Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
You can take that title two ways: It can mean plainly, modestly, quietly, or it can mean absolutely, without doubt.
20 years ago Tommy (Papa) had a heart attack. We were living in NYC at the time and John Thomas called Jason back in Tennessee to tell him. Jason only had one child at the time. He called his family together and told them that Papa was sick and they needed to pray for him. His son, Cal, was about 4 at the time. Here was his prayer:
"Dear God, please make Papa better. Amen." "Ok! Let's call him and tell him he's better!"
I have never forgotten that prayer and never will. Oh for the faith of a child.
Tommy read a passage to me this morning. I, in turn, am passing it on to you:
"There are some people that because of their attitude and situation, can't be helped at the moment. I think of that story of the prodigal son, when that boy was down there in the far country. I think the father in some way knew where that boy was and what he was doing, but he never offered to help him. He couldn't. He let him go into the far country because for that moment there was nothing else he could do. He couldn't help the boy until he came back, and when he did, the help was available to him."
We meet people like this boy all the time under the bridge in Knoxville. Most of the people we encounter down there are in that far country. They tell us all the time that they want help and they don't like the lifestyle they are living, but they want someone else to do it for them. They want instant healing from whatever situation in which they find themselves.
When the prodigal son was down there wallowing with the pigs, his father didn't come and pull him out. He didn't say, "son, you shouldn't be wallowing in filth like that. I have a clean house for you to live in." I wonder how long the son would have stayed home if his Father had, indeed, come and pulled him out of that muck.
The son had to decide on his own that he did not want to live like this the rest of his life. I have a friend, Dawn, who used to live on the street. She has been off the street for over 10 years now. She has a home, a husband and a good job. She sought help at one of the rescue missions in town, and she told me she did not leave the mission for over a year. She carried her Bible everywhere with her, and was reading the Word of God continually. When she did leave the mission, she avoided the places where she used to hang out. The Lord honored this commitment and today she is quick to tell you what the Lord did for her. Her Daddy knew where she was, but he did not come and "rescue" her. She, with the help of the Lord, pulled herself out of the pigpen she was wallowing in.
If you know someone who is in a far country and is getting more and more stuck in the mud of the pigpen, the best thing you can do for that person is pray. Pray that one day he "comes to himself" and decides he will return to his Father.
I met with a friend before church on Sunday to pray. We met at 9:30 and when we finally wound down, I looked at my watch and a whole hour had passed. The same thing happened Sunday night. Our church meets for prayer at 6:00 on Sunday night. Before I knew it an hour had passed there as well.
Once a month we have prayer day at camp. We meet at 10 in the morning and prayer until around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. The time just seems to fly!
All of a sudden, I am noticing prayers being answered! Each day it seems that something I have prayed for whether in a group situation or by myself, has been answered. What is even more amazing is that I have been saying "oh that's great that such and such isn't going to happen now, or that such and such is going to happen. I also think, that's great that the scare you had going to the hospital was not what you thought it was going to be. Then it hit me. God had answered my prayers. Not just one prayer, but something every day was happening that I had specifically asked for. And you know what? All I had said was "that's great that that happened." I didn't say thank you, Lord. I didn't say, you are amazing, Lord. I didn't say I don't deserve your goodness to me, Lord.
If someone does something nice for you, what is the first thing out of your mouth? Of course.....it's THANK YOU!
I am ashamed. I want to become a person of prayer. More and more I want to give my concerns and my thoughts to the only one who has the answers. But even more than that, I want to be quicker to say Thank you! I wonder sometimes if I truly "get it." The God of the universe, has told me to ask and He will hear and answer. How can I take this lightly? How can I not say Thank you?
My prayer now is that I will be more thankful and quick to say thank you to my creator, my savior, my friend.
My friend, my partner in ministry, the one who helped change the direction of my ministry, has gone to be with the Lord. Maxine Raines went to be with Jesus yesterday morning around 2 a.m. Her daughter, Sherri, was with her.
She has "fought the good fight". She has finished the race. She has kept the faith. Finally there is laid up for her a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge will give her on that DAY. (2 Timothy 4:7)
I will miss you, Maxine. All of the people, especially the homeless community in Knoxville, will miss you. You were a bright and shining light in a dark dark place. I love you.