I want to tell you about my friend. We only met this past summer, but we instantly hit it off. Have you ever met someone that you are just drawn to immediately? They feel as though they are your kindred spirit. You have a connection that you don’t have with anyone else you’ve known over the years. That’s what this friend is to me. She is my sunshine, my laughter, my inspiration, my hope. Her name is Sami. She is a twelve-year-old with autism. I work with Sami five days a week as her private therapist/teacher. Every day I look forward to walking into her house to find her waiting for me at the kitchen table. She always greets me the same way, “Hi Miss Karen.” Having a “normal” conversation with Sami is rather difficult, yet she and I communicate with very little misunderstanding. She is a beautiful young lady. She has a jet black braid down the middle of her back, light brown skin and dark brown eyes. She is tall with a slender build and a smile that melts your heart. She loves her i-pads and watches the same young children’s programs repeatedly. She will converse with you in a scripted format from a particular show she has seen. In addition to her i-pads, Sami loves modeling clay. She has ten to fifteen pound of clay on her clay table at any given time. She loves to reproduce the characters she watches from her programs. Each one has its name and very intricate details of hands, fingers, feet, toes, clothes and facial features. I have often mistaken them for professionally made toys you would purchase from the store, but Sami makes them. As I look at these adorable figures, I can’t help but think of how God made man with such perfection, such love. As with Sami’s characters, each is different. In Sami’s world, each character she makes has a name, identity, and story. There is no mistaking as to whom they belong to, and she is very protective of all of them. One day when she wasn’t at her table, I picked up one of the characters and hid it in my hand. When she came over to her table, she carefully took inventory. I am not kidding when I say she has a good ten pounds of clay on her table with 20-30 people, animals and objects she’s made. I honestly didn’t believe she’d notice one little figure missing. However, just like Jesus, when one sheep wanders off, he leaves the flock in hopes to find the lost one. Immediately she asks, “Where’s Mel? Where’s Mel? Mel is gone.” I open my hand and ask, “Is this Mel?” Quickly without hesitation, she grabs Mel from my hand and scolds me, “Miss Karen no take my Mel.” I hug her and apologize for taking her Mel. She lovingly gives Mel a kiss and gently places him in the exact spot in which he originally had been taken. She then turns to me and says, “It’s OK miss Karen. I forgive you now.” Tears pool in my eyes as I realize just how quickly she is to forgive someone doing ‘her wrong’ just like Jesus.
Sami brings a smile to my face no matter how tough of a morning I had with another student. She loves to please those who love her and without even trying will win over any person she comes in contact. God brought the two of us together for a purpose. I was hired to be her teacher, but in all honesty, she has taught me far more than I can ever teach her. She is my special angel.
Unless your definition of “rich” matches God’s, you will never have enough. Material wealth is an endless ladder and chasing it will lead to destruction. By being involved in the wrong things, we lose our ability to be involved in the right ones. Satan uses earthly wealth to follow on his path of self destruction. Pursuing Godly riches has a real and enteral reward. A question was posed at church on this particular topic, ‘What does rich look like to you?’ Omitting any material wealth, I realized that my mother was right so many years ago, if you have your health, you have everything. At the time I was only 16 years old and my health was just fine, I wanted a car. Some forty years later, I understand what she meant. If you are in good health, almost anything is doable. If we could have perfect health with no pain, no disease, no form of illness, that would give us ultimate freedom.
I have a nephew who makes a very comfortable income. He lives in a very wealthy part of California, drives the top of the line vehicles, owns a beautiful home on a hill and travels from one end of the country to the other on a whim. He’s done well for himself and he’s in his early 40’s. He has two beautiful daughters that are spoiled beyond spoiled and are given whatever they ask for. To look at him from the outside, you’d say he has it all, but he lacks one major component. He’s an atheist. He also is in a miserable marriage that seems to be beyond reconcilable, but he goes through the motions and keeps the family together for the children as well as for himself. His wife makes just as much money, if not more than he does. To dissolve the marriage would mean they would both financially have to change their lifestyles. So, while his bank account may say he’s rich, he lacks the true riches from God. He has no understanding of biblical truth or what comes after he leaves this world. For now, he has it all, and to him, that’s all that matters.
My riches are in heaven. I truly believe God will take care of my needs because he always does. I believe in an earlier blog I wrote about my experience with the woman who was homeless. I asked her if she knew Jesus and she lit up with great enthusiasm and exclaimed yes, she loved Jesus. My next question was an obvious one, “Do you wonder why Jesus would not provide for your needs? A place to live, food, a job?” Her response was most humble. She gave glory to God and pointed to the shelter. “I have a place to stay and food in my belly. It isn’t Jesus’s fault that I am a drug addict. I put myself in this situation, but with His help and my faith, I will better myself.” Several weeks later I ran into her again and she was excited to tell me she’d been clean for 30 days and that she just got a voucher for a studio apartment. God always provides for our needs. She doesn’t have the material wealth my nephew enjoys, but unfortunately he doesn’t have the spiritual wealth, happiness and faith this woman has.
Many Christians refer to, “It’s a God thing” to explain the obvious response from God. Non-Christians don’t understand, but Christians who have experienced it understand completely.
Over the years, I have kept a record of, “God things” that I have personally experienced. I find comfort in reading over His responses when I occasionally question if He hears me. I had such an obvious God thing happen just yesterday that I felt compelled to write about it.
Yesterday morning, my husband and I were having breakfast. A question had been in the back of my mind for several days. I boldly asked him, “When God created the garden of Eden, it was perfect. So why would God have allowed Satan even to enter the garden?” My husband looked thoughtful for a moment and commented that maybe because God gave us free will. The serpent had to be there to add contrast. As good of an answer as any, I reluctantly accepted that mindful response.
I woke at 1:15 am the next morning and decided to turn on the television and watch whatever might be on Trinity Broadcast Network. Pastor John Gray sermon was on dominion, a word I honestly wasn’t sure the meaning. The next question he posed was, “Have you ever wondered why God would have allowed the serpent into the garden of Eden?” I screamed out to the television, “YES!” God was going to answer my question from this morning’s previous conversation. I quickly grabbed my notepad and pen from my nightstand expecting to take some sophisticated and enlighten notes. Here is what Pastor John Gray said, “Satan had to be there because God gave us free will, dominion.” He then proceeded to read from Ezekiel 28:16-17
“Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you. O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings.”
I sat on my bed in amazement that the great God Almighty, the king of kings and creator of everything would have taken the time to answer my question in such an obvious fashion. It’s a God thing. As I continue to grow my blog and set forth on my mission, I will have a special section entitled “It’s a God Thing” to record actual happenings that are recognizable God things. Thank you Lord for answering my question. It’s so reassuring to know that you’re always listening. Amen.