KEY SCRIPTURE: Matthew 12:41-44 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
RELEVANCE Our lives are full of experiences. A few of them resemble the shadow of death, while many do not, and life is full of them. Not one of us escapes incidents but often wished we could. Some are God-induced, others are our own doing, while the rest happen because that's how life rolls. But if we're available, God will make use of everything we give him—every trial, every success, every failure (and I know we have many), whether we are lame, blind, broke, in or out of prison, suffered much or very little. He accepted the poor woman's two mites and considered them an abundance. Why? Because in offering the two coins, she also presented all her hardships, pain and trials that brought her to that point.
The Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:26-28) told Jesus she would gladly take the scraps from under the table because she saw their value for her problem. Every one of us has experiences that will help another if we can see them in the same light as Jesus.
For the past few of weeks, I have been visiting a friend Geoff (not his real name), in Sunshine ICU (Intensive Care Unit), whose kidneys failed. It appears he fainted at home and fell to the floor, with one of his legs laying on icy tiles for hours into the night underneath the other one, nearly costing his leg and his life.
On a night I attended Men's Support Mission (men's group), I received a cry out text from Geoff, "Hi Niv, I'm in Sunshine Hospital ICU; please pray!" So, I gave him a quick call to find the reason.
Geoff is healthy (or so he thought), works hard and has difficult hours, commencing around 3:00 am as a delivery driver. His work schedule prevents him from joining us at the men's group, but his heart is there. He's never missed a night's work, and the boss appreciates his discipline, determination and commitment.
Finding himself in hospital was the last thing he needed. The next day I began my visits. Plugged into a dialysis machine in ICU and passing dark red urine was not on Geoff's calendar, but kidney failure sneaks up on some of us if not picked up earlier in a blood test. It is a silent killer, giving little indication of the gravity about to occur.
One good thing is that Geoff understands how blessed he is to be alive, knowing God's hand was upon him. The nurses say his appreciation is infectious and pleasant to be around.
As most of you know, my kidneys failed four years ago. My doctor identified my kidney issue in a blood test but could do nothing to prevent the freefall as I watched the various indicators get worse as time progressed. I was in a lot of pain and trauma during that ordeal. The kidneys are central to the health of other organs and body functions, triggering many other bodily issues. I went on dialysis, then progressed to a kidney transplant.
Geoff knew of my experience; therefore, my visitations were more meaningful. As he shared his experiences, I could feel where he was at as I drew on my history. And as a side benefit, I've also been able to wash his clothes and run errands for him, AND caution him on what not to buy. For instance, a box of assorted lollies he ordered from his local IGA supermarket was never going to be on his diet list, but once he was moved to a ward he bought them anyhow. (The dilemma of a sweet tooth). Sure enough, the next day I called in and there they were untouched in the corner.
Geoff is now on the mend. His kidneys are beginning the show signs of life, although figures are extremely low. He's now lost the 10 kg of additional fluid he put on in a week; when his skin was so taut, it seemed ready to burst or split. His boss visited, telling him not to worry about work and concentrate on his health, as his job would be safe. Geoff's attitude is gratitude, which helps the healing process.
In time, Geoff can pass on this experience to someone else who may go through similar troubles.
Our trials are not only burdensome at the time but often painful and possibly life-threatening, like Geoff's. Some experiences leave us bewildered, shocked, drained and tearful, tempting us to cry out, "Why Me?"
But I remember reading about a man who made furniture from old gnarly logs and stumps. He said the more tortured the tree, the better the timber. As we see with two mites, God won't disregard even the smallest offering if volunteered from a willing heart. He wastes nothing and will use it somewhere. Our experiences, however insignificant to us, now we have gone through them, may be just what another person needs at a specific time.
PRAYER Dear Lord, please show me how to make my trials useful for others, whether I was successful in them or failed. Please allow me to share them without being embarrassed, overbearing, pushy, or timid. Also, give me ears to hear others who share their experiences with me. Thank you.
Photo by Ian Taylor