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Are you dancing today?

Are you dancing today?

by Cara Harrington

My attention was drawn to a certain shelf in my office today with a much-needed reminder.  “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”   My sister gave me this decorative plate years ago in the midst of a difficult season. Through multiple storms of life since that time, it has reminded me to “dance in the rain.”

A few weeks ago, I had the joy of speaking to a group of college students about “Seeing God in my Present.”  As I prepared, I was reminded of the importance in taking notice of what God is doing in and all around me each day.   Just as I do when I’m on a mission trip, I need to expect to see God at work and then watch for that very evidence. I need to be in tune with how He is leading each step of the way.  So often, we miss what He is doing simply because we don’t take the time to notice and respond.

Recently, I asked a friend to become my accountability prayer partner.  I was needing some extra encouragement to stay on task while working from home.  (Can anyone relate right now to being distracted in this scenario?) Each week, I send her a list of goals and prayer requests.  We then regularly talk by phone about the progress. She has permission to ask the hard questions but what has blessed my heart the most is she also wants to know HOW God answered the prayers she and I have been praying.  As we go down the list of the requests we have been presenting to God, I find myself verbalizing ways that God has indeed been at work. Sometimes (if not often), He works in ways that surpass what I predict. As I open my eyes, ears, and heart, I can sense His presence with me each step of the way.   I don’t have to rely on past experiences for evidence of His presence; I can walk with Him today step by step.

One of my favorite stories from the Old Testament is the story of Esther.  She is someone who faced some storms that she never would have predicted as a child.   I encourage you to read the book of Esther today and consider her story. From what we can tell, she did her best to adapt to the new situations in life in spite of the storm that must have seemed to be raging around her.    At a climax in the story, Esther is faced with a choice. She learns of a conspiracy by Haman to destroy all of the Jews. Though the king is not yet aware, Esther herself is a Jew. She must decide if she is willing to risk everything in order to protect her fellow people.    Mordacai, her cousin who had taken her in as his daughter when her parents died, raises a question that has been quoted countless times since “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) Esther chooses to fast and pray and asks others to do so as well.   She listens to God’s voice, and then just jumps!

God used her in unique ways in a situation she did not predict or ask for.   You and I face a storm today for which we did not plan. This is not how we anticipated March 2020 to unfold.  But instead of just hunkering down and waiting for it to be over, let’s find God’s presence in our present day situation.   And as we recognize His presence, let’s respond to what He is asking of us. Let’s learn to dance….now!

In the midst of everything, we can see God at work in wonderful ways.    We are seeing people sacrifice to treat patients with the virus. We are seeing people check on neighbors, friends, family, and complete strangers.    We are seeing people use their sewing skills to make much-needed masks. We are seeing people deliver meals to children. We are seeing teachers offering to help students beyond their classrooms.   We are seeing Facebook posts being covered with worship services, with scripture, with words of hope to a world who is facing fear of the unknown. In a time where many people are hurting, we are seeing people turn to the only One who can heal those hurts.  We are seeing God in our present. No, it may not look like we expected….but “who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”    

How can you see and hear and sense God’s presence in your present situation today?   What is He asking of you? How does He want to use you NOW….for such a time as this?

Shall we dance?