Pain and grief build like the thick muggy atmosphere before a storm. You tell yourself you are okay but after awhile your heart and mind fill until the storm clouds break and you are left in a downpour of tears and a thunderstorm of racking shakes until through the midst of the rain you see Jesus. Scarred hand reaching out and taking you into His arms. As you cry into His heart you slowly feel better, His reassuring voice trickles in through the sobs and you hear Him tell you He loves you and that you will be okay. Suddenly your pain stops and feel like air after a big storm…refreshed…renewed…clear…. better. Thank you Jesus.
Dragons and kings
God is not like smaug, the great dragon from the Hobbit, where when we come into His lair trembling and say “I had heard stories about you but I did not believe them,” he stands back from us flexing the scales across his chest and blowing a snort of smoke out of his nose he proplaclaims, “and do you now?”
In contrast when we come up to Jesus trembling saying, ” I had heard stories of you my Lord, but I did not believe them.” He looks at us with love and responds, “I know, I have been waiting for you to come and see me for yourself.” Then He hugs us and all our fears and sins and scars melt away and not only do we believe the stories we now know the man they are about and we know He loves us. His gentle embrace following us everywhere we go until we get to live with Him in His kingdom. There is no dragon pride, just the gentle/powerful/all knowing/unending love of a king.
(Credit to owner for the cover image)
Pacing the base of the mountain
In our lives we will undoubtedly come across mountains we have to climb; there’s no way past them but up. We stand there at the base of the mountain looking at the thick, prickly trees and the 80 degree uphill grade, the top of the mountain is so high it has it’s own, personal cloud and we think to ourselves, ‘there has to be another way.’ So we begin looking for an easier route.We walk for miles as far as we can go around the base of the mountain in one direction and then in the other. We then find ourselves standing in our original spot, 10 times more tired and 10 times more discouraged as we realize we just wasted all that time and energy looking for a way around a solid rock foundation and could have been at least a third of the way to the top by now if we had just hitched up our socks and started climbing. Does this sound familiar? Well I bet it did for Moses too, he waited 40 years in the desert 100% relying on God for EVERYTHING because his people didn’t want to go through the hardship that they would face in entering the promise land. In the end God showed them that the view from the top of the mountain is well worth the climb, but it took a while to get them up there. God gets it. He’s patient with us and waits as we weigh our options but in the end we have to climb. We may get dirty and bloody and sore climbing to the top but once we sit down on the summit and look at the rushing waterfall beneath us and the crisp, cloudy air around us cools and soothes our aching bones we realize that without the climb we would never have gotten to look down upon a rainbow. God pushes us for a reason. No matter what we go through He uses it to draw us into His presence and to show us His power. He is building us into who we were meant to be and even though other people might not understand the climb and might try to persuade you to stay in the valley you taking that first, second, third, final step is putting you in God’s will; what else could we possibly wish for?
Now that I live in the country one of my favorite things to do is sit out at night and watch the stars. Out where we are there is virtually no light pollution so we can see billions of stars and the depth of sky and the milky way is so vivid you could almost touch it. One thing I like to do is pick a star and make a wish (yes I know that’s silly but it makes me smile.) Tonight as I made my wish I noticed my star shift places and realized I had made a wish on a satellite. This made me realize how often we think we are wishing on stars and they turn out to be satilites. We put all our hopes into one big dream and it ends up being less than we expected. Say you wanted to sing professionally and you put all your effort into getting that one big hit, but when it comes and you start chasing that dream you find yourself discontented with the stage life. Now what? You’ve put all you have into this opportunity and now you don’t feel you can move on. Let me tell you something I heard a great speaker once say, “if you are feeling a push to move into something new it very well might be God preparing you for something that is coming.” Trust your calling, trust that that voice may be God wanting you to do something else. Everything has it’s season and maybe it’s your season to start God’s dream for you. Now wait, don’t go quit your job, pack your backpack and go because a new calling isn’t always what’s going on, discontentment and God moving can be different things; so pray hard and involve people you trust to pray with you because you want to be sure it’s God before you move. God is the star, solid in the sky and unwavering; our own ambitions however can easily be a satellite, here right now and gone somewhere else in a few moments. We must trust that God does have a purpose for us (because He does) and we must wait upon Him to move us when it is time. Instead of wishing upon satellites turn to God in prayer and open your heart to hear His answer.
Love sets us apart
The difference between Christians and many, not all, but many other people is that we love the person despite our differences. We may not always like what the people do, what they believe in, or even the people themselves, but we always love them because our God tells us to. It’s not always easy, to be honest it’s usually not easy, but we choose to love anyways. God says to love your neighbor as yourself. He doesn’t say love the nice person across the street but hate the guy down the road who purposely walks his dog to your yard to let them do their business. God says to love everyone. In this modern age where it feels like we as Christians are being persecuted from every side it’s very easy to start to hate the persecutors; but loving them (the hard thing to do) is what sets us apart from them. There’s an old song that says “persecuted not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.” In the midst of everything the Christians all over this world are going through we are still not abandoned, we are still not destroyed, because our God loves us enough to stand by us and lift us up and give us strength; He keeps us going when we can’t go on. Are we perfect and deserving of such love? Absolutely! Not! But God still loves us. Those around us we find hard to handle don’t deserve our love; neither do those who attack us and persecute us and imprison us and beat us and kill us, but because God loves them still we will also love them, even if it’s a forced love it’s love. God hates what those people do to us and we have every right to hate what they do to us too, but He loves the person and that’s the hard part, seeing the hurting soul past the hurtful deeds. Nothing can separate us from God’s love, a love we receive and show. We must give of the love we are given because those people need to be loved too and they need to be shown Jesus very badly. So have a love without chains and love beyond the deeds, love the person because Jesus loves them and never forget He loves you too
You break it you buy it
We have all seen the signs while shopping warning us that if we break anything we have to pay for it. The same is with people, if you break them you buy them. If you cause someone pain it’s up to you fix that pain. A simple ‘sorry’ doesn’t always fix things but if it’s with the heart then you tried and that counts right? Sort of. Not really. You have caused a crack in that person, a pain and it needs fixing. You need to do your best to cause the fix to the break you have created. Words last painfully longer than physical harm, even if those words weren’t meant to hurt, or weren’t even meant to be said, they still hurt and hurt a lot. It’s sometimes very hard to cure the pain you’ve caused but the pain the other person feels is your responsibility to fix none the less. We need to pray hard about how to fix the pain we have caused other people. We can’t always fix the pain but we have to try. Our best bet is to never say anything that hurts anyone, but when we do hurt others we can’t just say ‘oh well’ and move on we must realize our fault and fix the problem the best we can and then leave it in God’s hands.
Too much noise not enough sound
When you are so blessed but you let little things irritate you.
Remember how Corinthians said ‘if I have not love’ or in some versions charity, what am I? I resounding gong or a clanging symbol. Lately I have looked around and seen blessings on top of blessings, answers to prayers not just for myself but for others aswell and yet when the guy cut me off on the highway my response was less than charitable. When the third person that day nearly banged into me in Wal Mart and I turned to my mom and complained that wasn’t charitable either. In Wal Mart I should have expected to get banged into at least once, and later my mom and I were laughing about the strung together multitudes and then I realized; we had a great day altogether we were both in great moods, why did these things bother me? Let me rephrase that, who was really bothering me? The devil is clever making us react when little things happen, one reaction after another and soon something nice can be something not nice. For my day my friend Holy Spirit stepped in and said, ‘excuse me Lauren, that’s not the girl I raised talking,’ and I realized I was wrong in reacting, and like I said my day was great. Complaining about bad drivers is slander. I know that sucks most of us love to yell at traffic (or at least many of the people I know do) it’s cathartic in many ways, but it’s still slander. As Aladdin once said, ‘if I were as rich as you I could afford some manners.’ Can’t people as rich as we afford some Grace?
I feel terrible letting those things get to me, does the person in the silver Kia hatchback feel at all bad about my yelling at him? no, does the kid who nearly ran me down in the store feel bad? I hope not, He was having a bad day getting dragged around grocery shopping with his mom he doesn’t need my short fuse bothering him. That’s the problem, we all have things that we let get to us and it tears us down, and quite possibly tears others down too, especially the person we complain to. We need to learn to tell the devil to get lost and control how we react to things, or else we lack charity. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be a gong.
The courage to stand
You will not have to fight this battle; take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.- 2 Chronicles 17
When we are down and are having a hard time seeing something we are after succeed what is the first thing most of us do? We look for a way to make what we are after happen; because why shouldn’t it happen right now? Why shouldn’t we get that raise and make more money? Why shouldn’t that play we’ve written get produced today? Why shouldn’t the healing we’ve been asking and waiting for happen now? And all that happens is we start to worry more and more and more, until we are consumed by fear. Sometimes God isn’t wanting us to work to attain the things we are after, sometimes God simply wants us to stand. To wait. To trust that He will take care of it all.
It’s funny how doing nothing except praying is often the hardest thing we can do. It should be simple but it’s frustrating and makes us feel restless. That doesn’t change the fact that God knows what He’s doing, and being annoyed and afraid is not going to make our desires happen faster. Sometimes we just need to have the faith to stand firm and trust God. Our dreams can and most likely will happen, just not in the timing we desire or exspect.
Patience and Understanding
Patience and understanding are two things which cause most people to groan inside when mentioned. Not many want to go to the effort of having patience with other people and trying to understand their situation takes too much brain strain; so what is our solution? We get agitated and sometimes even lash out, (why else would cars have horns?) We look to vent our frustration and make ourselves feel better, often causing the irritating person to feel worse about their private problem that is causing them to bother us. Most people don’t go out of their way to be a problem, some do, but not most. We all have moments where we drive people crazy. Patience and understanding are things we want other people to have with us but are not things we want to have with others. Like I said, it’s too much work. But when Jesus said, “Treat others as you would have others treat you,” He meant it. Jesus had the ultimate patience, ‘of course He did,’ you say, ‘He is God’s son.’ True but He was made into full man and experienced the same temptations we do; don’t you think that Jesus felt annoyed at times? Any of the rest of us would have eventually just told the pharisees after the second, or even the first encounter with them what they could do with their opinions. Jesus didn’t because He did not yield to the spirit of irritation. Yes we need to vent, but let us try to instead vent to God and tell Him how we feel and ask Him what we should do about it. Don’t feel too bad about being annoyed, but try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view and then renew an old saying, ‘what would Jesus do?’