Wednesday, May 03, 2006

He's Still Working On Me

I bought a bookmark at the School Book Fair when I was in third grade. It had a kitten looking at its reflection in a puddle and it read "Please be patient. God isn't finished with me yet." Well, guess what? 24 years later, God still isn't finished. 24 years later, He's working on me every day. He is so faithful to us, even when we let Him down. He's working on you, too.

There is a song in my heart as of late. It is a Vacation Bible School song that I learned at least 12 years ago. It is the same title as this post: He's Still Working On Me. The words are as follows:

There really ought to be a sign upon my heart:
Don't judge her yet, there's an unfinished part.
But I'll be perfect just according to his plan,
fashioned by the Master's loving hand.

In the mirror of His work, the reflection that I see,
makes me wonder why He never gave up on me.
He helps me as I work, and He hears me when I pray.
Remember He's the Potter, I'm the clay.

He's still working on me
to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be.
He's still working on me.

I don't think I realized what I was in for when I accepted Christ as my Savior at the age of fourteen. I quickly became a know-it-all Jesus-Freak and I KNEW nothing was going to take me off my path. I dared anyone to prove me otherwise. But oh, the things HE brings you through to make you into the person you are supposed to be.

Let me a share a message with you from 1 Samuel the 16th Chapter.
This was at the time that the Lord had rejected Saul as King, and He said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as King over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sedning you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king."

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed stands here before the Lord." But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

Then Jesse called Abinidab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, "The Lord has not chosen this one either." Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, "Nor has the Lord chosen this one." Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, "The Lord has not chosen these." So he asked Jesse,"Are these all the sons you have?"
"There is still the youngest," Jesse answered, "but he is tending the sheep." Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives."

So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one." So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.

Can you imagine the thoughts that must have zoomed through David's mind? One day, baking in the hot sun, surrounded by smelly, stubborn sheep; the next day, in the service of the king with the promise of one day becoming King! The hope that must have filled David's heart! I remember that same elation I felt when I accepted Christ as my Savior. Unlike the sour memories of Junior High Gym class: I was chosen to be on God's Team - I was Invincible! Nothing would get me down!

David enters Saul's service to play the harp. Then David slays Goliath. The people are saying "Saul has slain his thousands; David his ten thousands!" Jonathan, Sauls son, and David become best friends. The joy that David must have felt! Just like my spiritual mountain-top, it was short-lived.

Saul grew jealous of David. Saul tried to slay David with a spear on a few occasions while David was playing his harp. David finds himself on the run, in fear for his life. David is forced to leave Jonathan. In Chapter 22, David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam.

Now, I've been to Adullam. Scripture calls Adullam the place where one would find "those who were in distress or in debt or discontented." They gathered around David and appointed him their leader. About four hundred men were with him.

Have you been to Adullam? At one point in your life something was said to you or said over you that your life was going to be successful. That you were going to prosper. And there you are, maybe living in low-income housing. Standing in line for Food Stamps. You don't have a car. You're not married yet. Maybe life isn't that bad for you, but you thought by now you certainly wouldn't be driving a Chevette. You think to yourself, "But God, you said...." You fill in the blank. And one of the crazy things that happens in times like these, suddenly, when your life's blood is about sucked dry, other people who are down on their luck want something from you.

I've been there! I lived there for years! Surrounded by lost souls who keep themselves happy with drugs and alcohol. People who called me friend because I at least had a job so they knew they could borrow money from me. You can say, "well you backslid, now what'd you expect?" But guess what, I still knew who God was, and I know he still knew me! And there I was - surveying life from the Cave of Adullam.

But God is good. David did become King, and although his life continued to be marked with struggles, he continued to praise God as made evident in the book of Psalms.

I will always cling to the wisdom of being in the fire. We all know that if you want to be forged into a man or woman of God, you have to be in the fire. It burns. It hurts. But when we come out of the fire, we are changed, maybe even refined.

When God wants to skill a man, thrill a man or drill a man,
when God wants to mold a man to play the boldest part;
when he yearns to create so great and bold a man, that all the world should be amazed,
watch His methods, watch His ways.
How He ruthlessly perfects whom He royally elects.
How He hammers him and hurts him and with mighty blows converts him
into trough shapes of clay, which no one understands.
How He bends, but never breaks when His good, he undertakes.
How He uses whom He chooses, and with every purpose fuses him,
by every act induces him to try his splendor out.
God knows what He's about.

Every day, something changes in me. God draws a new line in the sand and says, "Here. Here's your new goal. Here is something you need to work on. Here is something I WANT for you." If David wasn't anything else, he was patient and definitely a man after God's own heart, as am I a woman after God's own heart.

Please be patient. God isn't finished with you or I.