Archive for June, 2013

Riveted

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The sun was hot, and I was thirsty. I could see the bugs starting to take residence near my toes, and so I kept fidgeting. That morning, in a rushed attempt to be conservative I had worn a cashmere sweater over a dress that showed a little ‘too much’ of my arms. But at this point, all sense of propriety vanished as I felt myself roasting under the hot sun. I slyly took off my sweater and tried to pay attention to the man who was currently speaking. We were in the middle of nowhere, hick-town Massachusetts, and church was taking place outside. Mentally preparing myself for another out of touch sermon from someone who could probably relate best to those in my grandparents generation, I settled in for the long haul.

The preacher had this thick black mustache that started from beneath his nose, and traveled all the way down to the bottom his face, leaving his chin freely exposed. I was still examining the complexity of his mustache (wondering if it grew that way naturally, or if he had altered it in some way), when his lips began to move. His words pulled me out of my thoughts and I heard him say,

“How much can you lose, before you begin to blame God?”

And with that, ladies and gents, I was riveted. They could have told me Usher Raymond was waiting for me in the back room, and I would have said he should hold on!! I don’t know what it is, but when I see someone who has been through hell and back, and still comes out praising God. It leaves me breathless. It makes me think, that well, maybe I can do it too.

The pastor continued saying, “Faith, is not hoping in Christ when all is well, but trusting in Him when all seems lost.”

You see, there is something quite remarkable about meeting someone who has gone through immense struggle, pain, or loss. You fully expect the joy to have left their eyes, the spring to be gone from their step. You expect them to wear the burdens of their past or their present firmly upon their shoulders. Yet it is even more astonishing to meet someone who has felt searing helplessness, pain, and misery, but each day you see them make a conscious effort to not let the consequences of life, mar the beauty of being alive.

It is so easy to stay faithful when everything is going well in your life. But when struggles come instead of thinking that God has left you, it’s time for you to ask yourself: were you following God just for His blessings?

Did you think you could play God like a vending machine?? Putting your request in and expecting your every desire to come out?

Or are you with Him for the long haul!? Are you like His disciples who said: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

Look, the fact of the matter is: God uses trials to build your faith. But He never puts you in a situation in which He can’t use you or your circumstances. You are covered in grace. So, never underestimate what God can do with your life!

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The God Problem

God

Intellectuals often ask, “Why doesn’t God intervene more? Or shower us with miracles until we can’t take anymore? Why doesn’t He feed the hungry, heal the sick or prevent war?”

 

They wonder, “If God really exists, why doesn’t He take a more active role in caring for humanity and providing for the poor?”

 

Even the self-proclaimed Christian can admit that they often think: that maybe, their ‘God’ –is just a myth.

 

Pastors, preachers, and teachers, sitting at home doubting the Word. The struggles of life making them remote, from the God they outwardly promote. They question their beliefs. Wondering if it’s real, or if they are the Emperor in Chief: parading before the people without clothes—just empty prose.

 

Nevertheless, we must confess, that all of these questions are based on our own weakness. The flesh. We assume that if God did reveal Himself, all doubts would vanish and that we would follow Him without wasting one breath.

 

But the Israelites saw God in their flesh, but His presence, left them overwhelmed and feeling bereft. God showed them His power, but in front of new challenges they cowered. Every day a miracle—like new food falling from the sky. But they could not see past their own eyes.

 

Hearts hardened, barely listening. Pillar of cloud and fire. But even to Moses they couldn’t listen. So to follow God? No. His will was not their mission.

 

Tell me. What more from God could they desire? And you, what do you require? You see its not miracles that can make us witness: That it’s the Holy Spirit giving us spiritual fitness. And when we doubt; we too, are like the Israelites facing a new drought.

 

Forget not the Red Sea and all that God has done for thee. The time is coming, and almost is, when all our tears and sorrow shall not exist. When God will take care of the poor and worry shall be no more. So when in doubt, know that you are not alone. Open your bible and pray to God, it’s like calling Him on the phone. He sees your heartache and the disappointment in your eyes, but recognize—that it was for YOU He died.