Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Like a Fish Out of Water (10/24/13)
TITLE: DEEP BREATH
By James Cox III
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“For I know the thoughts I have for you, plans to prosper you and bring you peace to give you an expected end…”
He couldn’t have been more frustrated, nervous and curious at the same time than he was right now. No amount of Army training had prepared him for this, no repetitious, painful football drills had honed his body for the suffering he knew was to come, no amount of philosophical ranting he had overheard in college or in-depth readings of literature’s greatest had sharpened his mind for what was about to come.
When he receive Christ’s gift of salvation, years and years ago, he remembered telling GOD (yeah, “telling GOD”), how he wanted to be used and to “..show me what you want me to do” was on his lips every 5 minutes. Oh, yes, he said all the right things, he even showed up for Wednesday evening Bible studies. He looked and acted the part. Then the backsliding began and he lost himself in a haze of sinful living….until the last few years. He met a new woman who became his wife, they had two wonderful boys, they found a great place of worship and he then set about doing, “his father’s business”. He believed in his heart that GOD had called him to preach and teach, so for the past couple of years, he had been given the awesome privilege of teaching Men’s Bible Study. All things must change and the church needed help elsewhere, more “laborers” were needed in diverse places, and yet no one would raise a hand to help.
He stood in this new place, like an endangered animal being released in a new wildlife refuge and he was here because his wife had “volunteered” him in a church staff meeting (she was blessed with a job AT the church they joined). This was NOT Bible study as he envisioned and it was not preaching a life-changing sermon, it was none of the things he had dreamed he would do but it was everything GOD had planned for him to do. The Good Lord knows our TRUE gifts and callings, some of them are obvious to us and we fully embrace them in service to the King, others, aren’t so clear and so we tend to stick with what WE KNOW and that will always fall short of what HE knows.
Needless to say, our “hero” took a deep breath, walked over to the whiteboard and wrote his name in BIG letters. For a moment…silence, not a sound. And then, it came…”Should we call you Mr. Cox or Brother Cox?” The tall teacher gazed down at the classroom full of 3rd and 4th graders and said in a firm but loving way, “Brother Cox is fine, are we ready to get started boys?” “Who wants to open with prayer?” Over the ensuing winter, the class of Royal Rangers (the Christian version of Boy Scouts) and their teacher learned, laughed and loved one another and their teacher well he learned how to trust the Father’s guidance even more. He learned that what he wanted to do with his life and what GOD had already planned to do were two totally different things and oftentimes, the situations that the Father puts us in WILL make us very uncomfortable and often afraid, yet HE has already given us the gifts, talents and strengths we need inside us to accomplish the task and to do so in a way that glorifies Him, all we need to do is to take a deep breath, and take that step, in faith and do it.
“For my thoughts are NOT your thoughts and my ways are not your ways saith the Lord”
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