Only if you want me to…

In one version of the story of the mouse and the lion, the lion is rolling around in agony because there’s a thorn stuck deep into his foot.  He cannot see the thorn that’s been stuck there for a while and doesn’t know what’s wrong with him.

The mouse approaches the lion and asks what the problem is and if he can help.  The proud lion is reluctant and in disbelief that the mouse can help at all.

“What can you do to help?” asked the lion.  “You’re so small and I’m in such great pain for some reason.”

The mouse, seeing from his vantage point exactly what the problem was, said, “I know I can help, but only if you want me to.”

The lion relented and allowed the mouse to approach him and reach under his great big paw and yank out the sharp thorn.

The lion was grateful and humbled that something so small and insignificant was able to be of help to him and relieve the pain that kept him from living normally.

For me, God’s kingdom is like that.  In ministry work and in “everyday life”, I see so many people who are sometimes overwhelmed with issues, problems, pain or maybe even just struggling with the boredom of the normal flow of events in life and they don’t know what to do or how to get help.

In our pride, I think we are reluctant to accept help or guidance from anyone because we think we’ve already got things figured out.  We think if people would just “get it together” and follow our plan, do what’s right, use common sense, etc., then everything would come together.

But a lot of times it doesn’t.  And we get stuck.  It’s in those moments that we finally are in so much pain, like the lion rolling around in agony, God whispers to us…if we’re listening.

His Spirit asks if he can help.  Initially, we’re reluctant to believe that this “church guy” God/Spirit-person, that we go to worship in a building occasionally, can offer any help for every day, real-life concerns.

“Well, what can you do to help?” we ask.  “This isn’t a church thing.  This is a real-life issue.”  But the Lord, seeing from his vantage point, knows exactly what our problem is and says, “I know I can help, but only if you want me to.”

If we relent and say, “Okay. Fine. Please help me”, the Lord can come into our lives and do some pretty amazing things.

But he’s the kind of king, the kind of helper who never forces his way on us.  He goes where he’s invited. When asked to teach his disciples how to pray, one of the things he taught them was to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

The Lord invites us to invite him into our lives and into our world.  Sure, he’s always at work all around us, all the time, but we often don’t see him at work until we ask for it and invite him to show us what he has done and is doing.

God is ready to move into and through our lives as individuals and as a church, but only if we want him to.

Why not ask him today?

Wade Poe

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