Monday, November 10, 2014

Dashing Things Against the Rocks

I was having a moment in the car today! I was parked, no danger involved, and I was having a phone conversation with Dean about a doctors appointment. The conversation turned into a rant about the recent plethora of doctor's appointments, tests, procedures, the fear and dread of being poked and prodded. In the midst of my rant I may have said a bad word. I stopped immediately and advised Dean, "It's okay that I said that I'm in the car". Not missing a beat he replied, "That's right, God can't hear you in the car!".

The good news here is that I am married to a man who never tries to make me feel guilty about my mistakes (or sins if you prefer the technical term). The BEST news is that God does in fact hear me in the car. Here's why I'm glad God hears it all, from Eugene Peterson:

"Embarrassed by the ugliness and fearful of the murderous, we commonly neither admit or pray our hate; we deny it and suppress it. But if it is not admitted it can quickly and easily metamorphose into the evil that provokes it; and if it is not prayed we have lost an essential insight and energy in doing battle with evil. "

In my conversation turned rant, I went from giving information, to complaining, to hating my circumstances. God saw it all. And later when I prayed this through with God, I was honest with Him about how I felt about the circumstances. He had already heard how I really felt (the bright red cocoon of the Fiat not withstanding), the BEST news is that God can handle my rant, my bad feelings, and my hate for my circumstances. And here's the thing that I forget all the time, and again Eugene Peterson says it better than I ever could:

"No matter how much we suffer, no matter our doubts, no matter how angry we get, no matter how many times we have asked in desperation or doubt, "How long?", prayer develops finally into praise...all prayer pursued far enough, becomes praise."

And today, I found it true again.  Complaints and anger at a situation became praise to God who has already secured eternity with Him for me. I will learn from these days whatever God desires to teach me.  Praise be to God!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Not Even One

"Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
 Who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness, 
That we might learn to fear you"
Psalm 130:3,4

At this particular time I have in my circle of friends many who are very ill. Some with cancer, one with diabetes, one recovery from a terrible car accident and others. I call upon God regularly to ask for healing for all I know who are suffering.

Recently, another person with an illness, came to my attention. Let's call her Amanda. Because of several disturbing encounters with Amanda I was struggling to pray for her in a sincere way. I quietly asked God to change my heart. Immediately (and it doesn't always happen this way) I believe God gave me a picture of Amanda's behaviors and failures and a realization that it was an outward depiction of my inner, hidden, secret sins; those of thought, attitude and motive. My carefully hidden sins are no less offensive to God. When exposed they are no less offensive even to me. I lacked compassion for Amanda because she hadn't been able to pull off the righteous facade. The vivid picture of my sins superimposed on Amanda's outward behavior broke my heart.

By giving me the picture of my own sin, I can have love and compassion for Amanda. And now I can confess my sins and call upon God for healing for Amanda and mercy for us all.

"No one is righteous-
not even one.
No one is truly wise;
no one is seeking god.
All have turned away;
all have become useless.
No one does good
 not a single one."
Romans 3:10-12 
(see Psalm 14 and 53)

Our hope is in Christ alone. With great rejoicing: "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6 (ESV)