What Do You Do?

proverbs3_5-6What do you do when the answers don’t seem to be clear? Do you throw a temper tantrum and shake your fist at the sky? Do you cry and feel broken, believing the light of day will never come? Do you grow cold and callous, convinced He never cared anyway?

Those of you who are parents, do you jump for joy when your child’s response is in any of these ways? Is this the way we want them to react when life doesn’t go their way? By all means, no. Then, why, oh why do we respond to the Creator of the Universe as if we are spoiled or rebellious youngsters?

Believe me, I’m “preaching to the choir” here. I’ve been guilty. I’ve sulked. I’ve whimpered and whined. I’ve even been known to throw a temper tantrum here and there (hopefully, not too many of you saw that one! 🙄)

Yet, the great thing about the God we serve is HE STILL LOVES US when we haven’t reacted the way we should to what we deem as unfair. He still cares when we feel disheartened and broken and when we’ve shown our immaturity. He still loves us WHEN WE DON’T DESERVE IT! 😉

He is a GOOD God, and He loves us SO much. Sometimes, He doesn’t answer for our own good. Sometimes, we can’t hear, because our ears are plugged, and we need to clear some debris. Sometimes, He has us wait; so, He can finish a work He began.

Regardless of the reason, why don’t we treat Him as we’d like our children to respond to us when we have to say, “No,” or when we have to delay with our response. Why don’t we respond to Him with the same love He is sending to us? 😉

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Trite Answers for the Broken 

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Yesterday, we went to visit someone whose spouse is dying of cancer and then prayed with a lady whose mom is in the final hours of her life. A few moments later, we spoke with a set of parents whose 30-something daughter was admitted into the hospital with an aneurysm one month ago and who is, currently, knocking at death’s door.

Today, I read of a husband who is living in the house with his wife who desires a divorce, and I thought of a wife who faced the choice to stay and ignore, attempt to pick up the shards, or simply walk away from years of holy matrimony. Tonight, I read stories of children with leukemia struggling to thrive and more who deliberately survive day to day with debilitating diseases and conditions. There’s so many who need to be reached.

I read my Bible. I pray, and I send an encouraging word, hoping to bring hope in those places where, sometimes, I wonder if change will come. I believe His Word to be true. I really, really do; yet, I fear my answers seem so trite and contrived as I pray desperately to have the faith to believe for the miracle.

It’s so easy to give into the doubt. My flesh longs to feel the relief of my faith. My carnal mind fights against reason to grasp for Hope. My heart wars on the battlefield of Spirit vs. flesh…

Yet, in that very moment, I can feel my spirit rising in indignation. I can feel my heart leap for the Comforter’s arrival. My eyes swell with tears as I know without a shadow of doubt that He has stepped into that chasm of space and time. As the old song declares, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow… Because He lives, all fear is gone… Because I know, I know, He holds the future… And life is worth the living just because He lives!” 

I cannot tell you how He does it. I cannot even tell you how He makes it possible, but I am eternally convinced of His promise: when you place your hand in His, and you simply trust and believe, He gives you grace in the very moment you need.

He gives you Hope…for He is Hope. He is Love. He is everything you could ever need.

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Heart Questions

Why do babies die too soon?Questions-of-the-Heart-300x259

Why do mothers get cancer?

Why do fathers die tragically?

Why do friends hate and kill?

Why do the innocent suffer?

Sometimes, my heart asks the hard questions, the kind of questions that don’t have easy answers to find. Sometimes, my mind scrambles to understand why evil can be so prevalent in a world in which God made and in people whom God created. Sometimes, life just seems unfair, unruly and undesirable.

Often, I wonder why innocent children are taught to carry guns and strap bombs on themselves to kill people of another religion and race. Often, I wonder why this one is healed of sickness and disease and another says goodbye. Often, I wonder why one family can be so blessed and another can be left so desolate.

In all of this questioning, I have found some answers to be true…

We live in a fallen world, and we’re not home (in heaven) yet. This life we live is not perfect, and we become fools when we believe it should be. There are evil men (and women) in our culture today, and their only intent is to wreak havoc wherever they can.

Sometimes, people are in the wrong places at the wrong times. Sometimes, people are doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes, people aren’t doing what they should.

There are laws of the land which, just simply, must be followed, like “Gravity is real, and if you think you’ll jump from that building and remain unharmed, you’re just wrong.” There are, also, spiritual laws which, again, if you desire a better life, must be followed. Even if you’re not a believer, you can see that ‘reaping what you sow’ comes to pass. As in, “If you think you can spend all that money and not go into debt, and not owe many people in return, you are just fooling yourself!”

There are some things that just “are what they are,” and there’s nothing we can do about it. There’s some things that are just sin, and sin will never bring about good things in the long run. There’s some things from which we must learn lessons in order to grow and mature beyond where we are, and there are some accidents and “freakish happenings” which just happen for no apparent rhyme or reason.

I don’t have answers to all the why’s, how’s, and when’s, and I would never try to presume that I do; however, I can tell you this: I know a God who does know all answers and so much more. I know He is faithful and true. I know He loves us, and I know He cares about every little or big thing we face. I know He is there when we need Him, and He can carry us through the storm when we can’t carry ourselves.

How do I know this, you might ask? I know this, because I believe. I know this, because I believe His Word to be true. I know this because of my personal relationship with Him. I know this because of the changes I have seen, not only in my own life but, also, in the lives of so many with whom I’ve come into contact.  I know this because of the miracles He has done in my life, and not only in my life, but in the lives of my family, my friends and, even, in people I barely know.

I know He is God. He is faithful. He is true, and He loves me and you. Does this mean, somehow, that my life is never, or will never, be touched by pain, grief or aguish. NO! Just because I believe in a loving God does not mean I will never experience something bad. I’ve seen and experienced plenty of things I wished I hadn’t, and I’m sure that I will experience more in my lifetime. That’s just life, living in an imperfect world with imperfect people. Even Jesus, the Son of God, experienced heartache, pain, suffering and, also, death. By no means, am I better than He! Sometimes, life is just not going to be what we expected it to be, but that doesn’t make Him any less of a perfect God, any less of a living God! It just makes us human and living in a human world.

So, will I always have more questions than I have answers, well, I hope so. Questions make us search our hearts, search down in our souls. Questions make us seek for deeper meaning. Questions make us seek for a higher purpose, an understanding beyond our own.

The Bible says…

Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”

*Note: I do not own nor do I possess this picture. Found it by simple Google search. Directed to http://achurchofchrist.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Questions-of-the-Heart-300×259.jpg

Life’s Many Blessings

Do you ever think about how many times God blesses us in a day??

Sometimes, it’s just as simple as receiving a sweet phone call or a little card in the mail. 

Sometimes, it’s as precious as getting an extra hug from my teenage son before bedtime. 

Other times, it’s getting through the yellow light when I’m running late and really should have slowed down a little more. 

Other times, I realize I may have been running late; yet, there was also a wreck that might just have avoided. 

Maybe it’s the “surprise” answer to a very long ago prayer. 

Yet, what about those times we hold out for that answered prayer that, much later, we realize wasn’t answered for very good reasons? 

What about those aches and pains which teach us to rely on Him a little more?

What about those heartwrenching seasons that help us to understand another’s pain on life’s long journey?

What about those hard times which bring us to our knees and cause us to reach for more of Him and so much less of ourselves?

There are countless blessings just awaiting us in every new day. 

Let us never look only to the good for blessings, for the bad can simply be blessings in disguise.