Dressed in Striped Pajamas

Tonight I was sick….slightly, but feeling not quite myself just the same.  I knew I wanted to blog tonight, since much has been floating around my mind, but it wasn’t until just this moment that I really knew what I wanted to say.


This month I’m going on a journey of prayer journaling….and before I began writing tonight, I wanted to “relax” and watch a movie. Well I chose the movie “Boy in Striped Pajama’s”.  If you’ve seen it, you know that it leaves you feeling very sad, sad for the world, for the boy, for the times when we just don’t know any better…. and it makes me want to pray.


“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8) If you know anything about the holocaust, you know that there were many, many people who cried out to God, seeking His help, protection, wisdom & mercy. God wants us to do this, to pour out our hearts to him when we are scared, ashamed, unsure & hurting.  He will protect us, though sometimes He protects our hearts & souls over our earthly bodies.

We know this is true, that God desires to hold us in his Hands, and that He will answer us and come to us because of what Christ testified by his mouth…”‘Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.  So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”’

And yet, sometimes we have to walk through horrendous situations.  The people of the holocaust were thrust into something they had little to no control over, they were tortured, beaten, starved, mocked and killed for just daring to live as people that Christ created them to be.  Many of them lost hope, feeling abandoned….but still there were some, like Corrie Ten Boom who saw her situation in the prison camps, as a time that she could tell others about God & his mercy. She understood what is written about in 2 Corinthians 2:14 where it says “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.”  She, being lead as a captive into a place shrouded by death, held to her faith and overcame the smell of flesh with the fragrance of everlasting life.  ….. A faith like that deserves pause. ….. A faith like that, is one to make you wonder about the God who calls a witness like her out…He is a mighty God, a faithful God, an everlasting God.

Finally, as we seek him, praise him, confess our fears and hopes to him, we will see…maybe not today, but one day we will see…what His glorious plans for our lives will be.  It is then and on our journey to that end, that we can joyfully sing with David through Psalms 30:11-12, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.” Amen.

Sunrise to Sunset

I am the LORD, and there is no other;
   apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
   though you have not acknowledged me,
6 so that from the rising of the sun
   to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
   I am the LORD, and there is no other. –Isaiah 45:5-6
 
This morning, as I do many mornings, I watched the sunrise develop into something exquisite over the frozen lake.  It shone bright orange, purple & blue streaks which each contrasted with the others so vibrantly.  I’m not sure why, but watching a sunrise or sunset like the one this morning always reminds me of God’s faithfulness. It’s like he’s there, trying to remind us that from beginning to end, He is there. He will be faithful.  Though the day might bring hardship, toil & pain, He remains. He draws us towards him, to find beauty within his  creation, to find beauty within the day He has created for us. He wants us to know that He is bigger than whatever is out there, whatever we go through, whatever we face….He is with us.  He is in the dark, in the light, in the wind and in the calm. He is there and will always be pursuing us to bring us towards His loving arms.  The colors of this sunset are like the many facets of God’s character. He is both loving, just, compassionate, holy, gentle & yet we should fear Him.  Oh how all those facets and colors come together to form such a wonderful picture of who God is, and that we can be reminded of it every morning and every evening….that God is faithful.  

A quiet Joy

In the past two years, there have been multiple things that have upset the flow of my life.  Some would say this just IS life….the constant upsetting, twisting, lurching, occasional lull and then surprises once again.  I agree with this, but I think you know what I mean when you feel like your “nice little life” is turned upside down!  Even though crazy things are what make up our life, somewhere we feel like…..it’s the “normal” days that should comprise the most of it? I don’t know if this makes sense….but stick with me.

I’ve been challenged to look at joy in my life, and here is what I can say….for those of you reading who don’t know me well, in 2008 my dear friend gave her life trying to save another camper, and both died tragically over a large waterfall…a few months later, my grandma passed away after a 5 year fight against cancer…a few months after that, my dad had triple by-pass surgery following a motorcycle accident…and a few months after that, my mom was diagnosed with Leukemia…leading to this March, when she met Jesus at home in heaven.  That’s part of my backstory…I’m not telling you this so that you pity me, or on the flip say…she has no idea what kind of pain I’ve been through, I just want you to know that I can to some extent say with assurance that I can empathize with pain…and we can be connected through that. These trials are not the things that make me unique, nor does it for anyone else….but it is the way we respond to these situations that really define who we are, and what we are made of. ….so back to Joy….

“Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me; O LORD, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.” (Psalm 30:10-12)

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:12)

Joy to me, is the confidence I have in knowing that God, the eternal and all knowing, all powerful God will sustain me throughout whatever trials must be faced on this earth.  Having this trust in his unfailing mercy, brings me joy….understanding that though times can be tough, He is still faithful, He is still strong, He will sustain me and hold me up when I feel like falling.  This joy is freedom in Christ, knowing that when I cannot make it, He will continue the work that he began in me.  It is not something that I can do, or stir up, or make grow inside of me….it is something that God reminds me of at the right moment of need…He reminds me that I am not alone, and that there is hope for a future in Him and in that hope I can find joy because my present moment is not the end…it’s not final and God will be with me in every situation, at every moment….forever.

This to me, is how joy is seen.  It is in the reassurance of God’s unfailing love that I am able to relax in His arms and revel in joy despite the raging seas pounding against my soul.  His joy will give me strength.

“Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of his salvation for his Anointed one.” (Psalm 28:6-8)

Wait & Trust

Our faith has to be in the Lord, not in a desired outcome.

This can sometimes be a hard one for me to comprehend. Our faith has to be in the LORD, not in a desired OUTCOME.  Our faith cannot be in the thing we desire to gain, do or receive…our faith must be in the Lord himself: the Giver, the Teacher, the Ruler of our life.

I’m reading this book called “Sacred Waiting”….read it. In the second chapter, it talks about Abraham, and how throughout Abraham’s story, he was spoken to by God.  God spoke directly to Abraham, and told him to leave his home, that his barren wife would have a child, that he would be the father of many nations & then one day God told Abraham that he would have to sacrifice the promised son.  These are all difficult things to comprehend. How do you know when it’s the right time to leave home?  How long do you wait for a child?  How can you give up the dream you’ve held onto for years?  None of these things are easy, and none of these things should be done without God directing you. And if your faith is in the object of these questions….faith in your home, faith in your fertility, faith in a dream….then I believe our faith is misplaced.

When you drive a car, or wear a watch.  You trust that that machine will work.  Ultimately, you trust in the manufacturer of that machine. You trust that all the pieces were put together just right, even though you don’t understand how valves, cranks, levers or batteries work together, you understand that the manufacturer & designer knows, and that according to them, if you turn on the watch, or drive the car, it should work.  Your faith is in the creator, not really the car itself.  In the same way….like Abraham, who left his home without knowing where God was calling him, but just left in faith that God would direct, we should allow our faith to only focus on God & to watch for His direction.  To jump into the water & keep our eyes on Him….not sitting around waiting for Him to move, but moving & allowing him to direct our movements.   

We may not know where God is leading us, but we still should follow.  We may believe that He is guiding us one way, but He may direct us somewhere different. Yet if in the change of direction we are following Christ, then how will we go astray?

Forever Faithful

This weekend, a few things struck me hard…..here’s my experience….I’d love your feedback.

This weekend, I was out until about 3am Saturday morning, and while driving home, I saw what I believed to be two prostitutes only a few blocks from my home.  I physically felt my stomach drop.  It was like a pit in my stomach that shocked me so much!  I knew it was around, and that it is real….but somehow, I felt like my neighborhood wasn’t affected by that. Hm. Those of you who’ve asked me about what I feel God is challenging me to…..you know that there’s something there that keeps coming up in regard to reaching prostitutes….There’s a lot I’m not going to get into now, but if you’re curious, ask.  Anyway….I went home and prayed….until I fell asleep (which wasn’t long) but it lasted with me all the next day.

Two other comments struck me this week….they were said almost in passing…..and I don’t think anything was meant by them….but…..they’re still there, mulling over in my mind.  That’s all I can really say right now.

My question today I guess is this: I know that God is faithful, and that He will direct our paths….but when is it the time to stay still, or to move? When is it the time to jump and when is the time to ponder? If there is a deep seeded yearning…..and you act on it…can it sometimes be for your own motivation? And is that always a wrong motivation? I mean….you’re still doing something helpful, right?

Hosea was told to marry a prostitute. A Prostitute!  ….yet, through that, God showed his faithfulness to Israel.  By Hosea’s faithful example to a woman who continued to go elsewhere with her affection, God showed how even though we go elsewhere with our affiliations He is always faithful. Hosea jumped (married the woman) and then pondered and spoke…(he remained faithful to her, despite her own unfaithfulness). 

I’m kindof all over the board, I realize this…..but….I guess what I’m getting at, is I know God is faithful, and I want to be a faithful follower too….but how can we do that with the conflicts in our own mind, and the things that pop up, getting us to think off course….and yeah. I’m going to quit now before I REALLY start to ramble. I’d appreciate comments or thoughts! (write them on my blog though….I have about one more week before I can read anything on Facebook).