Every Sunday it seems as though God confirms that First Assembly NLR is where He wants us to be. It's like Pastor Rod's sermons are written just for me and that I'm the only one in the sanctuary. Today he started a series called "Shipwrecked." Our worship leader does a great job pairing worship songs and hymns with the theme of the sermon. Today we sang a song called "In Christ Alone." It's one of my favorites and always gives me goosebumps. As we sang this morning, this lady kept coming into my thougts. It was the lady who has been assigned our case at social security regarding the supposed overpayment they made to us on Will's SSI. I spent three days this week talking with her, worrying about it all, and wondering "Why me?" I've been angry and fretful. I've felt abused by "the system" and frustrated with it all. But, this morning, God had it in His plans for me to see this situation in a completely different light.
Just for a little background, I'll explain the situation with social security. Will started receiving SSI checks in 2006 because he is disabled and we were poor. At some point, social security overpaid us, but I didn't know this. I found out when we got a letter saying we owed something like $5600. Well, I applied for waiver based on financial hardship, and they waived $1999. They then proceeded to take another $675 out of his monthly checks until we stopped getting SSI in the spring (because I make "too much money" as a resident/fellow!). That left us with just over $2900 still to repay. Well, then we get another letter saying they'd overpaid us again. This time it was $3000. Social security is trying to say it's my fault, but I notified them of my pay increase. Anyway, now the total they're saying we have to repay is just over $6000. Now, back to the good stuff...
A particular line from the song caught my attention that hadn't ever before. "No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand." Think about it. That means that no matter what kind of storm you're going through, no matter who is being hateful or how hateful they're being, no matter what - God has you in the palm of His hand. No one and nothing can touch you if you remain in Him. I just kept thinking about this situation with social security. He was telling me that it didn't matter. It doesn't matter how crapy our country's system is or how much money I may or may not have to pay back. All that matters is that I'll be victorious through Him.
Then He said something else. He said, "Isn't this lady's life worth $6000?" I was like, wow! I never thought about it like that. It never even crossed my mind that I might be going through this storm in order to reach a lost or needy soul for Him. All I could think about was me. How selfish is that? As followers of Christ we are called to be selfless and to follow Him, and here I was worrying about me. I don't know if this lady is saved or not. I don't know what she's going through. It could be something even more difficult than what I'm facing. I now know that whatever comes of this situation, what I say and how I act could affect her eternity. After thinking about this lady, I was able to anwer Him, "Yes. Her life is worth just as much as mine. And He paid the ultimate sacrifice for me." So, if I'm called to have to pay $6000 in order to reach someone for the kingdom, then so be it.
Selfishly, I'm hoping that God will use me to reach her and that He'll allow social security to grant the waiver. But, no matter what, I'm praying that I can have a good attitude, speak lovingly, and make a difference in this lady's life. Please pray with me. Listen to this song (click the link below. It's a little hard to see.), and have an open heart for what He might be saying to you.