I was listening to a sermon preached by Pastor Tim Dilena this past Sunday at the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York. The sermon is entitled "My Pain Needs a Word". In it he gives an analogy about reading the label on a medicine bottle, which says "shake well before using". He went on to say, and I paraphrase, "sometimes God needs to shake us a little bit so he can use us". What does he mean by this, you ask? I'll tell you what it means for me.
November 2014 will mark the 10th anniversary of my being shaken up by God. I went through a very painful situation that changed my life and shook me to the very core of my being. At the time I was left without a safety net and felt as though my whole world was crumbling. I had no way to turn and was desperately grasping at straws. I felt as if I was drowning -- literally.
Though I was involved in church, I had just a fleeting knowledge of God and his Word. I knew I loved him; I knew I needed to follow his commands and live a life devoted to doing his will, but that was it, only knowledge. I had no feeling for his Word and no desire to do his will. That is, until November 2004.
When I could turn neither left nor right, I only had one option: to turn to God and his Word. I grasped his Word and began the slow process of rising out of my pain and despair. The more I read the Bible, the more I held on for dear life. His Word became my lifeline and I began to devour it to keep me floating. I started listening to teachings on his Word; I joined a Disciple Bible Study class to learn his Word. I was already singing in a choir, however, it took on a new meaning as the words we sung spoke to my fragile heart and gave me hope that I would come through what I was going through.
God shook me up to get my attention and he succeeded. That experience could have broken me; it could have derailed my future and put a stop to my dreams. But he wanted me to know the way I was living my life was not what he wanted from me. He had to pull the rug from under me so I would turn to him and not depend on myself or others, but solely on him.
Pastor Dilena used the following Psalms in giving his sermon and they really spoke to my heart. Psalm 119:67, 71, and 92 state, "Before I was humbled I went astray, It is good for me that I was humbled, If your law had not been my delight,
God wants to use us in mighty ways to bring glory to his name. We are his ears, his eyes, his feet, and his pocket. We have been placed on this earth for a specific reason and he will have his way, even if it means to "shake well before using".
One of the ways God uses me is by utilizing the talents and gifts he's given me. I love making greeting cards and I allow the Holy Spirit to inspire me to make cards that speak to those receiving them. Today I will share a card I made for a church member who recently celebrated her 103rd birthday. I used MTC to cut the cover created by Bird from www.birdscard.com, The background digital glitter paper is called Autumn Splendor Gold Rush and it is from Scrapbookgraphics.com.