Does God care about my Everyday Life?

Call to Worship: I am with you and will watch over you. Genesis 28:15

The servant said, “Lord, you are the God of my Master Abraham. Allow me to find a wife for his son today. Please show this kindness to my master. Genesis 24:12

 

There are a lot of people right here who have had miracles happen in their lives. Terri needed a home and God sent her to us. Susan has been able to live in her own apartment for many years now. It’s easy for me to see why God would give Susan or Terri a miracle but would he do the same for me? God loved Abraham but what about his family and his servants? Have a member read, Genesis 24:12.

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Tell the story of Eliazer, Abraham’s servant, going to find Isaac a wife fourn in Genesis 24. Servant went to Mesopotamia to search for a wife. He stood by a well and said, “repeat the verse.” ..

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        II. This is an important story because it shows that God doesn’t just care about important people like Abraham and Terri and Susan. He cares about ordinary people like me and Eliazer, the servant. How did God show Eliazer that he loved him?

          First, He answered Eliazer’s prayer.Second, he made Eliazer‘s job easy.

          Third, he led him every step of the way. What if he had gone to a different well? What if he had asked the wrong question.?

          God wants you to know that he will answer your prayer, make your way easy and lead you in the way you should go to please him.

         

  2. He asked God to give him a sign. I will ask a young woman for water. If she is the one let her say, “Drink and I will get you water for your camels also.”

    Before he finished his prayer a beautiful young virgin woman named Rebekah came up to the well.

    God answered his prayer and Rebekah became Isaac‘s wife.

 

I write down my dreams.  And, yes, I agree with Joseph who told Pharoah that God gives the interpretations to our dreams.  Several years ago I had a dream that completely confused me.  The essence of it was that my husband and I moved into a large new house in Denver, Colorado.  The house was beautiful, large and expensive.  We even owned a shopping center in our lower floor.  I loved the house but at the end of the dream, I burst into tears, saying, “I miss my old home.” 

The dream completely confused me.  The question loomed in my brain, How could I be so unhappy about such a great and beneficial move?  Last week I reread the dream.  This time the meaning was totally clear to me.  Ten years ago, my life took a radical and violent detour.  As a result, everything was turned upside down.  I felt I would lose my ministry and perhaps even my family.  Even though none of that happened, I grieved my loss for three years.  As the years have slipped away, however, the result of this radical change for me has been that I have a great deal more freedom and stability than I’d ever imagined I would have.   

The Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  We do classic ministry, evangelizing and discipleship.  As a result, we are the pastors of many people who don’t even attend our weekly programs.  In a conversation with a family member last week, a father confided, “The birth of Marvin was the best and worst thing that ever happened to our family.”  Marvin is a man in his thirties.  Handsome and energetic, Marvin is also developmentally disabled.  Like all our families, his mental retardation has been a source of great grief for the family over the years.  However, as Marvin has developed and matured, he has become his parents greatest source of joy.  This is also true in almost all of our families.

The famous disability lawyer and my good friend, Dolores Norley died about two years ago. When she realized that she was terminally ill, Dolores put her son in a group home .  One afternoon as we sat on her screened porch, she laughingly told me, “I’m going to be really mad at God if I don’t die soon. ” It had been a difficult decision to not continue to live with her son in their lovely garden cottage.   “I’ve had two husbands and several roommates but my son is the best companion I’ve ever had.”  Her laughter stopped and tears formed as her voice cracked, “I cannot tell you how much I miss him.” 

This sentiment is echoed in the families who make up our small subculture again and again.  God’s economy and ways are not like our ways.  His economy is often too upside down for my tastes. But over the years, we learn that he is correct and often the greatest, most brutal experiences of grief become our greatest blessing.

How many times have your heard the same sentiment from other parents whose children are intellectually delayed?  Do you see that same sentiment expressed by the siblings of the family?  What makes the difference between sibling who resent their disabled brother or sister and who love them?  Or is that the subject of another blog?

I had several friends who had amazingly gifted children.  But they weren’t good students in school.  At times their mothers would come to me for solace and advice.  I would tell them, “Just get your child out of school.  Do everything you can to help him graduate from high school.  He’ll be fine once he is out of the school system.”

As the young men and women graduated and then began to succeed in their chosen careers, more than one mother came back and said, “I didn’t think so at the time but you were right.”

Too often, children aren’t able to succeed within the school system for a variety of reasons.  However, that doesn’t mean they are stupid.  Howie was a pretty obnoxious man with Downs Syndrome who attended Special Gathering, a ministry within the mentally challenged community, when I became a staff member.  However, Howie taught me a great many things about our sub-culture.  I’ve always been grateful to him for those cultural lessons.

One day, Howie called me.  He was so upset his voice was shaking.  He had gone to McDonald’s for dinner.  Some teenage boys were there and they proceeded to poke fun of him.  Howie took it as long as he could and then he walked over to their table.  He said, “I may be retarded but I’m not stupid or unkind.  I understand what you are saying and I don’t like it.  You, boys, may not be retarded but you are stupid and unkind.”

While our members may not have a high  IQ (Intellectual Quotient).  That doesn’t mean that they are stupid.  Most of them garner high points in other areas.  I’ve broken these down into three catagories:  SS (Street Smarts); CQ (Cunning Quotient) and WQ (Wisdom Quotient).

Street Smarts is the ability to survive in the most adverse situations.  Many people who are developmentally disabled I’ve met can outsmart the most street-wise individual in New York City.   While SS helps with survival, it’s not always attractive.   Carrie loves getting attention.  When she speaks she cannot be understood by anyone, even her parents.  Whenever we attend self-advocacy conferences, Carrie doesn’t let that fact stop her from joining in and even monopolizing the discussions.  Carrie has enough street smarts to know that under those circumstances, she won’t be interrupted or asked to sit down even though no one can understand her. 

Cunning Quotient is the ability to get your way even though the deck is stacked against you.  This ability is often used by normal people while playing poker and other competitive games.  Saul is a member of Special Gathering who attends regularly.  He is a dedicated Christian with autistic tendencies.  I admit it.  I love Saul a lot.  He is kind and he goes out of his way to bless me with his prayers.

Saul knows that if he hangs back a little as all the other Sepcial Gathering members go to get their refreshments, he can quietly go through the alternate refreshment line that isn’t meant for Special Gathering members.  This line has a greater variety of goodies.  Saul knows that because no one else notices, I will pretend that I don’t see him; and I’ll let him get by with it.  Yep, I make an exception just because he is Saul, the person who never gives anyone any trouble or asks for any other special favors.  That’s cunning.

The Wisdom Quotient is, of course, the most godly of the abilities and Judy embodies this quality.  She is a wise young woman who sits quietly and prays while others vie for attention.  One Sunday, I had been hurried because everything had gone wrong.  My van had not been at the church when I needed it; and I had to arrange other transportation.  The sound system had not worked.  Most of my choir members were absent.  My husband was sick. 

As I fumbled trying to find my sermon for the morning, Judy reached over from the choir.  “I pray for you,” she whispered.  “Lord, Linda doesn’t want me to know it but she is really upset this morning.  Please help her as she preaches.”

I was shocked and humbled.  Wise Judy had seen my plight and she prayed for me.  Great wisdon in action.

In what ways have you seen your members show street smarts?  Cunning?  And wisdom? 

Of course we know it.  Most people who stubble into The Special Gathering blogsite aren’t looking for us.  They are looking for answers.  We are a ministry within the mentally challenged community (developmental disabilities).  We do classic ministry, evangelism and discipleship.  We don’t do social ministry, group homes and rehabilitation workshops.   Considering the world-wide church, we are a small ministry that ministers face to face to approximately 450 people who are intellectually disabled. 

If you’ve ever had a blog you understand the process from this end.  We publish our thoughts, prayers and observations on the blogsite and people find us.  You may google or yahoo us by searching for individuals with intellectual disabilities or mental retardation.  You may find us through a convoluted path of websites and blogs.

While we may not be exactly what people are looking for, I pray that Special Gathering’s blog will be a respite in their search for answers–your search for answers.  A drink of cool water.  An oasis.  We desire to be an outreach of hope, evangelism and teaching for lonely travelers who sit at their computer screens and stare into the vast land of informational overload.  At Special Gathering, we seek to minister to people with disabilities.  In the process, we sometimes inadvertently touch lives of professionals and parents.  We have years of experience and we know just enough to realize there is so much that we don’t know. 

However, here at this blog spring head, we are desiring to touch the wounded warriors:  a minister, a home or foreign missionary within the mentally challenged community who isn’t sure that anyone is praying for you.  We know there are parents who secretly fear there may be no hope for your child.  Irreligious professionals sincerely search for answers that are far beyond your expertise and worldly experience.

Our prayer for you is that this will be a fountain of hope and a stopover in the fulfillment of your deepest desire.  We understand that your task is daunting–helping the helpless and strengthening the weak.  Sure, we all speak a big politically correct language and we really believe the verbiage of “no disability, except what we will not do.”  However, sitting in front of the screen in the middle of the night, we search our plaintive pleas for assistance in words like “help for a parent with an autistic child” and “one scripture for my children who are mentally challenged.”  The most frequent has been “a Bible for my child who is mentally retarded.”

In front of the silent gaping screen, we drop the politically proper verbage and bluster.  We sincerely desire help and desperately want answers.  Here at Special Gathering, we admit we don’t have all the professional unction you need.  We don’t even have all the spiritual answers you grasp for in desperation; but we do know the Rock from which supernatural water springs and He can provide the answers you seek.  Christ is your oasis in this desert land.  Reach out and He will touch you and quench your thirst.  He will give you strength to face one more day in the desert of endless hope and unanswered desperation.

I’ve been touched by the amazing simplicity of the scripture that we are using as our Call to Worship in Special Gathering of Indian River this month.  “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NCV).

 Today be assured we weep and pray for you.  Christ is the answer…your answer.