time, I hadn't spoken to Beve in a couple of years, since he was across the state at college.  But God knew he needed prayer.  Mine in particular, given who He intended us to be together.

It's a profound thing to discover that God was working that far ahead of us.  It's all too easy to wonder if our small prayers have any consequences at all.  But here's the other part.  God gave me scripture for most of the people on those cards, and when I looked some of those passages up the other night, I was stunned with how appropriate they are for who those people are TODAY.  My prayers may have felt like they were local and specific for that place and time, but God knew the future element of them.  The necessity of prayer for these beloveds' future.

God is bigger and works farther ahead of us than we ever know.  So now and then when we're allowed a glimpse from the corner of our eyes, it's pretty amazing. It's a bow down and worship kind of holy moment.

[Tomorrow I'll get back to the Beatitudes and the Pure in Heart.]

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