Monday, September 10, 2012

The Circle Maker

Our church is starting a new sermon series on Mark Batterson's book, The Circle Maker.  The book's title comes from the  legend of Honi :

In the first century B.C.  a devastating drought was plaguing the Promised Land .  The people asked Honi, a man known for a powerful prayer life to ask God for rain. Using his staff to draw in the dust, he created a large circle and walked inside it.   Then he dropped to his knees, raised his hands to heaven and cried out.

"Lord of the Universe, I swear before your great name that I will not move from this circle until you have shown mercy upon your children."

A light sprinkle began, and while everyone else was delighted, Honi wasn't satisfied.  "Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill cisterns, pits, and caverns."

In a case of be careful what you pray for, the gentle rain turned violent with drops as big as eggs that threatened to bring flash floods.  Honi prayed a third time.

"Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain of Thy favor, blessing, and graciousness." The storm subsided and a good soaking rain refreshed the land and every one's spirits.

The point of the series is that we need to come before God with bold prayers and claim his promises.  Not that God has become a catalog service where we place our orders and wait for them to be delivered, but that we need to stop asking wimpy, nonspecific prayers. 

I wanted to share a time when I claimed a promise from God and created a circle waiting for His healing:

Two years ago, I had just boarded a roller coaster with my son.  When they brought the lap bar down, I felt an intense pain in my abdomen--it was bad enough that I knew I needed to see a doctor to discover its cause.  The answer came two weeks later when an ultrasound revealed a tumor on my right ovary nearly six inches across.

After discovering my tumor and seeing the specialist I had to wait 3 ½ weeks before my hysterectomy.  That's a lot of time for soul searching. I’m not one to randomly open the Bible and put my finger down hoping for guidance (You know the joke about the guy who did that and ended up on “Judas went and hanged himself”?)

Schnickelfritz was having to memorize a lot of Bible verses for Royal Rangers and I was looking up the passages in The Message so he could understand what he was memorizing a little better. While flipping, the pages stopped on Micah 7:8-10 with a heading “Spreading Your Wings.”  The title made me curious enough to read the passage.

8 Don't, enemy, crow over me. I'm down, but I'm not out. I'm sitting in the dark right now, but God is my light. 9 I can take God's punishing rage. I deserve it - I sinned. But it's not forever. He's on my side and is going to get me out of this. He'll turn on the lights and show me his ways. I'll see the whole picture and how right he is. 10 And my enemy will see it, too, and be discredited - yes, disgraced! This enemy who kept taunting, "So where is this God of yours?" I'm going to see it with these, my own eyes - my enemy disgraced, trash in the gutter. 11 Oh, that will be a day! A day for rebuilding your city, a day for stretching your arms, spreading your wings!

I heard a voice in my head saying “Your enemy has a name—it’s cancer.”   I was sitting in the dark, waiting for a tumor that may be malignant  to be removed.  I could see how some would ask “where is God” or  “why did God let this happen to you?”  But when I read God is my light and someday that enemy would be trash in the gutter I took it as God’s promise that I would make it through.

For the next 3 weeks until surgery, anytime I felt myself feeling afraid I would read and reread that passage and pray.  After surgery, the doctor said the preliminary lab report said the tumor was borderline malignant.  We had to wait two more weeks for complete work to be done—much more reading and praying!

At the follow up appt. The Toolman  and I braced ourselves as everything coming out of the doctors mouth sounded negative, but she ended by saying “we got it!”  I didn’t need chemo or radiation.  I still go for follow up visits every four months but I read the Micah passage before I go and still claim my promise.


Gwen Toliver said...

Amazing story! God's Word is powerful and I'm so thankful that the Holy Spirit gives us what we need at just the right time!

Karyn Tripp said...

Wow! What a beautiful story... and a great thing to do with your church. I'll have to look for that book.

Mary said...

Awesome story!

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