Tuesday, December 15, 2009

a place of "in between". . .

I started looking at Ps 126 today and found it interesting to realize that it can be divided into two parts: v.1-3 are a remembrance of what God has done in the past and v.4-6 look to the future.

In between those two sets of verses is what I would call "today". I can look back and remember good things that God has done... brought deliverance from fear, anger, hurt... brought healing... I recall His faithfulness as we walked through some dark days...

I look to the future and anticipate what God will do in our lives.

Yes, God is faithful. The events of the past are witness to that. I believe that He will be faithful in the days ahead - He has promised that.

But for today. I teeter on the brink. I wonder , "How long, O Lord? Have you forgotten us? When will You act?"

My head knows all the right answers... but my heart feels a little less sure.
My head says, "Remember His faithfulness". My heart feels heaviness and asks, "How long?"
My head says, "Great is Thy faithfulness. His mercies are new every morning". My heart cries, "O Lord, forgive my feelings of hopelessness and doubt. Help my unbelief"
My head says, "You do not walk this journey alone". My heart begs, "Help me to know Your presence"

and yet... for today... I'm in that place of "in between". . .

Sunday, December 13, 2009

have you ever felt....

alone? forgotten?

I heard another challenging sermon today... We often feel that God has forgotten us. Certainly Israel felt that way. Assyria was knocking on their door and they were not only afraid, but felt God had abandoned them.

Ever feel that way? that you were all alone in the struggles that you were facing? that perhaps even God has abandoned you? and worse, has forgotten you? My heart broke as our pastor described a time in his early school years when he had been forgotten. He had been made to stand with his nose against the brick wall as discipline for not getting into line quickly enough... The rest of the students filed into the school and got settled into their classes... but not our pastor. For forty-five minutes he stood there... all alone... The teacher had forgotten about him... and my heart cried it resonated with that feeling of having been forsaken... alone... and terrified of making another wrong move...

The trouble with Israel was that they had forgotten God. They had ceased to seek Him and now... when trouble was knocking at their door, they felt all alone.

But there is good news. God has not forsaken His own. He has promised to walk with us moment by moment. Yes, the way may be dark and we may not see Him, but He is there. Take heart. He is there and His presence brings joy. How can it not? for He is joy.... unspeakable joy.

During this season of busy and crazy schedules, let's not forget to remember God and in that remembrance perhaps we will find joy... and peace... and hope.

photo credits to Aliyar Taravati

Sunday, December 6, 2009

mountains... and peace....

Psalm 125 begins with,

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.

Ever considered mountains? On a clear day I can see the Rocky Mountains from here. Standing so majestically, they remind me of strength and permanence. They are the epitome of immovability!!! and just as Mount Zion surrounds Jerusalem, sure & secure, so too the Lord surrounds us, His people. If we trust in Him, we are surrounded with a blanket of security - we are safe! and above all, that security is immovable - it's unshakable!!

Even when life around us seems to be going crazy and stuff is happening that we just don't understand - God's presence is there. He is standing between me and all the "stuff"... He is surrounding me... and He is immovable!!

What does that look like in real life? This past week has been unbelievable. Our oldest son had an accident with his car last Friday. The streets were skating rinks and another vehicle pulled out of a parking lot in front of him. As much as he tried to avoid a collision... my daughter was in the car. She's had a headache since that evening - the result of whiplash. Two days later, my son's car packs it in. It's now sitting at a service station waiting for a transmission. Of course, my son is looking at his bank account and realizes that this is going to cost a fair bit of money.

Where is God? Where is this protection? Let's take a closer look...

  • except for my daughter's whiplash, the others didn't sustain any injuries
  • my son does have enough money in his bank account to pay for the work
  • my son had a friend who could give him a ride the morning his car died
  • my son was able to get off the freeway and limp into a parking lot

Today our pastor spoke on being peace in places where there is no peace. Our home this past week has been one of those places that has needed some extra peace. What does this mean for us? for me? We came home from church to... no water. There's a break in the water line that the city is trying to fix today. How can I find peace? no... the question is not how can I find peace. The question is, "How can I BE peace in this situation?"

The answer I believe is found at the beginning of this post. "As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people." God is still here. God is surrounding us. The LORD is the Prince of Peace. As He is the Prince of Peace, that means we are surrounded by Peace - His Peace. I just need to allow that peace to fill my heart and then, by God's grace, may I be a vessel of peace to those around me.