God’s Octopus Arms

My daughter, Little A, is in Pre-K this year at our nearby public school. So far, this has been a great experience. Her teachers really are wonderful and I am astounded with the patience they extend with 22 4-year-olds. It’s nothing short of a blessing while I work.

The other evening, after getting home from school, my daughter was hanging out, coloring, when we had the following conversation.

A: Mom–guess what? Lucia told me that God’s got lots and lots of arms, just like an octopus!

[my heart skips a beat and I think, Uh-oh, How am I going to address this? My brain races toward my elementary knowledge of world religions, and I silently pray, God, help! But what I say is:

M: Oh yeah? What do you mean?

A: Well, Lucia’s mom says that God is just like an octopus, you see, He can reach down and heal everybody. All at once!

M: You’re right, A. He certainly can.

Isaiah 41: 10 “So do not fear, I am with you; do not be dismayed, fro I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

A Healthy Dose of Persecution, Anyone?

2 Corinthians 4:8-12

8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

We are just about to wrap up our study of the book of Philippians, in our CBS group. You know, the joy in all circumstance book–in plenty, in want, in chains, free. All joy. For the glory of God. I want to share with you one of my answers to a question from week one of our study: “Do the above characteristics (unwavering, steadfast, being willing to suffer for the gospel, supporting those who are suffering for the gospel, completely humble and gentle, etc.) describe you? In which ones does God need to work in your life? Talk with him about it. The following was my answer:

I hate to write this, knowing what God is watching and knowing what I need: being willing to suffer for the gospel. What does that look like, God? What does that mean? I can’t even pick up a Voice of the Martyrs magazine, I’m too scared I’ll be called out to do the same thing? Lord, what do I do with it? [the fear of persecution] I surrender that fear to you.

Was I an absolute lunatic when I asked God the above question? I certainly wasn’t ready for my own dose of persecution just 3 weeks later. I wasn’t sleeping, my stomach was in knots, I wanted to run out of my apartment screaming from the rapid fire. And finally when things got hotter than I thought I could take, God said in a small voice as I was getting into my car one day: “Fear not, for I am with you.” (Is. 41:10). As soon as I got home, I grabbed a piece of paper, scribbled the phrase with a Sharpie on a piece of paper and taped it to my front door, so I had to look at that phrase at least 20xs an hour. This is the great I AM, the more I stared at that phrase, the more I began to concentrate on I AM. This is our God, the very one who spoke to Moses out of a burning bush, the very God who saw the oppression of his people and decided to deliver them through a man who should have been killed just by being born male. This is MY God. I read it, I repeated it, and I asked others to pray and guess what God did? He brought me through. But here, I believe was one of the keys: surrender. Saying, writing, praying, “I can’t do this Lord. You have to.”

Would you like to share a time that you clung to one verse like a lifeline? Please do!