Polar Bear Plunge
March 18, 2014
Have you ever heard of the Polar Bear Plunge? Well, a few years ago, I was faced with this challenge. My father-in-law (whose sole purpose in life is to get a good laugh:) promised fifty bucks to any of his children or their spouses who would take the plunge.
Before I agreed, I discussed the deal with my husband. With money tight, I wanted to be sure if I was going to jump, I would be able to spend the money how I wanted. He agreed. So – that November afternoon in Missouri, as much as I hate cold water, this Florida girl dove into the frigid lake outside my mother and father-in-law’s home. In turn, my father-in-law lost a fifty, but gained a good laugh.
At the time, the idea of having fifty dollars to spend any way I wanted was a huge treat to me. However, each time I thought about where to spend the money, a family friend back home came to mind. I could think of no better way to ‘spend’ the money than to give it to someone who truly needed it. So, rather than buy something for myself, I made a promise to the Lord to give the money to Justin; and for days, I was genuinely extremely excited to do so.
Have you ever had an idea like that? One where just the thought of doing something kind for someone brings a smile to your face? Where you can think of nothing more satisfying than to fill a need in someone else’s life?
Well, that is exactly how I felt that day, too.
The idea of blessing someone in need with this money sounded delightfully good. But as time passed, I began to have second thoughts. The closer I got to home, the more tightly I held on to the money in my heart.
The change that took place on the inside of me was something I had never experienced before. And it was drastic. I went from feeling over the moon about giving it, to almost sickened at just the thought.
Have you ever been there? You have a grand idea about giving something to help someone in need, but somehow, when faced with actually doing it, it isn’t near as easy as you expected? It started as joyful, and as time progressed, it became anything but?
All afternoon, I wrestled in my heart with giving this money to Justin. I wanted so much to have the joy I felt when I made the decision to give it, but – bottom line- I simply was not joyful about giving it anymore.
As I lie in the bathtub that evening with an unsettled heart, I whispered this prayer.
I hadn’t even gotten all of the words out when I was flooded with an overwhelming joy about giving the money again. While no one else could see it, I could physically feel the difference. The change in my heart was undeniable. And it happened instantaneously. There was no possible explanation for this infiltration of joy other than that, once again, the Lord of the Universe had heard my quiet prayer for “help”.
2 Corinthians 3:5, “We know we are not able in ourselves to do any of this work. God makes us able to do these things.”
This moment served as a great reminder for me. All too often, we struggle through life trying to change ourselves and our circumstances in our own strength. We wrestle with emotions and desires that won’t go away- no matter how hard we try. We battle, fight and forge ahead in an effort to change something that cannot be changed with human hands…. Meanwhile, the Lord of the Universe is waiting to answer our cry for help. If we would simply take a moment to declare our dependency on the Lord Jesus Christ and ask, He would step in and do what we cannot do on our own.
Is there something in your life that you need to hand over to the Lord today? Are you struggling and striving to change something that only God can? Take a moment this morning to lay it down. He longs to help you this very hour- if you would only ask.
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