shadows.

God has a way of hiding in the shadows.

We have a way of stumbling along in the dark until He steps out of them.

It happens in a moment. But when it does, when He steps out and again declares “Let there be light,” the clouds part and our souls’ dark alleys and cluttered corners glow with understanding, hope, and faith. In that moment, if only for that moment, we can see.

And we realize that He’s been there all along.

It’s just that we will see Him in a different light.

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remembering.

Tomorrow will be 12 years.

Christopher heard the call and was loyal and committed to the purpose and destiny he heard all of his life. Yet, the mixture of his zealous personality (do it right or don’t do it at all), and the certainty of purpose and assurance of destiny, fought with his tender heart.

With the tendency of feeling disqualified, it became too much.

I’ve been writing here for awhile now, with the purpose of being a small but steady light telling of God’s care during tragedy. I have not written solely about suicide, but the heartache of suffering in all its shapes and sizes.

I cannot speak to every heartache, but I do know the One who can.

I’m just a beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. And when you are hurting, you are begging for answers.

But we don’t always get answers, do we?

Some say, how could a God of love allow pain? I say isn’t it amazing how a God of love will comfort us in the pain.

It’s always been easy for me to see the big picture and not get lost in the details. That said, I have often found strength learning of the suffering which has come to mankind since the beginning of time.

There is a bigger picture. One that is difficult if not impossible for humanity to grasp. Try as we may, though, we form intellectual opinions based on what we see or understand, not realizing (or accepting) that just as the immensity of the universe cannot be understood in our finite minds, we will not understand why we suffer.

God’s ways are not ours. And in this I find comfort. Because it tells me someone is in charge of all this.

He has the answers.

The Bible speaks of the great cloud of witnesses” who surround us – those who spur us on to continue with perseverance  the path marked out for us. Men and women who faced intense adversity: ” … they were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated …”

We can continue with world history and current events which reveal so much pain and suffering, along with many, many who have endured and persevered, because they have grabbed hold of something bigger than themselves.

I do not want to minimize pain by sounding trivial in the conclusions I have come to.  But even in my worst first moments of receiving the news, suffocating and pulling me down into an abyss of hopelessness and despair, I found a brief moment to catch my breath and see the big picture of human suffering. Looking back, this was God pulling back the curtain to show me a truth that would help sustain me.

I was not alone. Countless others have faced this and more. God wasn’t picking on just me. He wasn’t punishing me. He wasn’t rejecting me.

Pain will isolate us, particularly from God. It, like death, is an enemy. An enemy that God will deal with one day when he wipes away every tear and there will be no more sorrow or death.

This is truth.

The truth sets us free from the limitations of how we see things.

And so we wait.

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? 

chris-peru

 

Christopher Moulton

November 30, 1981 – September 26, 2005

teenagers.

When I began raising teenagers, I thought because they had so much more than I did in terms of the road map of faith, they would certainly not struggle through those years as I did, without spiritual direction.

I was wrong.

Granted, they have an advantage – the word of God which clearly will not return … empty, but will accomplish what I [God] desire and achieve the purpose for which I [God] sent it.

The seeds are there. Some have sprouted. Some are dormant and will be ready at an another time.

If you have a Christian home, remember they our kids are human and will struggle like we do. Jesus said the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Even though they are better prepared, they are human.

We our impatient in our American culture. We think input-output – results when we want to see them.

The fruit of our investment may not take place until long after we are gone. We may never see it. But we have faith to know God is faithful, always leading and guiding our kids just as He does us.

I came upon a book at a rest stop on the way back from vacation. It was one of those stops for gas, a drink, and a snack. My eyes glanced over and saw this book. Just what I needed this year homeschooling my teenager. Something that would speak to the common insecurities teenagers have, giving direction, comfort, and hope.

I wonder if we are so intent on reaching goals with scripture memorization and mission trips, earning badges and ministry accomplishments, without realizing what goes on inside of a person. In other words, we can be so much about doing and not think about being.

“I Don’t Feel Loved”

“Someone I Know is Sick”

“Teased Because of My Looks”

“My Siblings Drive Me Crazy”

We should be aware of our the tendency for a quick fix without taking time to understand and help our teenagers work through their struggles.

It is also a great book for kids of any age. Even adults.

teensteens 2~~~

 

 

 

scripture friday.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

-The Bible

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it is well.

It’s normal to want things to go well.

But like gravity, we are vulnerable to what we cannot control. We can defy it, but inevitably we must surrender to it. Even the very act of resisting it proves the point.

There is no doubt God wants to bless us. We see it throughout the scriptures. I can’t help but wonder sometimes if we become so focused on this that we forget the other parts of the Bible which tells us about God’s comfort, his strength, and the peace he wishes to give us.

If we didn’t have to deal with things going wrong, then why those scriptures?

Why are we surprised by pain?

Because we’re human.

I know I have spent the greater part of my life embracing “calling those things that are not as if they were”. I was committed, determined, and embodied “faith without works is dead” and “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much”.

I latched onto the definition of prayer warrior. It was a good fit for my personality and at the end of the day, I felt productive and accomplished. I am naturally responsible, dependable, and find great satisfaction in covering all the bases.

Until I discovered my faith would no longer be activity, but standing.

It wasn’t long before I realized no one really likes  you standing around. Not in this busy, goal-driven world we live in. If you aren’t moving and checking things off the list, are you really in a “good place”?

I think there is room for flexibility in the Christian faith. We cannot be rigid where God gives grace.

This does not mean we do whatever we want when it is clear what God says about it.

It means not everyone is going to look the same. Throughout the scriptures, we see Jesus dealing with people in very different ways.

Surely, God must have a greater range and capacity for us than we understand.

When Christopher died unexpectedly, you better believe my Lord and Savior was right by my side. That isn’t to say I didn’t go through horrendous emotions. But if I ever “saw God” like Job did after his suffering, it was then.

Do you know there is a place of suffering that is the greatest dark abyss known to mankind? A place of desperation of drowning and suffocation.  Only God exists in this place.

That is why those who have been there are sensitive to Christian platitudes, howbeit well-meaning. (And by the way, it is not a time to become offended with someone who has no patience for it. We would not speak casually to a burn victim. Please know some wounds cannot be seen).

If you haven’t been there, and I pray you never see it, believe what I am telling you.

When God says He is with us, He is.

And because He is, you can trust Him to do all the scriptures tell us .. now .. and into eternity.

Things may not go well, but it will be well with your soul.

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scripture friday.

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.

 

-The Bible

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these words.

Perhaps never before has humanity been bombarded with instant answers, instant fixes, and instant gratification.

It’s no wonder these words get lost in the pile of everyday distractions.

Yes, even in our churches there is much activity. But you can be sure, somewhere in the midst there is someone who needs to hear these words.

If someone you know is feeling hopeless and sad – tell them these words.

Personally, I think it would do us good to hear these words at every church service. We need the reminder to keep our focus where it should be.

When bad news comes or tragedy strikes the human response is to question God.

But, he left us with these words: 

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 

According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 

Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

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