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A "Not Asked" Prayer is Answered

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While Lois and I vacationed together with Ron and Judy last week in Maui there was an interesting incident that took place. We were enjoying the morning surf and sun, swimming and snorkeling at Ulua Beach Park, near Wailea.

We had gone out snorkeling and while returning to the beach I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to remove my wallet from my bathing suit pocket. Luckily, I had placed it a Ziploc sandwich bag to protect it from moisture. I reached down and to my horror I found that the wallet had disappeared! Controlled panic took place and I headed for shore to search for the wallet. But I already knew it was not there.

I yanked everything out of Lois’ beach bag, but my wallet was nowhere to be found. Gone were my credit cards, debit cards, I.D. cards, medical cards, Nexus card, all of my cash, and more! I was dismayed, but controlled (Lois would say frenzied) in a manly sort of way. I got the car keys from Ron and headed to search the car for the wallet that I already knew was not there.

As I walked a short distance towards the parking lot I heard someone call, “Hugh”. I did not recognize the voice, but I turned and saw a young man who asked me “Are you Hugh?”

“Yes” gasped and he asked if I had lost my wallet. He said that he recognized me from my photo ID (which must have been easy when he noticed my finely chiseled features) and that his dad had found my wallet floating out in the ocean.

My wallet was returned dry and with nothing removed. I thanked the strangers from Boise, Idaho profusely.  I commended them for their honesty.

I returned with my wallet to Lois, Ron and Judy, who were surprised, relieved, and amazed. I found myself marveling and continually thanking God for the return of my wallet. Imagine someone, an honest person, finding my small wallet in that large expanse. I went from dismay to euphoria. Coincidence alone? I don’t think so! During my short ordeal, my first inclination was not to pray, but God blessed me anyway.

Psalm 136:1 NLT
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.”     

Sharing our Lives

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Do you know just HOW important it is to live in community with others? To share your triumphs and struggles and to connect with others on a deeper level? Whether you’re comfortable with it or not, we are made to share our lives with those around us. Our souls crave companionship and God never intended us to live this life alone.

 

I am very aware that opening up to others can be an uncomfortable, scary, and overwhelming thing. Is it easy to be honest and bare it all? Not for the majority of us! We feel as though we are going to be judged and ridiculed or thought of as less of a person if we admit our faults and struggles. But there is something SO freeing about laying it all out there. And once you can do that, there is a deeper connection that begins to form. There is a level of comfort that comes when we openly share about all aspects of our life. Feeling compassion and encouragement from others lightens our load, strengthens us, and gives us courage to keep going.  When we extend and receive the love and forgiveness of others we are essentially feeling the love of Christ on this earth.

 

When we share our lives we aren’t burdening others, we are lightening our own load and actually giving life to those we are sharing with. When we are open and honest and REAL it gives others a feeling of “permission” to open up and be themselves. If we never talk about the nitty gritty details of our lives, it’s easy to imagine that others have it all together – but no one has it all together. Friendship is formed by commonality and if we only ever talk about surface details of our lives we will never form those deep rooted friendships we long for. By pushing fear aside and choosing to be real and transparent we are able to make an impact on our own lives AND the people we open up to. We also tend to see situations from a different perspective and may be able to rectify something we couldn’t previously see a solution to. Our lives become richer by hearing different perspectives and points of view.

 

Have you ever come away from a conversation with a friend, or group of friends, and felt absolutely refreshed? Maybe it’s a conversation over coffee, a walk at the beach, or a discipleship group gathering. You all of a sudden you have a ton of energy and feel like you could conquer the world. That’s the power of building friendships and living in community! Talking about the tough parts of our lives doesn’t necessarily stop those situations from continuing, but it sure does lift the weight of the situation off of us. Having that weight lifted can give us the room we need to breathe again, gather our thoughts, and tackle the problem. Through these relationships we can receive prayer and accountability and we can begin to experience the full power and delight of life with God when we are sharing life together with our brothers and sisters.

 

As believers in Jesus Christ we are called to make disciples of all nations; we are called to tell others about our loving Jesus. How do we do that? By forming relationships! Forming trust through relationships is such a key part of reaching this world with the Good News. Do you typically take notice and really, truly listen to someone you don’t trust? I know I don’t! Trust is key for making an impact on others and trust is more easily built when we are honest and open.  Don’t fear community and relationships – welcome them! There is so much we can gain from each other and we can make a much greater impact for Jesus when we step outside our comfort zone and have deep conversations with the people God has brought into our lives.