Please read Day 38! Today we have a new acronym to consider: C.A.R.E. (Caring and Receiving care Equally.)
The Author speaks about Adam and Eve being willing to receive God’s care, but refusing to return their “care” to God. Page 229: “They refused to care for God, wanting only His care for them. No ‘equal exchange of care’ occurred. Their love relationship with God was broken.”
Not long ago God brought this to my attention in a very interesting way. I am ashamed to recall the story – but I am glad God lovingly taught me this lesson. I had been whining to God about the way I thought my husband had not been loving me “right”! (sigh) I was feeling neglected – upset about him not calling me during the day, not taking me out on a date, not engaging in conversations when he got home. (whine, whine, whine) (me, me, me) Somehow, in between my pathetic whines, God lovingly turned the whining around and applied it to the way I treat Him. I heard God sadly saying something like, “Hmm. I wonder if Dawn will call Me today? I can’t remember the last time she had time for Me. I wish she would spend time on a date with Me. ” (sigh, again)
“Is that what you want to teach me through my whining, God? That the way I longed for attention from my spouse, is the same way You long for attention from me?” (groan) “Oh Dear God – I am so sorry – please forgive me for the days and months and even years I have ignored You and not shown You my love and care.” That moment hurt. But I am glad that it hurt bad enough to cause me to intentionally try to treat God differently.
The verse for today is found in Hebrews 10:24(NLT) “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds”.
This reminded me of child-rearing. If I remember correctly – we never had to teach our children how to be selfish! The “outbursts” in our home have rarely been “outbursts of love and good deeds”!!! Most of the outbursts were outbursts of selfishness and self-centeredness! We had to teach our children to share their toys, to share their cookies, to be nice, to not hit others, to say thank you, to let their guest pick what to play when they came over.
Sadly, we carry these self-centered ways into our teenage years, into our relationships, our marriages, our divorces, etc., etc., etc. Right? Until our dying day we will struggle with “self” and the problem we have returning God’s care to Him.
One final concept that “jumped off the page” for me today is “Care must be given and received equally.” The “receive” part took me to another direction. What about the struggle to “receive?” Have you met people who are excellent at giving and serving, but not very good at letting others help them or serve them in return? We need to also be Good Receivers. I have no trouble with seeing myself as a "wretched, miserable sinner." I do struggle with letting God lavish His forgiveness on me - the miserable sinner. That is a dangerous place to remain. It's time to grow in this area of Receiving His Grace, Forgiveness, and Love!
Last week I had the joy of taking a mom and her five children out to McDonald’s for lunch. They are having extremely difficult financial times. It felt so good to “treat” them. After an hour of visiting and watching the kids play, she said, “Dessert time – my treat!” Oh, I wanted so much to say, “No – I’ll get dessert!” Or, “No, I don’t want anything, I’m fine.” After all, they couldn’t afford it. But I think the Holy Spirit intervened and shut my mouth! She needed the dignity to be able to do something nice for me. I needed to let her have the joy of giving, too. I had to be a good Receiver!
That’s the journey God had in store for me, today. How about you? I am so thankful for this “Why Pray” experience. It has change my personal prayer life, as well as the prayer life of our entire family. I can’t wait to see where God leads us next!
Don’t forget to send in your stories, too! Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.