“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13, NIV 1984).
Charles is a patient with diabetes and renal disease. I was talking with him in the hospital this week and he told me a story of personal struggle.
“Because of my health and health costs, I’ve had to learn how to say, ‘No.’ The Lord is teaching me that he can do just fine without my input. I was at McDonald’s the other day and they got my order wrong, so I had to wait for my ketchup-only-burger. I recognized a man I knew was out of a job and in need. I had helped him a great deal with money in the past. We talked and I prayed with him. When he asked for money, I told him I could no longer give him any. He became defensive but I did not give in. I prayed with him and he was okay. When the waitress brought me my burgers, she also brought me a coupon for two free meals because they had made me wait so long. The coupons were worth more than the amount the man had asked for in money. When I handed them to him, I said, ‘You see, God can come through without me.’”
As doctors we get awfully used to being needed. It’s hard sometimes for me to understand that God doesn’t need me. But He does want me.
He doesn’t need me to love Him; He wants me to love Him.
He does not need me to work beside Him to bring about His kingdom; He wants me to have such a privilege and partnership.
Each time I take ownership of a mission that God has handed me, whether it be personal and small or institutional and big, there leaks into my mind a bit of the supposition that God might not do well without me. Each time I have left such missions, He has always done fine without me.
It intrigues me that, even without needing us, God continues to invite us to work beside Him. In fact, it is He who works in us to both will and accomplish His purpose. Somehow, our presence, our willingness and our effort matter. They matter because our partnership with the King changes the lives of people around us. They matter because our work with the King changes immeasurably who we are.
Thank God that He does not need me, and I thank Him, as well, that He really does want me.
Thank you so much for letting me know you and love you, and for allowing me to work beside you in your great redemption story.