Never stop waiting for God

Well how do I begin to tell you just how amazed I am each day that I am alive, at the miraculous & strange ways in which our God works?  Most days it’s mundane, some days slightly boring. But occasionally, and more often than I would admit to enjoy, I get an unusual & exciting adventure.  The last few days has been an occasion of that sort.

In the middle of a weekend night, I was startled with a call that my home had been broken into. Despite my prayers, my computer & external hard drives were stolen.  To some, this would merely mean a few lost papers, maybe some pictures or your running music.  To me….it was all the photos from my travels, the family pictures of my now lost mother, the memories of clients’ babies & vows. The horror devastated me.  It was ironic in the ways that I had been telling people how my neighborhood was “just fine,” and how I had just read about how in David’s painful or frightened waiting he found ways to praise God.

I sat stunned, lost, robbed & unsure of the future. The Lord reminded me to trust Him & not in the things I had lost. It was an understood message, one I “knew” but didn’t enjoy knowing.  But still, the praise was needed to Him…..so I thanked Him for keeping Lisa & I away from home that night because we were SAFE, I thanked Him for clean robbers because our home wasn’t TRASHED, I thanked Him for grace because my clients were FORGIVING. All these things to be thankful for. Yes, I was angry at what had been done, but thankful for God’s protection….I still had a home to sleep in.

My friends at church prayed for me. I’m sure many people did. For protection still, and also that something would turn up. Monday was the worst. It hit me that I would never see those photos again, that someone had been in my house, taken valuables from me, probably sold them, had probably watched me for a while & might be back. The Bible study I’m in helped to take away those thoughts that evening though…..through prayer & some late night fellowship I celebrated the people who surrounded me & the God who provided them.

Monday evening, my brother came back to my house so I did not have to be alone. He let me log-in online with his computer (since mine obviously was “out of service”). Trying to get online I realized that the thieves had also stolen my router. Dumb. I figured it out though, and went to Facebook to update some folks.  Right away, I saw that I had a friend request & an email from the same person who was unknown to me.  Opening the email, my disbelief was stretched.  A man told me that he had purchased a computer that weekend, and after he opened it up & looked around, he noticed that the “brand new” computer he bought was really some one else’s….mine. He had found my computer! But the best was yet to come–he wanted to GIVE IT BACK!

Wait….what? Give it back? No questions asked?  He said he understood what it felt like to have things taken, and that he wanted me to have it back.  Tonight….I sit here, writing this story, as I sit in front of my previously stolen computer.

The last few months, the ponderings of what God requires of us….of me….has been on my mind.  And this story cannot hide the fact that this is God’s love lived out in action.  This guy, innocently bought a computer, discovered there was something wrong and gave it back, without expecting anything in return, trusting God that this is what He would require of him. I think this is SUCH an awesome example.  Trusting in God, waiting on Him to provide, to protect, to restore & to renew a hope in His awesome love.

My life never ceases to amaze me….and neither does my God.

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?

Hands that shaped the world

This weekend, God knew that I needed to hear from Him. Softly though, I needed Him. As I left my house, I was surrounded by piles of raked leaves….evidence that I did yard work last fall…and did not complete it before winter. The thought that I needed someone to tell me DO THIS was in my mind….if only someone could come along & help me to actually DO something, I might actually complete this work at last.  I arrived at church and I sat still & silent, waiting to see how God would speak.  For some reason too, I wanted to see a particular friend. I didn’t know why, but the desire was there to see her.

This is how He softly came. As I turned to leave the sanctuary, I stopped to say hello to a friend.  Over her shoulder, I looked & saw tightly wound curls….my friend, who I wanted to see so badly, was at my church (not her church) and was walking towards me. How could she know that that particular Sunday she would be such a blessing to sore, aching eyes. As we spoke and laughed, another lady approached me saying “I know how hard it can be to do housework if you don’t have someone there to motivate you to just do it.” I was totally blown away & amazed. She told me to call her and that she would help. I loved that Sunday.

Last night, as I drove across the city, my radio loud, a song came across that meant so much to me in that place.  There is such simplistic truth here, so as much as I would try to describe it, I will allow the words to speak for themselves. Below are the lyrics, and a YouTube link so you can hear it as well.

I have unanswered prayers, I have trouble I wish wasn’t there, And I have asked a thousand ways, That You would take my pain away, That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand, How to walk this weary land, Make straight the paths that crookedly lie, Oh Lord, before these feet of mine, Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking, Heaven stands, When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth, You healed the broken, lost, and hurt, I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right, Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking, Heaven stands, When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your hands

Your hands, Your hands that shape the world, Are holding me, they hold me still, Your hands that shape the world, Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking, Heaven stands, When my heart is breaking, I never leave You when…

When my world is shaking, Heaven stands, When my heart is breaking, I never leave…I never leave Your hands.

Moving Mountains

Once in a while, you’ll get a glimpse of something spectacular….of something new & unrealized, something fresh & intriguing.  Sometimes those glimpses will come from the most unlikely places.

I watched this little girl with her father in the park.  They were lying there, looking at the city, through the trees…she laid there in the grass quickly switching her hand to cover one eye, then the next, then the first eye again. She laughed with delight at she told her father “I can make the whole city move! It looks like the buildings are dancing!” Back & forth she would look once more as the city was moved from the east to the west and back again.  Her dad looked over to her and simply replied “It all has to do with perspective.”

And at that moment I thought about the passage that says “…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) I thought about how faith has to do a lot with your perspective…..your perspective of God and of how much you can trust him.  It has to do with what you think God can do. Even how you think God can work through a seemingly difficult situation.  Do we really trust that God will use us no matter where we go? Do we really think He could bring good out of war? Do I really believe God will use Leukemia to touch people? It all has to do with perspective.

It’s not physically moving a mountain from here to there, it’s seeing the mountain the way God might see it. As an opportunity to overcome, rather than an obstacle that can defeat you. A mountain for us might be a hard work environment, or an impossible dream, or an un-lovable neighbor. We are all capable of moving mountains, simply by having a perspective other than our own….a perspective rather, that comes from Christ. We can see the un-lovable neighbor as a hurting soul that could really use a glimpse of kindness. We can see that our impossible dream is no longer impossible if we start from another angle. We can see that a hard work environment can be an opportunity to show a heavenly amount of patience & grace.

Makes sense to me that we are moving mountains every day….if only we have faith to see through God’s perspective…from east to west, here to there, from mind to heart…it’s possible.

Miracle Worker

The sky today seems teary eyed…welling up with tears that may never come. My tears are the same some days….they are there, but do not break free from the comfort within my eyes.  Tears can be hot with anger, cold with grief, salty with sadness, or refreshing with joy. ….and the ones that come today are the kind that fill emptiness with gratefulness.

Last week, there was fear….this week God came near. My mom was in the hospital, waiting for another result to come back…and was expecting the now normal response of “it didn’t work….we’ll try again.” Needless to say this is a frustrating & often crushing blow that sets my whole family back into questioning what will be next. The doctors were not pleased, and told my mom this. Why, I don’t know…but they were predicting, and wanted to prepare her for what was inevitable. Anyway, the doctor came into the room last Monday (the morning after 40 of us had prayed & cried out to God for her healing), and said “This is unexplainable….but your blast numbers are down to 3%….this shouldn’t have happened according to your last results…..I don’t understand it. We’ll be sending it back to Mayo to double check.” We all felt that we had witnessed a miracle….3% blasts means she’s technically in remission! And after the double-check, the numbers were proved correct. What a praise!  The prayer now, is that the 3% blasts stays there, and her white blood count will climb to normal levels….join us in this prayer, please!

The week before, there was also an unexplainable incident. Because of the seemingly constant hospital stays that my mom has endured, my dad has also had to endure phone calls from hospitals & such, to pay the overwhelming six-digit bills that keep coming. His responsibility had added up to about $47,000.  He also had received another phone message, telling him to call the hospital about that bill, right away. Well, he started to pray & cry out to God. There is no way that our family will be able to pay this amount, and we need help to make this happen. It’s enough to worry about your mother/wife in the hospital, without having to wonder where the money will come from to keep her in good health. So after an evening of sleeping & praying through his concern, he somewhat hesitatingly called the hospital. When the man answered the phone & confirmed the amount owed, the man then simply stated “Okay, we just took care of that.”

Yep. All $47,000…..done, paid for, wiped off the tab.

All I can say, is that God is definitely a miracle worker. I’ve seen it this week, and I’ve seen it all through my life. The miracles don’t come every time we want them, or when we would expect them….they come in His good timing, in his pleasure, to give us pleasure, and to show us His power & glory. He is Good. Very good. Just thought I’d share.