The following is a sample of the weekly exercises in the forthcoming Tin Soldiers Workbook. Each exercise accompanies and is based upon each individual entry in The Tin Soldiers book, which together form a 52-week curriculum aimed at spiritual growth via small group discussion and individual reflection…
Establishing True Connection, Part I
God wants sons who are desperate for Him. More specifically, he wants sons who are aware of how desperately we truly need Him. - p. 20, The Tin Soldiers
I have only experienced true desperation a couple of times in my life. The very first time was when my grandmother was in the hospital with cancer many years ago.
A little background: This was no ordinary woman, this Mary Schwab. She was an angel in the flesh, the greatest example of God’s love I had ever known, and my best friend as a child. She was a devout Catholic, and largely responsible for “forcing” me to attend church every Sunday as a kid. And though I resented and resisted it at the time, she was the one that first introduced me to the God I would eventually meet later in life.
And there she was, dying in front me. And there I was, a kid who had no interest in God, who couldn’t stand church, yet who was desperate for some sort of intervention. So I prayed…God, if you are real, please show up. I need you. She needs you. We need you. Let her live. PLEASE.
It was the first time I had ever prayed to Jesus on my own and actually meant it. It was the first time I had actually connected with Him. And she stayed with us for awhile. There was talk of remission as she endured chemo. Then, after a few weeks, the cancer resurfaced, and quickly. After a couple of months she passed away.
To say I was devastated was an understatement. The world went numb. But, then I became aware of an aching void in her absence. That ache served as a catalyst… A year and a half later, I gave my life to Jesus.
I didn’t realize it until much, much later, but if it wasn’t for my grandmother’s life and influence on me, and the experience of her passing, I don’t think I would have faith today. My initial prayers, as an unbeliever, served as a foreshadow of later faith.
We don’t usually realize how badly we need Jesus until there is a crisis. For most of us, this is a byproduct of living a relatively affluent, middle-class existence in America that is secluded from poverty and the daily struggle for food, clothing, shelter, and safety. Make no mistake-the greatest ally to the salvation of a human soul is desperation. And our greatest enemy as men is any comfort which will impede the desperate prayers God wants us to pray. If we can just bring to the forefront of our minds that comfort is an illusion and this life is a fragile, brief one, our prayers will become more desperate. This is where we will find God in ways we never knew before.
Read Psalm 42:1-2: As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
What areas of your life are you in desperate need of intervention from above? List them here.
Many of us don’t live with the reality of our desperation for divine intervention for our very breath. And yet, without his provision, even in the small things in life, we will come to ruin and our lives will disintegrate. Sometimes it’s important to look at what life would be like without Him to see how much we need Him. So, do it. Write down the details of what your life would look like without Him.
Recall a time when you desperately needed God. What was the result? Did you draw closer to Jesus? How can you take that experience and apply it to the overarching attitude with which you live every day?
We are called to help those in desperate situations. The reason for this is not just because they need our help, but because we men require the transaction of charity to remind us of our own need for God. This week, commit to one act of uncomfortable giving to someone who is need. Deliver clothing to a shelter. Buy a homeless man a meal. Give of yourself freely to someone who has little. Take note of how this affects your relationship with Christ.
The new edition of The Tin Soldiers is coming soon, along with The Tin Soldiers Workbook. In the meantime, grab a copy of The Tin Soldiers as an ebook here or wherever ebooks are sold.