Proper Handling of our Testimony … It’s all in the “poles” …

The church where I am a member and a Sunday School Teacher, Cotile Baptist Chruch, has been such a blessing to me, because we study, really study God’s Holy Word. A small group of women, to include some from the community just concluded Beth Moore’s Study on David: Seeking a Heart Like His and are about to embark on her study of Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman; I am just so excited.  As I mentioned in my last blog, I am also doing online Bible Studies through the Women’s Bible Café (www.womensbiblecafe.com), separate from my church group, I have completed two and about to start my third one. I love the wisdom of the women in our private online group.  Here is what I do know, one is never too old to learn new truths … from the truths one has known for years.  Life helps us to interpret scripture differently based on the growing done between deep studies.   On Wednesday night we are studying 1 & 2 Samuel and on Sunday night we are delving into Revelation.  Last night was a look at Chapter 6 of 2 Samuel, but because of discussion we only made it halfway through this very short chapter. Verse 3 explains how carefully David had the Ark placed on a “new” cart, with new hay, and with “pure” oxen pulling it that would later be used for worship and sacrifice.  Skipping ahead to verse 6, we find that Uzzah put his hand on the Ark to keep it steady (preventing it from falling) and for this action was struck down by God.  David once again became angry (I know I am related to him), and the rest of the story can be told separately.  Why was Uzzah struck dead – because he touched the ark, and that was forbidden! Harsh, yes, but it is a lesson for us.  In Exodus 25:13-15, God gave very specific instructions which in summary were that the poles were to be put in the four rings, “… that the Ark may be carried by them…”  Here is what was not done … “…the poles shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it.” (v.15). It was hurriedly carried out of Egypt by those poles, and it is what was commanded.   But Uzzah prevented it from falling, and to that I pose this:  if they had been following God’s instructions, it would not have been in the position to fall.  When I do not heed God’s instructions, I fall,or like David, I become angry when consequences are set into motion as the outcome of my “let me do it this way” ideas. The challenge of being a Christian in today’s world is that we are faced with the tendency to conform, let’s do it this way, it is more up to date.  Knowing that someone is watching my life, and I am putting my testimony on a new cart, with new straw and pure oxen, why am I surprised when I fall, and therefore risk becoming a stumbling block to anyone who is watching the Bible of my life.  As a woman I struggle with wanting to help God accomplish the answer to my prayer, very often.  For all of us, the challenge is to carry our testimonies in such a manner that it is true to God’s word and His will for our lives.  Let’s face it, if I become angry, the poles will be broken … and frequently in anger, my life is broken.  Was David trying to do the right thing, yes, but the rules were written to guide his efforts to do the right thing.  Do I try to do the right thing, yes, but if you have read my book [Asking What: No More Whys] which is available through Westbow Press as well as Amazon, you already know that I have a degree in “Anger”.  After studying this last night, today I am keenly aware of the instructions to “…study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth …” (2 Timothy 2:15). Success in allowing God to live in my life can only come from reading the rules enough that my life choices are in keeping with something as direct as “leave the poles in it”!  God has to remain in us, in our actions as we follow the directions, with the outcome being as straight forward as those “poles”.

Confirmation of my life’s ministry

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer one month after my sister received the same diagnosis, I could not imagine how that would fit in with what I understood to be my life journey at the time.  My brother’s death at the age of 35 had served to spur me into action, but now things were slowed on the timeline I had set for myself.  I had graduated from college and ready to go, or so I thought.  Now I chose to be angry again. Angry at the hand I had been dealt, angry that it did not match my goals.  That was the point, they were my goals.  Through this journey I did pray a prayer that demonstrated how limited I believed my God to be.  I asked that He let me live long enough to make a difference in one person’s life, God’s reply: “It is one person at a time”.  I had been limiting God because that is all my spiritual vision could see.  Twenty-three years later, I have seen positive confirmation that it is one life at a time, and God allows me to receive that confirmation through a phone call, a letter, an email or through an unexpected, unplanned conversation.  I still get angry, I just strive to not sin in that anger.  I learned strength from my Southern Baptist parents and heritage, I learned courage from those people God has placed in my life, and I learned that love and faith are not just nouns, they are verbs that require I participate in life with all of my being.  Like the woman with the issue of blood, I have to be willing each day of my life to push through the “busy-ness” of the day and practice my faith.