Archive | February 2017

preserve my life.

Christians are familiar with this scripture:

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)

I’m not sure if they are with the next part:

I have suffered much; preserve my life, LORD, according to your word. (Psalm 119: 107)

Verse 105 is easy. It is the declaration of every Christian who believes in the scripture to be the inerrant word of God. It is used as the point of reference for the application of morality. It is used when a Christian is navigating through difficult situations.

But then there is the next part: I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord.

There used to be (and still is in some church cultures) an emphasis on faith, to the point of almost denying there is such a thing as suffering for the Christian. It kept one buoyant…above the fray…optimistic, positive, and fighting with the sword of the spirit (the scripture).

This is not a bad thing. It’s only bad when you are caught off guard.

Sometimes, we think suffering happens to other people.

There were times when Christians would speak of God’s goodness of an answered prayer while I was sitting there, suffering, because my prayer was not answered.

Then I learned to speak of God’s goodness when I was suffering. When I did, I found myself feeling stronger, finding peace, and even joy. When we accept, we are trusting God.

Joy and sorrow were together at the cross.

How is it we acknowledge there is suffering in the world, but then are surprised when it comes to us?

We are offended with God. We are angry. We are hurt. We are rejected because God didn’t hear our prayer. He didn’t see how hard we worked. How faithful we were. How much we did what God asked because we loved him with all our heart, soul, and strength.

Two things:

  • As smart as we are, as capable as we are, as productive and innovative as humanity is, we do not understand everything. Think about the things science and medicine cannot explain. So how can we possibly think there is an explanation for our personal pain and suffering?
  • Life is eternal. There will be a day when we will understand. All things are hidden with God. There is comfort when you believe that. And it’s not hard to believe it. Because when you have truly hit rock bottom and there is no place to look but up, God is there.

God preserves us during times of suffering. He does it even when we do not know it.

But when you know it, it is all the more wonderful.

sidewalk flower

 

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God can.

Eighteen years ago, while piloting a plane, John F. Kennedy Jr. fell victim to spatial disorientation.

The weather conditions were poor, obscuring visibility, and his plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing him, his wife, and sister-in-law.

There are 6 types of spatial disorientation causing the brain to be tricked by the movement of fluid in the ears. When flying through clouds, a pilot might think the plane is maneuvering in a particular way when it isn’t.

Even seasoned pilots have been affected.

” … between 5-10% of all general aviation accidents result from spatial disorientation, and of those accidents, 90% of them are fatal.” -boldmethod.com

What is the remedy? Don’t move your head quickly, don’t rely on what you see or don’t see.

Do rely on your instruments.

Our emotions can trick us, too. We might react quickly with anger or hopelessness.

The Bible anchors our emotions because God knew we needed it. The scripture is truth. It is the instrument given to humanity to navigate through life. It has the ability to make things clear when our emotions overwhelm us.

After feeling the gamut of emotions we all share in, take a breath, step back, and ask, “What does God say about this?”

Let His word guide you through the days clouded with sorrow and heartache, loneliness and pain.

When you can’t see, God can.

cloud

Photo credit: xalphas via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

 

 

scripture friday.

Your word is a lamp for my feet,

a light on my path.

I have taken an oath and confirmed it,

that I will follow your righteous laws.

I have suffered much;

preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.

-The Bible

IMG_5985

photo credit: britsinvade via Foter.com / CC BY

 

light to my path.

This might seem trite to some who are reading, but please know it is not meant to be.

I am familiar with tragedy.

I am familiar with great emotional pain.

Trite is not in my vocabulary.

Today, I am writing to Christians. Men and women who know the Bible is what it says it is: a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

Yet, how often we neglect to remember this when we navigate through life, especially when it’s dark.

God gives humanity tools to use. In his goodness, people are not even aware they have used those tools and where they came from.

Christians know.

And yet, how often do we find ourselves going in a direction without the light to guide us.

It is very common and understandable to lash out at life, others, and even God when we’re hurting. The Psalms are full of the human response to pain.

If you stay in that state, you will become miserable and bitter. You will never find the peace you are looking for.

Many continue down this path, well, because we’re human.

Humans with emotions.

Emotions that need to be filtered through the light of God’s word. Emotions not tethered to something will wander to unknown places, causing even more upheaval to our well being.

God gently speaks to our pain.

Do you want to hear?

The words God speaks throughout the Bible is the very thing keeping me protected, calm, strong, patient, and yes … even joyful.

The joy happens after I have taken hold of his words of life as my own. When I find they work, the joy comes, because I know God is real and means what he says.

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photo credit: kudumomo

the goal of healing.

when it hurts

Trauma permanently changes us.

This is the big, scary truth about trauma: there is no such thing as “getting over it.” The five stages of grief model marks universal stages in learning to accept loss, but the reality is in fact much bigger: a major life disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no “back to the old me.” You are different now, full stop.

This is not a wholly negative thing. Healing from trauma can also mean finding new strength and joy. The goal of healing is not a papering-over of changes in an effort to preserve or present things as normal. It is to acknowledge and wear your new life — warts, wisdom, and all — with courage.

-Catherine Woodiwiss

courage

~~~

Photo credit: Phototropy / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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friday quote.

She stood in the storm

and when the wind did not blow her away,

she adjusted her sails.

-Elizabeth Edwards

sail

Photo credit: Matt Shiffler Photography via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA