Where Was Kira When the Lights Went Out

Where was Kira when the lights went out? In the dark?

The lights are off, but somebody’s home. That was the situation in the home of a woman–let’s call her Kira. The city, which runs the water and electricity utilities had turned off service, leaving Kira and her children dry and in the dark.

If you’re like me, you might be sitting there smugly thinking how you’ve always managed to pay your bills and how you’d never let such a thing happen. Let me assure you that, although she might have taken missteps along the way, Kira is not a deadbeat or an incompetent. A year ago, she had endured a serious injury that took time to heal, time when she couldn’t work. The family got behind on an already-tight budget. Things snowballed, and eventually they owed several thousand dollars.

When we realized this problem existed, we felt the desire to help, but that’s not what I want to focus on. Instead, I want to focus on Kira and what she did.

First, she continued to teach her kids–middle to high school in age–to trust in God and live obedient lives. Tough times were not an excuse for ugly behavior in Kira’s house.

Second, after she got back to work, she did not simply focus her thoughts on getting the family’s budget righted. Instead, she continued to look at the people around her. The lady next door needed her yard mowed but couldn’t push the mower around the lawn. Kira thought, “I have time, and I have legs. I can mow her grass.” Many people in Kira’s situation would have sat back licking their wounds and feeling sorry for themselves.

When she saw another neighbor, she felt led to give that woman some groceries. Sure, by taking food out of her own pantry, Kira was costing the family money that they needed to get right with the utility office, but she still did it. The neighbor thanked her, explaining how they had no cash for groceries for the rest of the month.

Then came Sunday. After discovering how much it would take to get at least Kira’s water turned back on, Penny and I felt a definite urge to help. Penny’s small group, told anonymously of the situation of this woman most of them didn’t know, collected funds, more than we had expected. A new member of the class, somebody attending for the second time, didn’t have cash but brought a large sum to our house in the afternoon.

When Kira brought the kids over that evening to take showers and run some laundry, Penny, without comment, handed her an envelope containing over $800, more than double what she needed to get the water turned on.

I have been young and now I am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned
or his children begging for bread.
He is always generous, always lending,
and his children are a blessing.–Psalm 37:25-26

I’m pretty sure that Kira didn’t mow grass or share groceries thinking about a payoff from God. She did those things for the same reason we all put money into that envelope: to seek God’s kingdom first.

Doing that, we know that all we needed will be provided for us. Where was Kira when the lights went out? From what I can see, she was standing and trusting in the light.

Willing and Able–Mark 1:40

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

In recent months, I’ve experienced some particular frustration with a certain gigantic banking company, which will remain nameless. Let’s just call it GMAC. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that this interchange involved me filling out a ream of forms and then awaiting the folks at GMAC to render a decision. After months–literally, months–of waiting on them to get moving on my request, the brain trust at this paragon of financial probity declined my request.

But wait, there’s more! After receiving their explanation, I immediately called the handy toll-free number to discuss the matter, because, according to their own documents, the GMAC gang had failed to perform simple arithmetic accurately, a failing that led to their decision. The kind bank representative explained that since they had made the mistake they could restart the process after I refilled all of the documents again.

“There’s no way to simply use the documents I completed before?” I asked.

“No sir,” the GMAC drone answered.

Of course it could have happened. It would have been easy. The problem was that somebody, either this fellow on the phone or his higher-ups, simply weren’t willing.

Think about it. Many times we can do something, but we aren’t willing. I’m not talking about things that I simply can’t do. I might like to slam-dunk a basketball, but it isn’t going to happen. On the other hand, when I head to QuikTrip later to fill up my gas tank, I could pay for the other people’s gas as well. I could, but I’m not willing to do that. I could grade papers for my office mate, but I’m not going to do it. I’m just not willing.

In this brief story, the leper recognizes that Jesus is able to heal him. The question in this man’s mind rests in the Lord’s willingness to do this healing. Now let’s be clear. The ability to heal leprosy is no mean feat, and the leper’s recognition of Jesus’ ability showed his level of awareness.

Sometimes I wonder how much we really believe Jesus to be capable of doing. Do we trust him to provide our food and protect our health, to control this insane world and to control my out-of-control life? Sure, we say that we possess that sort of trust, but often our actions say that we don’t believe him capable of doing the deed.

Rather than depending on the good grace of GMAC with my financial future, I’ve determined not to worry about what they’re willing or able to do. Instead, I’m going to trust in the one is definitely willing and able. At least that’s the plan. I’m willing. Lord, make me able.