Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spaghetti and Ravioli...

I’ll be honest with you…I’ve been in a mood this week. It’s been so bad I didn’t even want to be around myself! I woke up with it Monday morning and things just spiraled downward from there. I couldn’t figure out what happened. I mean, I went to sleep Sunday night with thoughts running through my head of God's strength being displayed in the lives of people I know and wondering how I could creatively turn it into a "seeing God through strength" blog post. I thought I was on the right track and expected to have it ready by Monday night. But I messed up (real good) and through my failure God taught me a very important lesson (again!).

So there I was, first thing Monday morning and already I was wishing it was Friday. Everything I touched seemed to fall apart and I mean everything. Actually, what was falling apart was me. But I was still thinking about God and strength so I thought I'd look up the word “strength” in the dictionary. Words such as endurance, power, force, intense, might, and depth were listed in the definition. I like it! Those words just jump out and shout “ARGHH” to you, don’t they? They pump you up and make you feel like you can handle anything, right? So what in the world was my problem? Yeah, I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me.

Well, by Wednesday morning I had come to the end of my little rope and I finally asked God, “What is wrong with me? I feel like bowl full of messy spaghetti when all want to be is neat little ravioli pockets. Help me. Please?” And just like only God can do, He was already way ahead of me. He knew what I needed before I knew. He provided the answer even before I asked Him the question! (He also overlooked the fact that every one of my analogies has to do with food and/or cooking - go figure!)

I logged on to my computer a few minutes after my plea for help and my daily verse was revealed to be Ephesians 6:16, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” You may recognize this as part of the section in Ephesians that explains the Armor of God for us. That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks…this verse was a continuation from the previous day and even the day before that – all the way back to my dark Monday morning. So I quickly went back to the beginning of the section. It starts in verse 10 and these are the first words…”Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Oh. My. Word. (Well, actually God’s words, my emphasis.) Strong, mighty and power all in the same sentence. It almost sent me clean over the edge! I continued to read the whole section and realized that I had fallen victim to the “devil’s schemes.” Yep, I stepped right into it! I was trying to make it in my own strength instead of God's. What a dumb idea!

But the real clincher I found in verse 18…”And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” I could have saved myself (and everybody who had to endure being around me) a whole heap of trouble if I had just prayed and paid attention when God spoke. And how many times do you count the word "all" in that verse? Think it's important? Yeah, I think so too! All Occasions, All Kinds of Prayers and Requests, Always keep on praying, For All the Saints...Doesn't leave much room to argue that there are days we would be wasting our time by praying, does it? I think He really means it when He says ALL.

I don’t think I’ll ever look at spaghetti the same way again. And hopefully the next time I feel like a tangled, mangled, grouchy mess, I’ll remember this lesson…use God’s strength, not mine! Then and only then will I be on the right track to a wonderful “ravioli day.” (And I'm not talking 'bout Chef Boyardee, either!)

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