Have you ever been at a loss for words? Perhaps something happened that left you utterly speechless … something so shocking, so bizarre, so devastating … or, even, so amazing. Whatever the case may be, when you are at a loss for words, what do you do? Well, if you’re like most people, you still feel a need to express yourself … somehow. You still feel like you need to somehow convey your feelings in some type of manner … even if it’s to just “get it off your chest” … somehow. Spiritually speaking, when something happens that you know you need to pray about … but can’t find the words to pray … there is an alternative. There is a way you can express exactly how you’re feeling, exactly what’s in your heart, and exactly the right words to say … even when you don’t know what to pray. Romans 8:22-28 The Message (MSG) tells us, “All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” So, the timeless truth we can take away from these verses is that all we need to do is make an attempt to pray … and the Holy Spirit will make it into an effective prayer to God since the Holy Spirit knows exactly what we are trying to say … even when we don’t know what to pray.
Have you ever been asked to do a job no one else wanted to do? Did you feel like you were stuck because the person asking you was your boss and you knew you couldn’t just say no … so you grudgingly, painstakingly, slowly performed the job all the while grumbling under your breath … and then you didn’t even get so much as a thank you? Well, if that has happened to you, you’re not alone. Work, of any kind, is just that – work. Perhaps what is needed is a change in perspective. Colossians 3:23, 24 (NIV) says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” So, this timeless truth gives us insight into the type of perspective that can help change our whole outlook on work … of any kind. When we come to realize that we are actually working for the Lord (not men) we can do that work “as unto Him” … as if we were doing it directly for Him … as if He were our boss. And since we know that God is for us and not against us, anything He (as our boss, so to speak) asks us to do is for some good purpose … even if we don’t know what that purpose is at the time … or ever. We can trust that God is working it all out for good since Romans 8:28 (NIV) tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him …” So, even if we are cleaning toilets, we can choose to have the perspective that we are actually working for the Lord and we can find a purpose in our work … perhaps we are keeping the toilet sanitized so that when the next person who comes in to use it (who may have a compromised immune system) doesn’t have a bad reaction to the germs that otherwise would’ve been on the seat … if you really want to use your imagination, perhaps those germs would’ve caused a nasty rash that got infected and caused further problems for the person … including having to go to the hospital to be treated and having to be subjected to even more germs … which could’ve made even more problems develop … BUT … BECAUSE you chose to work “as unto the Lord” and BECAUSE you chose to do a good job cleaning that toilet seat, NONE of those things happened! The person with the compromised immune system NEVER had any problems whatsoever … and all because you did your job with the right perspective! So, the next time your boss asks you to do a job no one else wants to do, remember to take it in stride and have the attitude of Christ who did not think it was beneath him to wash his disciples feet but, instead, did so with love.
Life happens. In all of it’s craziness … in all of its ups and downs … life happens. Because of this, many people know it’s wise to be prepared. Whether it’s packing extra diapers and clothes in the diaper bag before leaving the house to go on a trip, getting gas for a snowblower before a predicted major snowstorm, stocking up on toilet paper when there’s word it may be in short supply, or making sure your first aid kit is ready to go in case of a medical emergency, wisdom tells us we need to do these things so we will be prepared … whatever may come our way. What some people may not have thought of, however, is the importance of being prepared in a less obvious, less visible, less tangible way … being prepared to give an answer for the hope they have found in a relationship with Christ.
1 Peter 3:15, 16 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience…” (NIV) The truth is, we always need to be ready … we always need to be prepared … in every season of our lives. As we go about “life” we will undoubtedly find ourselves in situations we didn’t plan … situations that are actually opportunities given to us to see what we will do with them. Will we be ready to share our hope with others? Will we be willing to do so? Will we be willing to be honest and transparent so that we can relate to others on whatever level they are currently at? Will we make the most of every opportunity, knowing in our hearts that we may only get “one shot” at speaking God’s love, truth, and encouragement into someone else’s life? If we want to share with others we first need to make sure we’re prepared. How do I do that? you may ask. Well, how do you prepare for other things? You anticipate what may be needed and you use wisdom to gather those things together so you’ll have them on hand when the predicted need arises. In the same way, if you anticipate coming into contact with someone who may be hurting and who may need a word of encouragement, a good way to prepare for that anticipated need would be to “fill yourself up” with encouragement in your own heart. Whether it be reading the Bible, listening to praise and worship music, listening to a sermon, praying and getting into God’s presence as you seek Him with all your heart, or any number of other things that may help you, personally, to get “filled up” yourself, in so doing you’ll have what is needed when the opportunity comes to let yourself be “squeezed out” and share what’s already in your heart. So, the next time you find yourself in the grocery store, the hardware store, or any other place we’re “allowed” to go nowadays (with social distancing of course), make sure you’re prepared. It may take a little ingenuity to speak to someone from 6 feet away, but it can be done. If God opens the door of opportunity for you to share the hope He’s given you, being prepared ahead of time ensures you’ll be able to make the most of that opportunity. Remember, you may only get that one shot to make an eternal impact on another person’s soul … so be ready.
I am a sinner in need of salvation. I believe Jesus died on the cross in my place. I believe He alone gave His life as the perfect sacrifice for my sin. I believe Jesus not only died for my sins, but was also raised again and is now living in heaven. I believe only Jesus can make me righteous before You. There’s nothing I could ever do to earn Your free gift. I repent of all my sins and ask You to make me new as I accept Your gift of salvation now. I ask Jesus to be both the Lord and Savior of my life. Come into my heart, fill me with Your Spirit, and help me to live for You. Thank You for saving my soul. In Jesus’ name, amen.