This weekend our guest speaker, Beth Guckenberger, told her story of being available for God to use. For the last ten years, she and her husband Todd have lived in Monterrey, Mexico, caring for orphans there with a ministry called Back2Back. On their own they’re raising nine children, a mix of biological, adopted and foster kids. Beth has written a good book titled Reckless Faith. She describes reckless faith very simply: trusting in the Who when you don’t know the how, the when or the where.
Availability is the catalyst for reckless faith. When Abraham said, “Here I am”, he had no idea what would happen next. When Moses said, “Here I am”, he didn’t have a clue what he was getting into. He wasn’t even sure who was talking to. Jacob answered the angel in his dream with, “Here I am.” Isaiah was overwhelmed in his vision by the power, otherworldliness and holiness of God and responds with, “Here I am.” “Here I am” is the ultimate prayer of availability.
And, typical of the Holy Spirit, it usually starts with small things. A first step. Or as Jesus said in the parable, “Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones.” (Luke 16:10a NLT)
I was driving home one Saturday night at eleven o’clock after a long workday when I stopped at a gas station. After I paid for my gas and pulled away, in the corner of my eye I noticed a car in the lot with the hood up and two guys watching a smoking engine. As I drove home these words dropped in my mind: “Go back. They don’t know anyone in this city.” My first thought was “Get behind me, Satan.”
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. But I did immediately think, “I’m beat. And I’m going home. Besides, it’s two guys—they can figure it out. That’s what guys do.” I knew this wasn’t totally true. I’m a guy and I don’t know anything about cars except that when they break down, it’s your testosterone-driven duty to raise the hood and squeeze the hoses to feel good about yourself, especially if your wife or girlfriend is around.
Anyway, I turned around begrudgingly, and discovered that one of the guys was just helping out. He said, “It’s probably your thermostat” and walked away. The owner of the car had his wife and little boy with him. It turned out they had driven from Zanesville, Ohio to Cincinnati to see a Reds game—about 150 miles away. He looked at me and said, “We don’t know anyone here.” I thought “God, you sure know how to meddle.” I drove them around and, believe it or not, found an auto parts store open until midnight and bought a cheap thermostat. That was the problem and he took off. Before he drove off he told me he was raised in a pastor’s home. Then he said, “I knew God would find someone.”
I can't even imagine how God does this stuff.
“A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. Which of the two was obeying his father?” (Matthew 21:28-31a NLT)