Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Let Faith Arise!

I just had a very brief conversation with a friend last Saturday night after church about offering up a sacrifice of praise when our hearts are so badly broken that we just don't feel it. We feel like God is no where to be found, or if He is He's just not interested in fixing things for us. Then I began hearing this song all week. I could hardly keep my hands on the steering wheel of my car this morning as I drove to work when it came on the radio. I had to come home and look up the video.

I truly believe that when we, as a sheer act of our will, worship God even when our world is crashing down around us, even when we don't feel it, that faith will arise. That is my prayer for several of my friends who are going through extremely difficult times, and they're finding it difficult to see God in their circumstances. As they lift their hands to believe again, God, let faith arise!

YouTube - Chris Tomlin - I Lift My Hands

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reigniting the Call

Today is one of those days when I take my precious Gift of Grief off the shelf and examine it. I reminisce, I cry a little, I allow myself for one brief moment to think of some of the “what-ifs.” Today is the seven-year anniversary of the day our daughter met Jesus face to face. It truly was a Day Like No Other.

So, what if my daughter was still here? Would we live in the house we live in now? Quite possibly not. She grew up in town and hated the thought of living in the country. We probably would have bought a place in a suburb somewhere.

Would she be graduating from college? Would she be beginning a career as a nurse? A special ed teacher? A social worker? Those were the kinds of things she talked about becoming.

Would she be getting married? Thinking about starting a family? Would she still be in our state? Quite possibly not. Her heart was out West where she grew up.

So many things would be different, but our lives are still full. I never thought I could have survived if anything happened to my children. But here I am, working, serving, parenting again. I did survive… quite well, in fact. Do I miss her? Oh, my goodness, yes! Do I wish that accident never would have happened? Absolutely! But God had other plans.

My daughter’s work on earth was done. She had finished her race, completed her course and she had kept the faith. My work, however is not finished. At least God’s work in me is not finished. I don’t know what God has in store for my future, but I cannot allow my daughter’s entrance into eternity to keep me from whatever it is God wants me to do. Quite the opposite. I’m more driven than ever to find purpose. I know that her life was not in vain, and I surely know her death wasn’t either.
I’ll never forget one day during the early weeks after her death, I sat in the yard, gazing up at the blue sky and white puffy clouds through the lush green leaves of the trees. I said to God, “How could this possibly be your will?” What He spoke to my heart was something like 2 Peter 3:9, “My will is that no one should perish, but that everyone would come to know me.” And so I said, “OK, then let’s go! Let me see someone come to know you through this most devastating heartbreak. Otherwise, there’s no way I can bear it.”

And so today, I want to reignite my fervor for the mission that I set out on that day. I’m holding God to his promises. He put in my heart that day an unswerving hope that has held on tooth and nail for seven years. I want to lay aside my pride, my selfishness, even my comfort and press on to see God’s promises fulfilled! God, if it’s your will that no one should perish, but everyone should come to know You, then let’s go! Show me what I need to be doing! Reveal Yourself to us! Give us the umph we need to get out and share Your Unswerving Hope!

I love you, my beautiful girl! See you soon, but not too soon—I have some things to do first.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Has God Promised?

And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

Has anyone ever used 1 Corinthians 10:13 to encourage you through a difficult time? I hear it quoted all the time in response to trials, “God will never give you more than you can bear.”

My response is an emphatic, “OH YES HE WILL!” God has often given me way more than I could bear! Now, hear me out. I know that the word used for “temptation” in 1 Cor. 10:13 can also mean “testing” or “trial.” But if you look at the context, you’ll see that it is more about temptation and sin than it is about the trials of this life. Either way, as I see it, God often asks us to do things that we are completely incapable of doing--on our own.

What God did promise was that He would walk with us, strengthen us, refine us, give us peace and draw us closer to Him through our trials. That’s His main purpose, to help us to know Him better and realize our utter dependence on Him. If He never gave us more than we could bear, how would we ever learn that?
That’s what my trials have taught me, and frankly, I’m thankful for that lesson (though I'm afraid it will take a lifetime to  learn it completely.) I sure wish there was a better way, in fact, I’ve pled with God for another way. But I can do that “‘til I’m blue in the face,” as my mom would say. I can also become bitter and angry because of my trials, or I can see them as opportunities for transformation. Since I can do nothing to prevent many of my trials, I’ve decided to quit pleading for a different way and instead, plead with God to help me use my trials as opportunities for transformation.

God, help me to learn my current lesson so I can move on to the next one! I don’t want to spend the rest of my life banging my head against a wall, looking for a better way when I could be allowing You to change me a little more into Your image.
What God Hath Promised