Our oldest daughter and my wife and I had planned to go to a bookfaire on Saturday, but a proliferation of rain caused us to postpone our adventure until Sunday when the weather was forecasted to turn to partly cloudy skies. The event was presented by the Friends of the Durham Library and was held at the main library in downtown Durham, North Carolina. Since the bookfaires from our local county library system back in California had been a mainstay event for our family even before Piper taught any of the kids to read, we were quite excited to attend a “big city” bookfaire!
I was happy to see that the library had its own parking lot and that we were not having to deal with metered parking. I was also a little surprised as the large parking lot was rather full! But as usual, God was good to us and we were able to park in the only available handicapped parking space that just happened to be right next to the entrance to the faire! My pleasure was diminished though, as we viewed the layout of the event.
The books were arranged throughout the library warehouse which had large roll-up doors open on either side and led to a rather large tent that housed the children’s section along with music and movies. The mystery and adventure books were in the conference room of the library which was accessible by a narrow and steep three step walkway. There were a lot of books (& people) stuffed into the confined areas. It began evident pretty quickly that the set up was not very conducive for Piper’s wheelchair!
So we went to plan “B” when our daughter suggested that she stay with Piper while I looked around and then switch places with her. I was somewhat miffed by the set up and only came away with one book as I let the inconveniences of the situation get to me! Our daughter on the other hand, had a great time and filled up a large bag with all kinds of “treasures.”
As I sat outside on the lawn with my wife toward the end of our stay, I began to reconsider my feelings. I made a conscience effort to think about what I enjoyed with our adventure. First of all, I enjoyed our getting to spend the day with our daughter Jamie and didn’t want my displeasure to ruin her excitement and joy (her full name is Jamie Joy… get it?). I also enjoyed the short ride to one of the two big cities in our area (Durham is north of our town and has a population of about 250 thousand, while the capital city of Raleigh is south of us with a population of about 450 thousand – definitely smaller than many of the large cities in the Bay Area of Northern California, but still considered big cities in these parts!). I enjoyed looking at all the books as I am a great lover of books, and enjoyed the little bit of exploring we did around the city on the way home.
I decided to decide that I had a good time and was happy and contented by the end of the day! And despite taking a couple of wrong turns near the library, we never really got lost, experienced a bit more of the local culture, and had a great cup of coffee while enjoying our grand-dogs at Jamie’s afterwards! Pretty good wouldn’t you say!
I re-lived yesterday’s events and decisions as I read from the second chapter of acts this morning. (Every time I say that I want to break into a chorus of the song “Mansion Builder” as written and performed by the seventies and eighties Christian band The Second Chapter of Acts!) I found myself comparing it to the inner turmoil that Peter and the other eleven Apostles must have had to deal with when they decided to stand up in front of the crowd to explain what was happening after the strange events that had just occurred in that upper room in downtown Jerusalem.
I think at that point they had to decide to decide to make good and to put aside their own concerns and fears. After all, that crowd was most likely made up of the same group of people that had been stirred up into a frenzy and convinced that Jesus needed to be crucified some forty days previous to that day. The thought of the crowd turning on them and shouting “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” had to be in the back of their minds.
But by that time Jesus was so big in them that everything else including their own peace of mind, any potential fear, and personal comfort zones didn’t matter at all! These men were burning inside and just had to share the love of God with anyone who would listen… and as it turned out… the crowd was ready to hear and receive what they had to share! Jesus was the center of the Apostle’s thoughts and not themselves!
I think that this is an important lesson for all of us to consider. It is something that my wife and I live with on a daily basis as it is very easy to see what is foremost in people’s lives when they come into contact with someone in a wheelchair. After six years of dealing with this we still have some relatives that choose to stay distant and disconnected from us. We recently received some very infrequent correspondence that demonstrated how out of touch they are with Piper’s needs and the situation as a whole.
It has become easy for me to see that when we look at the world through eyes focused on me and my needs instead of Jesus and His desires for people, that you become lost and ineffective to the greater purposes that God has for us to accomplish on this earth.
I was also impressed this morning as I read Jesus’ first response to the Apostles when He appeared to them as the two men who were on the road to Emmaus told of their recent experience with Him. Luke 24:36 tells that “While they were talking about what had happened, Jesus stood before them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” (God’s Word ©) Jesus could see their comfortableness with the report they were hearing and their fear as He appeared and immediately set out to comfort them and meet their needs. His first reaction was not to criticize and point out their problems or shortcomings, but to do what was necessary to bring peace, understanding and healing to them.
That is the way I think that He wants us also to respond to those we encounter throughout the daily events of our lives. I’ve experienced the finger pointing of others and I must admit… it does NOTHING to bring peace, understanding or healing to ANY situation. The key as both Peter and Jesus demonstrated is to put aside yourself… to take the focus off of you and put it on Him! Then trust in Him to make the necessary changes that the situation may require.
Give it a try this week and watch Him perform His Word with signs following! (See; Jeremiah 1:12 and Mark 16:20) Remember… He is the one that is “able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all…” (Ephesians 3:19 NKJV) not us! Have a great week. Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to change things in my world today?”