Monday, March 5, 2012

How Could I Not Be Overwhelmed?

This past weekend, I was on the receiving end of a blessing.  Words cannot express how divinely precise the blessing was to me in the moment it was given.  It was an answer to a prayer I had yet to utter.  
I was working in the kitchen at a women's retreat this past weekend, even though I am not gifted with the culinary arts.  The co-chairs did not care about that, as long as I could follow directions, I was in.  It was a blast, but we were extremely busy.  We started prepping on Thursday night, leaving the kitchen around midnight.  Friday morning we started at 6:00am and finished up around 10pm.  As soon as we finished breakfast, we would start on lunch.  Right after lunch, we started on dinner.  It was non-stop! 

A little after 10:00pm, I checked the prayer sign-up sheet to see what time I had committed to pray for the event at the chapel.  Turns out I had signed up for the 4:00am-5:00am prayer coverage.  I let one of the people in charge know that I would pray, but I would pray from home.  He said that would be fine.

Another man who was at the chapel asked me what my time commitment was and I told him.  He said he would take my prayer time and told me to sleep.  He volunteered for the time slot that I myself had signed up for a few weeks prior.  When I began to protest, he said, "You have been up since 5:00 and on your feet all day.  You're tired.  I'll take your prayer time.  You need to rest."  

The man was right.  I was tired and I could barely hold myself up.  However, I was trusting God to give me the strength to pray the following morning.  God honored my efforts and gave me what I needed.  He answered a prayer I had yet to say.  It was Romans 8:26-28 realized in a very tangible way I could understand and appreciate. The scripture says, "...the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

As I walked back to my car, I began to cry.  Good tears, though.  I knew God had personally and precisely blessed me and the knowledge of that was overwhelming.  The verse I quoted above went through my mind as I drove home.  The Spirit knew I was struggling and I was physically, emotionally and spiritually weak after giving all I had in the kitchen.  Working in the kitchen doesn't seem "holy enough" to deserve a blessing.  But isn't that thinking a bit prideful?  

The moment that man offered to take my place at the prayer chapel was a holy moment.  I knew it as I walked towards my car, shedding tears of relief and joy.  I had not prayed for someone to take my place, but the Spirit was interceding because he knows me to my very core.  He knew I was not going to be able to do it.  The retreat was counting on 24-hour prayer coverage throughout its entirety.  So for me to let this man pray during my sign-up time was a surrender on my part.  The man was following the Spirit's prompting and offered to help me.  It was the body of Christ working together in that moment.  How could I not be overwhelmed?

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