Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life

It took George Bailey a while to realize, but eventually he got it quite well. In the 1946 classic, Jimmy Stewart, as George, gets the opportunity to see what life would be like if he never existed. Unless you're massively cynical, or opposed to Christmas on a fundamental level, you should see this movie. Most, if not all, of us can relate to the idea of not making a difference in the world or living a pointless existence. Expect for those individuals that are too arrogant to ever acknowledge things happen that have nothing to do with them. Regardless, at one point or another, everyone has felt down, unappreciated, or neglected. In the movie, George is contemplating suicide amidst his mounting debts. Given the current financial crisis many may be doing the same thing now. This is tragic, because people do make a difference. At least in my own experience, God puts people into situations for distinct reasons, which may or may not be evident at the time. In fact, in my own life I can see evidence of this over the years, specifically in a few distinct instances although others most likely exist. I'll detail those, as well as some where people were put in my life at specific times to encourage, direct, or save my decision making process.

When I was younger, 5-8, I use to love visiting my grandfather. I still do, but the point is that when this event happened I was too young to understand its importance. My grandfather has dozed off at family get togethers for as long as I can remember, but I figured it was just what older people did. It might be; however, doing so in the car is not what anyone should ever do. For this reason my grandfather never drives at night, aside from the fact that his eyesight is rather poor. Still, the middle of the afternoon should be fine, right? One day it almost wasn't. I was around 6 or 7, maybe 8, and I went to stay with my grandfather for a week. It was after my grandmother died, so I know I was at least that old, but definitely younger than 10. Regardless, one day we decided to drive a mountainous and windy road to go see a year-round Christmas store. As we started to drive, my grandfather started to lean over and somewhat shut his eyes. I wasn't sure why, but I was too young to be scared or alert of any potential danger. Then he turned to me and asked me to keep talking to him to keep him awake. Looking back, I was suppose to be in the car. If not, he would have definitely fallen asleep and lost control of the car. Most likely he would have gone over the steep embankment, and I would have been without a grandfather for my entire life. As my mom's dad died before I was born. Or what if I had been asleep? We may have both been killed, my parents without a son, my brother without a brother, and the whole family without two James Moore's. God put me there so that didn't happen, and I will firmly believe that until I die. In a different, but equally memorable, incident, thanks to my brother, I developed a healthy fear of glass. My brother and I have always been big on sports, specifically taking each other on in them. He always wants to play, beat, me in one-on-one, and we had numerous homerun derbies, games of catch, and many pigskin tosses. Although, sometimes it got out of hand. One particular day, when I was around 12, I decided to kick a ball as high as possible. Unfortunately, it nailed my brother, who sometimes has anger issues, directly in the head. He went Bruce Lee on me, and decided to track me down. I backed, ran, away, and had made it to our back door. Unluckily for me, not fast enough. He plowed into me, and sent my head and neck directly through the glass. Looking back this is kind of funny. but not any less dangerous or fortunate for me. I had no cuts, despite the myriad of nerves running from your neck to your brain, not to mention the eyes, ears, and scalp are not usually things you want damaged. We both got yelled at, and looking back God wasn't yelling, but he was teaching me a lesson. This lesson was 'even when you do stupid things, I can and will protect you.' 'Now stop doing those things!'My lack of injury defied logic, but God is capable of that and then some. Also, it gave me great respect for the sharpness of glass, which I still have to this day. Example number three may seem harmless, but it is the greatest show of God's timing. Last spring, I returned home from school at the end of April. My family was really excited to have me home, especially my mom, since she is home by herself with my dad and brother at school. I was taking a break from all forms of work, so I hadn't started my summer job yet. Therefore, my typical day was to get up around noon. I know: very taxing. Still, I felt real worthless and unproductive. Anyway, one afternoon I was brushing my teeth, and I was about to go somewhere. Then I heard our dog barking, and what I thought was a voice. I walked out, and the dog was at the top of the stairs barking, as someone was at the bottom laying there. It was mom, who said her foot really hurt. I walked downstairs, saw that it was very swollen, and called my dad to come home. Now all that she had was a broken foot; however, it could have been so much more. She only missed the last two steps, but what if it had been the first two? Our basement steps are steep, and the potential for hitting your head is high. What if I had still been at school? My dad and brother wouldn't have been home for at least 2-3 hrs, more than enough time to potentially bleed to death from a cut, or to lapse into a coma from head trauma. This didn't happen, but I was supposed to be there regardless. She could have yelled, but no one was coming, and our neighbors wouldn't have been able to hear. God had me there to get her help as soon as possible. These are three examples of God using me, or teaching me a lesson, that was absolutely necessary. Call them George Bailey moments if you want. Aside from these, people have had their own moments in my life that were absolutely necessary.

When I first moved to Montoursville in first grade I knew no one. My first friends, and still some of my best, were courtesy of Community Baptist Church. I'm convinced, despite some trying times; God put these people in my life for a reason. They have given me good, and sometimes questionable, advice more times than I can count. These guys have been a good pick-me-up for as l long as I can remember, and I wouldn't trade 'em for anybody. Numerous times have arisen when I probably would have made a stupid decision without them, and some where I made stupid decisions because I chose not to listen. Additionally, last summer I got some great advice from an amazing girl. I was having my usual moment of self-pity, when I had a good conversation about relationships. Mainly, that the right one will come along when I stop hoping and start praying. She was right, and it completely altered my outlook going into this past fall. This was exactly what God wanted me to, and it was what I needed to, hear as well. Next, a set of twins is responsible for getting my spiritual life back on track. At the end of spring semester, I was the definition of a bum. I wasn't going to church, barely doing anything in my classes, and basically playing Halo or other video games till 4 am every day. These guys continued to encourage me to go to Cornerstone, but since I wasn't even going to church I made excuses. After an interesting summer, I decided a change was in order. I took their advice, and I know God put them there for that reason. Regardless, this definitely has been the best thing I've done since coming to Pitt. I've meet tons of cool people, gotten a new appreciation for worship and praise, and definitely grown closer to God. It's made my life much more functional, and lessened possible temptations and problems. In fact, one of the people I met at Cornerstone has been a big part in this. For the past 4 or so years, I've had an on, and, sometimes, off, I guess you could say, 'addiction.' Even on here, I'd rather not elaborate, regardless it has been a problem. It's not something I'm proud of, even given the prevalence it enjoys culturally. At the start of this year, after it prominently factored during the summer, it once again reared its head. I was sick of it, but I didn't have something to remove the feeling of need. Then I found it. After the fall retreat for Cornerstone, I begin to notice I gradually was removing my 'habit' from my life. Now for all you out there wondering, it was not tobacco or drug related just in case you thought I was a massive hypocrite. However, once I started to interact with this person it all but disappeared. Now with less interaction, it occasionally rears its head, but far less and quickly goes away. I owe this person a great deal of thanks for enabling me to begin to stop. It's the only thing that actively was an embarrassment for me, but now it won't be and doesn't have to be. This was the most notable of numerous improvements in my life. I'm convinced that God put this individual in my life for these reasons, and I'm so glad he did. There are others, but these most readily stand out.

So when you think you don't matter, or the world would be better off without you, you're dead wrong. God has a plan for everybody who seeks him, and wants to do his will and work. Prayer is instrumental is this process. Although as is an open heart, and a willingness to trust and admit our weakness. We are strongest when we admit we are weakest, and trust on God to hold us up and protect us. I'd like to think I can do it all myself, but I can't, it’s way too hard. I have to give my hopes, fears, and dreams to God. It's hard to let go, or to understand sometimes, but God has a plan. Some of the events I talked about I didn't understand at the time, although I certainly do now. God had me there, and put those people in my life, for distinct reasons. We can all be reminded: not our will, but His will be done. I like being that person God sends into people's lives for a purpose. Sometimes we don't recognize the people God sends into our lives. But this doesn't mean it's too late, sometimes our hearts are hard, but God knows this. He gave the best second chance ever: Jesus. In turn, he wants you to give his will, people, and situations second chances. When it eventually clicks you'll know. As D.C. Talk said, "sometimes you fall before you fly." Have faith for you will fly. It's a Wonderful Life for sure, and I hear the afterlife is even better.

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