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The evening after I dropped off 3 diet cokes and cookies to my friend, a cloud of discouragement and guilt rolled in as quickly as a summer thunderstorm. The storm’s winds dissipated the joy I experienced from reaching out to help a friend in need, and I began to doubt why I had thought that small act would make a difference.
The lies darted at me like lightning.
“Who do you think you are?”
“There are so many starving kids and you think coke and cookies was a good idea?”
“You could have spent that $5 so much better, something that would have made a bigger difference.”
Then the big crack of lightning struck. “The world is so full of hurt. You can’t make a difference.”
That one got my attention. I recognized that voice. It was the enemy. The father of lies.
I think sometimes we forget that Satan lies to us. The lies come disguised as our own thoughts, or worse, we think it’s God’s voice. But Satan is the master of lies, and one of his schemes is to get us to think it’s really God talking.
Remember the scene in the opening of the Bible, where he twists what God said to Adam and Eve?
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil
He’s crafty. He takes what is meant for our good and twists it into something horribly wrong. He wants us to believe that God doesn’t want what’s best for us. That we mean nothing to Him. That it doesn’t matter what we do; it’s never good enough.
I wasn’t going to let him steal my joy.
So I answered. With truth.
“Who do I think I am? I know that I’m a child of God, rescued by Jesus, made whole and worthy because of His love.”
“Yeah, it may have been a little thing. But it was a little thing within my reach. I’ll do the big things too. But today, God just asked this small thing of me. And I obeyed.”
“You’re right. I can’t make a difference in this world of hurt. But Jesus can. And I’m committed to helping Him.”
God doesn’t ask us to change the entire world. He just asks us to meet the needs within our reach – with the gifts, talents, and resources He’s given us. When He makes us aware of something, we get the privilege of assisting Him in what He is already doing. If we would all just meet the needs within our reach, imagine what the world could look like.
One of the best ways I’ve found to combat the lies is to keep moving forward. To keep obeying. So a couple days later when I heard another good friend, whose husband was out of town, was battling the flu (she and 2 of her 3 kids), I whipped up a batch of my go-to-easy-t0-make comforting chicken noodle soup. Then I remembered there was a Starbucks inside a Target close to her house and I had a buy-1-get-1-free coupon. I headed across town asking God to bless the trip and bring encouragement to my friend.
I walked into the Target, on a side of town I hardly ever visit, and immediately saw a woman I know and hadn’t seen in awhile. I caught up with her and encouraged her to come back to our writer’s group and let her know how much I had missed her. Then I saw another woman I know walking into the store. Seriously, I don’t think I had ever been inside this store before and there were 2 women I hadn’t seen in months! After catching up with these friends, I called my sick friend and told her I “happened” to be on her end of town and “happened” to have a B1G1 coupon for Starbucks and asked what she wanted.
I dropped off my love to her house and when I left, she and her kids were giggling and laughing. Just a little hope and help to make it through one more day.
Just a little change of perspective for me. My little gifts can be part of the bigger picture of God’s work.