Archive | July 2012

great.

God is so great in his love, He continually places sure footing before our steps – even when we have messed up. God doesn’t sit back like some of us do, just waiting for the ax to fall on someone. His mercy is so great and His compassion is so deep that He weeps over us.

          As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.

                                                                 -The Bible

suffering.

Why are we surprised when we have to suffer?

Especially in the American culture – our first response is disbelief.  How can this happen to me? Why did this happen to me?

If the Son of God endured pain and suffering, is it really unimaginable that we should suffer?

Yet, in the suffering there are wonderful treasures to be discovered. Even the natural realm reveals the benefits of the processes and pressures involved. The crushing of olives for olive oil, the friction of sand to make a pearl, and the heat required to purify gold.

We don’t look for suffering as if it will make us better people. We accept it when it comes. This is not a defeatist mentality. It is faith when we walk through it with courage and strength, allowing God to do what he says he will do.

I, even I, am he who comforts you.

Isaiah 51:12

 

 

loss.

In one moment, everything can change.

Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad.

What do we say to someone who lost a brother, daughter, sister, husband, girlfriend …  in the movie theater massacre?

What do we say to the man who lost his wife, mother, and two teenage daughters in a car accident a few days ago?

People offer condolences those first days. Everyone is gripped with the soberness of sudden death. Our lives suddenly stop. It could have happened to me we think.

But then, there are the weeks and months following when very few, if any, seem to remember your loss.

The pain doesn’t end after the funeral.

If you know someone who has lost a friend or family member, remember them. Don’t think that someone else is doing it. They’re not.

If you are the one who is lonely in your grief, you are not alone. Even if you don’t believe or are not sure about God … he’s sure about you … and he’s with you.

rain.

June 13th was the last time we had rain. I watered the flower and vegetable garden every day, but the grass turned brown and was thirsty for rain.

I had never seen it this dry.

One day, I was watering the cucumbers and squash, and I noticed a grasshopper jumping into the spray. It just sat there, enjoying the moisture. I supposed he would crawl under a large, green leaf and drink the droplets that rested on the surface. I thought about how much it meant to an insect to have a drink.

Today it rained. Hard. With clamoring thunder, dangerous lightening, and strong wind included. But the sky had opened up and watered the earth with a vengeance. It was as if to the degree the earth was suffering, that was to the degree in which the rain had to come.

As I watched the water pool in places on the parched lawn, I thought about how welcoming it must feel for the roots struggling below.

God takes care of the earth.  The rain came when it needed to come.  It could have come sooner since there was visible damage. But it did not come too late.

God takes care of you. If you only knew the enormity of his unconditional love for you! The earth didn’t do anything to cause it’s drought, nor did it do anything to deserve to be watered. You are of more value than dirt.

Whatever you are going through, your heart may be very parched and dry. Your mind may be tired and your soul weary.  God knows exactly when it will be time to bring you out of your distress.

He knows when to send the rain.

rhythm.

Pain disrupts the rhythm of our life.

Our hearts are like dry soil.

God waters the earth when it is time.

And the rhythm returns.

rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

-The Bible

relief.

The earth is full of beauty. Thousands of people simultaneously gasp while a scarlet ball of fire sinks below the horizon, casting  purple, orange, and pink across the sky – while one little girl catches a glimpse of  the bluest of blue, astonished at the discovery of six eggs cradled in a neatly built nest of mud and grass.

The earth has the ability to take our breath away.

But the earth is also full of misery – whether thousands watch as wildfires destroy a lifetime of memories or one watches at the bedside as cancer slowly takes their dying loved one.

The heavens echo with anger and pain being sent from earth to God – why? Why?

And the heavens return silence. But does it?

This morning, I watched the smiling, grateful faces responding to the relief of rain that fell upon a portion of the ashen western states.

Relief.

We don’t understand everything in life. How is it that the cold nights and dewy mornings are sufficient for life in the desert? How is it that two parts from two bodies meet and form human life? Every day we accept what we do not fully understand. Yet, when tragedy strikes we shake our fist at God. Can you imagine how many fists are raised to the heavens every day?

And like a loving, earthly father feels compassion for his crying child, God feels compassion for us. The child may not understand, may not receive what he wants – yet the father wipes away the tears and comforts.

Relief.

What are you going through? After you shake your fist or cry, will you see and be thankful for the relief that God brings in the midst of your sadness and loss?

blame.

It’s natural to blame God for what went wrong. Go ahead. He’s got the shoulders for it.

But you know what I’ve found? His love is so strong for you that he will let you rant and rave and scream.  He’ll let you sulk and be miserable.

Have you ever witnessed a child doing the same? Do you still love him or her? Do you have compassion for the child’s short-sightedness? Of course you do.

But then there comes a time to let it go and move on. But you can only do so if you want to. And God will prompt you in little ways – just like a parent would with a child. Only God is way better.

Way better.