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From Whence Cometh my Help?

March 17th, 2010

Blessed is the Pizzamaker

Sometimes when God gives you exactly what you asked for, it can be very hard to realize it.

There is an old story I’ve heard and read more than once this year. A flood comes. A guy is trapped on his roof. He prays for God to help him. A kid goes by in a canoe, and offers the guy a ride, but he turns it down, saying God is going to rescue him. Two men in a bass boat go buy and offer to help. He turns them down, saying God is going to rescue him. A National Guard helicopter arrives, and a cable comes down with a harness, and the crew signals for him to put it on. He turns them down, shouting that God is going to rescue him.

He drowns. He asks God why he didn’t rescue him. God says, “I sent a canoe, a bass boat, and a helicopter.”

What’s the other side of the coin? You get the help you need, and then you tell God, “Never mind! It worked out without your help.”

Lately I’ve had concerns about a piece of doctrine that may be heresy. A well-known pastor who has a TV show has been telling people to “loose angels” to fix their problems. He says he ordered angels to bring him money for his ministry, and a man showed up with a five-figure check, almost immediately. On top of that, he doesn’t command one or two angels. He’ll issue orders to a hundred thousand, which seems extravagant, given that one angel killed the firstborn of Egypt in a single night, and one angel killed 185,000 Assyrians between sunset and sunrise. How many angels do you need to bring you a check?

I know of no Biblical example of a person commanding an angel. Even Jesus said he would ask his father to send angels, which is not the same thing. I think commanding angels is idolatry. You may think you’re commanding angels of God, but what if you’re commanding demons without knowing it? I will not take part in this practice without confirmation that it’s correct.

In spite of this concern, the new doctrine has reminded me that you can ask God to send his servants to help you. So I do that. These days, I ask him to send out his servants, both spirit and human, to deliver me and my family from trouble, to bring us blessings, and to teach us so we can avoid chastisement. I have no problem doing this. I’m not presuming to tell an angel what to do, nor am I asking for venal pleasures or things the flesh can put to bad use. I just want protection, guidance, and growth. It’s like asking your company to send consultants or new employees to help you get its business done. It’s to advance God’s goals, not mine.

Last night I made pizza at the church. This is a gargantuan job for one person. I have to arrive two hours before the first pie is served, driving through 18 miles of Miami traffic. I have to mix the yeast and water. I have to make dough over and over. Prepare 10 pans. Make sauce. Get pies ready to go in the oven. Bake them twice. Slice them and put them on the steam table. I have to clean up after myself and others. One person can’t do it well.

People have been offering to help, but they haven’t come through yet. Some are busy. Last night, however, a guy named Anthony showed up to work in the cafe, and on his own initiative, he started helping in the kitchen.

I taught this guy almost everything, and boy, did he make a difference. I never had to show him anything twice. He did everything well. He anticipated needs that would come up in the future, much better than I do. With his help, I had so much dough ready to bake, I was able to sit down for maybe forty-five minutes. At the end of the night, we had to bake two pizzas and give them away, because he was too efficient. He had prepared more than we needed. He also worked the fryolator; the pastor who usually runs it couldn’t be there, and nobody else knew anything about it. He kept me going, he kept the fries going, and then at the end of the night, he washed things up before I could get to them. I literally had a hard time finding things to clean up.

I couldn’t get much information out of him. He said it was his first night at Trinity! He hadn’t bothered with the service. He had gone straight to the kitchen. Nobody does that. He said he had been going to Pentecostal Something or Other, on 7th Avenue. I tried to promote the church to him, listing the things it offered.

I could barely get him to talk. Most of the time, he just said, “Okay,” and started getting things done.

There were times when I truly wondered if he were a human being. God sometimes clothes angels in flesh and sends them to do things. At the very least, he was an answer to my prayer for human help. Not just an answer, but an extremely appropriate and effective answer.

As for the leftover pies, one of the girls said that if I boxed them up, she’d see if she could find some homeless people to give them to. That’s not waste. These people would be receiving food from a church, worked and shaped by the hands of people baptized with the Holy Spirit. That has to be a good thing. You can’t tell me God doesn’t work through objects that have come into contact with anointed people.

In my opinion, the extra pies were a blessing.

Naturally, I’m all freaked out.

I don’t want to be like the guy on the roof. I’m not going to wait for a helicopter and still think God is ignoring me. I think Anthony was the kid with the canoe.

If Anthony is on the job, what about the other helpers I’ve asked for? They must be at work, too. God has told us his angel encamps around those who fear him, and that the angel delivers them (Psalm 34). God says he gives his angels charge over us (Psalm 91). God has never lied.

My testimony seems to get better and better, regardless of the challenges I face. I keep going out on a limb of faith, and God keeps holding me up. I leap into space over and over, and he catches me, even though my faith is not perfect. It’s incredible, but it’s true.

It’s important to note that my faith is not perfect. Neither is my behavior. You should always work to have faith and avoid sin, but God can be extremely powerful in your life even when you have doubts or chronic transgressions. Never let anyone tell you you have to be perfect to get God on your side. Think of the people Jesus healed. He didn’t heal the Apostles. He healed drunks and beggars and so on. It’s always better to be good, but your failures won’t destroy you as long as you stay on the path. I believe the trend, not your current location, is what matters.

Moving on to another subject, I had a very odd dream last night. I was trying to cook something, and I noticed lizards had befouled a measuring pitcher I was trying to use. In Miami, this can actually happen. I started cleaning it up at the sink. I reached into a cupboard for something, and I saw a lizard’s toe hanging down into view, and I grabbed some sort of ceramic vessel, like a cup with portions cut out of the sides, and it was full of lizards having group sex. This, too, can actually happen, although the group size is limited to two!

I walked this thing to the back door and shook the lizards out into the yard. At this point, somehow, they had become a single lizard. It landed on a tree by the door, which was covered with snowy white cockatoos. I knew the lizard was in trouble. A cockatoo started climbing down to get him, and he leapt into the yard, where a bluejay grabbed him and took off. Birds do that here. There are lots of bugs for the lizards, and lots of lizards for the birds.

Last night, before going to bed, I saw a gecko in the laundry room. These are very creepy lizards because of their appearance and movement. Though dry, they appear slimy, and they undulate like snakes. This wasn’t one of the usual house geckos we have here. This was a new kind. Bigger and creepier. Every year, something new shows up in town.

It took off down the wall to get away from me, and I told it that it was welcome to hang around and poop wherever it wanted, as long as it ate plenty of roaches. The lizards in the dream were Jamaican anoles, though.

I wonder if the dream has significance. I see the lizards in the cupboard as household demons, making trouble. They interfere with things that need to be done. I see the cockatoos as angels, guarding the “gates” of the house. I see the bluejay as a warring angel that carried off a demon and got it out of my life.

Was the house a house, or was it me?

I guess this has no relevance, but I insure my vehicles with GEICO.

Today I’m waiting for UPS to deliver the ridiculous Makarov BB pistol I ordered. I have to get my point-shooting up to speed. Sadly, UPS requires me to be here to receive it, to prevent punk kids from getting annoying toys via mail order. It ought to be tremendous fun. But I have to sit here all day or miss it. And knowing UPS, there is a good chance it won’t arrive before I have to leave for tonight’s volunteer meeting at church.

I think I’m going to recommend this to the other armorbearers. Can’t hurt.

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4 Responses to “From Whence Cometh my Help?”

  1. Bradford M Kleemann Says:

    Maybe the gecko was there to remind you to pay your insurance.

  2. Steve H. Says:

    I’m waiting for a gecko in a helicopter.

  3. anne Says:

    Steve – I have said this before & I’ll say it again: I love witnessing where you are going with your faith. I get a lot out of the things you write, even if I rarely comment. Thank you.

  4. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Aww, Brad beat me to it. But I love the story about Andrew. Must know more!