September 4, 2009
The Bigger Picture
"Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains."
James 5:7 (NIV)
I overheard a conversation while in an airport. I wanted to jump into the dialogue, but I had a plane to catch and more importantly, I would have to admit that I was eavesdropping, so I moved on. "He's just in it for the money," the man said while we waited in line at security. He named the author of a best-selling Christian book. "It's simplistic. Over-hyped. I can't believe it's sold so many copies." This conversation made me think about my daughter's best friend, Emily.
When I first met Emily she was a new believer. Occasionally our pastor would ask families to pray together. On those Sundays we opened our arms and Emily joined us. But as much as she loved the Ellers, it wasn't her family.
Her parents didn't understand her faith. Her older brother mocked her faith.
Emily went on mission trips. She was involved in youth group. She left for college and organized campus ministries, and even traveled to Africa to minister to children with AIDS. The longing for her family to love Jesus intensified, but from the outside looking in it appeared that her prayers were hitting the ceiling.
What Emily didn't know is that her brother was watching closely. His little sister's faith had grown and now she was a woman of faith.
One day he bought a book and read it straight through the night. Somewhere between dark and dawn Emily's Savior became his. In the next few months he led his fiancé to Christ. He shared his faith with his parents, and now that both of their children's lives had been changed, they too became believers.
That was four years ago. Recently Emily came home to visit her family, and they all came to church. I couldn't help but look back with excitement when I heard these words, "Could families gather together and pray?" Emily walked down the aisle. Her family wrapped her in their arms. It was a beautiful sight.
And the book that the man in the airport said was simplistic and overhyped? That was the very book that Emily's brother read that changed his life. It was an answer to a faithful girl's prayers.
What does this have to do with you and me? As a writer, every day I'm in my home-office wearing jeans and a T-shirt writing on a laptop, hoping that someone might actually hear the message. But I can't see the bigger picture. I don't know if the words are making a difference or not. All I know is that God called me to communicate a message and to be faithful to that call.
Maybe there are days that you struggle, too. Maybe all you hear are the negative comments like those of the man in the airport. But does that mean that nothing good is happening? Absolutely not!
When I think of Emily, I am encouraged to place my ministry in God's hands and allow Him to do the miracles while I type one word at a time.
Will you trust Him to do miracles with your faith and your work as well?
Dear Father, I don't always see the bigger picture, but You do. Today I place my discouragement and comments of others in Your hands. Thank You for wisdom, encouragement, and renewed joy as I trust You with the bigger picture. Amen.
The Woman I'm Becoming: Embrace the Chase for Destiny, Faith, and Identity
by T. Suzanne Eller
What is one act that someone did for you that changed your life?
Encourage them today by writing them a note or e-mail thanking them.
When people encounter Jesus, no matter how they find Him, it changes their lives. Stay faithful as you spread the Word.
Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (NIV)
1 Thessalonians 2:13, "And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers." (ESV)
© 2009 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 04 September 2009.