While sitting in my wheelchair the other day, praying (complaining) to God about my situation, I found a question rising up within my spirit. Where would my thoughts be if I was completely well? Would they be on the Lord as much as they are these days? I suspected I knew the answer.

Then reading Oswald Chambers during our morning devotions I found him making the same point (ouch).

Troubles almost always make us look to God, but His blessings tend to divert our attention elsewhere. The basic lesson of the Sermon on the Mount is to narrow all your interests until your mind, heart, and body are focused on Jesus Christ.

I hate to admit it but I recognize truth here. My brokenness from the stroke interferes with my independence. I was giving Jesus part of my life (big parts, I thought). But there was still space I reserved for myself. It  is mostly frustration over losing my freedom of action in those spaces that has generated my complaints and fears. I, my natural man, am my own problem. My desires, my will, stands in the way of God’s will, His purpose for my life.

I go back to some of my first insights into what it meant – what it needs to mean – to be a deacon. The first deacons were table waiters. People weren’t coming around because they were interested in the waiters. They wanted the waiters to mostly stay out of the way. The waiter may be able to guess some of what you want (water glass or coffee cup refilled without asking). But for most everything else the waiter needs to patiently wait until he’s told what to do by the people at the table. It’s not about the waiter or what he wants.

Oswald Chambers went on to say,

We will find what we are looking for if we will concentrate on Him. We get distracted from God and irritable with Him while He continues to say to us, “Look to Me, and be saved….” Our difficulties, our trials, and our worries about tomorrow all vanish when we look to God.

How shall I pray to You, Lord? Here’s what I want. But what do You want? How can I best cooperate and submit so that it is Your Will that gets done on earth – and in the earth that is my body – as it is in Heaven?


About Deacon Rick

I am a retired Deacon in Lakeland Florida.
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4 Responses to Focus

  1. Donna Bartholomew says:

    For six years I’ve asked God to heal Bruce from his pain and incontinence. There have been seven surgeries. Many times I have felt just like you have put into words, Rick. I think Bruce may have settled there, so now that is my chief prayer: to return him to his first Love. All the while, I have drawn closer to God and thank Him for things so small that one might laugh at me! He has shown me that my calling, though I never would have felt equipped for it, is to be a caregiver…first to Bruce’s mother and now to her son. He equips me daily as He teaches me. Being human, however, I still get angry and upset; I confess. He forgives. Now that swallowing problem you’ve had would have (might have) been my undoing! But I am praising God for signs that He is answering our prayers about that! I love that you are being real along with Melanie, Mr. Velveteen Rabbit! Your posts and hers encourage so many who identify with you…an expanded calling perhaps?

  2. Sam & Kristina says:

    Amen and Amen.

  3. Nancy M says:

    Thanks Rick for your post, and sharing your thoughts and teachings with all who read!

  4. Rev. Dr.Edward A. Weiss, OSB, APC says:

    A remarkable understanding. Beautifully articulated, as always. Thank you

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