Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)
TITLE: The Blind Leading the...
By Beth Muehlhausen
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“It’s an ongoing thing…trusting the Spirit,” Kathy explained as she leaned my way over the remains of her lunch salad. “My eyes failed slowly, starting at age six – but by the time I was eighteen, my sight was completely gone. Blindness is a continuing journey – a journey in trust, in letting go of things that don’t matter and embracing those that do.”
She poked with her fork until the last illusive cherry tomato stuck, then chewed thoughtfully.
“So how would you describe your response to such a devastating disability?” I queried. “How did you bounce back? And how to you cope?”
Kathy carefully placed her fork on the table and turned her empty gaze my way. “The Holy Spirit is always faithful…He works in me constantly, and has done so the whole time…from the onset of my eye disease.” Her expression softened. It felt as if I could sink for miles into those clear hazel eyes that knew only blackness.
Speechless, I searched her face and waited for more.
She folded her napkin and wiped her mouth. Patty, her loyal guide dog, sighed from underneath the table - perhaps intuitively knowing to settle in for a while longer.
“There are cycles, I guess,” she began. The Spirit repeatedly breaks apart my anger and fear and softens my heart to follow His lead – before shaping me into a stronger vessel, and filling me with His power. It is an ongoing process. Right now I’m in another phase of preparation. God is getting me ready to work on my new book manuscript.”
She felt for the drinking straw with her pointer finger and then sipped her raspberry iced tea.
“Hmmmm, cycles. That’s interesting. But can you explain how the Spirit works, really? I mean how do you know what He is doing?” I took my last bite of salad and leaned against the back of the padded restaurant booth.
Kathy smiled her characteristic childlike grin. “You and your questions! Well, I’ve come to realize the Spirit can’t do much work in me until I’m submitted to Him. So first He has to break down whatever resistance is in my heart – you know, like bitterness, or pride, or fear. Jealousy can be a big thing for me. He is really good at pointing out those protective walls made of wrong attitudes…the ones that become habits…the ones that isolate and limit me.”
I found myself glued to Kathy’s face, knowing she couldn’t see my piercing stare. “But after you recognize those barriers, what next?” I desperately wanted to learn the secret of her ongoing optimism.
“I’ve learned that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman – He won’t continue His work in me without an invitation.” Kathy glowed with excitement, as if holding a dear secret. “So when He is working in my heart, convicting me of what is True, I ask Him to soften it even more…make it pliable….teachable.”
I nodded, even though she couldn’t see. “So He starts the process, then you give Him permission to continue?”
Her countenance quieted. “Sort of like that, I guess. But really it comes down to expectancy. I constantly expect Him to re-shape me – my heart – in a more healthy form, without the bitterness or fear or whatever.”
I blurted my most pressing concern across the table. “You’re always talking about strength and power – when does that come in? When do you feel supernatural ability to rise above pain and disappointment?” There. It was out.
“Oh for sure…the Spirit’s filling is the best part,” Kathy agreed. “Once that fake façade is broken, and my heart is softened and ready to receive whatever God has for me, I ask Him to fill me with His precious Spirit. Filling is something that happens over and over and over…continually, really.”
“And when you are filled, you are victorious?” I probed.
Time suddenly stood still. The chatter of lunch patrons seemed to fade as Kathy began to sing, almost in a whisper.
“Spirit of the living God,
Fall fresh on me.
Spirit of the living God,
Fall fresh on me.”
Patty looked up and thumped her tail in rhythm on the carpeted floor. The jabbering people on every side slid into the distant background while something jarred my heart with an inner shift toward hope. Kathy’s peaceful face spoke volumes: the Spirit was at work.
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