Saturday, October 29, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
A number of my friends and family are walking through the darkness in their lives right now. As I've been thinking about them and praying for them, I've also been thinking about the three alternatives for walking through the dark. I believe that everyone has to face the darkness at times in their lives. But what we do in those times, our choices about how to respond make a huge difference in where we end up. So, here are a few quick thoughts on those three options:
1) There are those who deny the darkness, claim it doesn't exist, put on a happy face and believe that faith is just saying "God is good, all the time" as a way to run from the pain of dark times. They don't want to face doubts, to ask the hard questions, to allow their hearts to be broken by sorrow. Deep down, they fear their faith will be broken, too, if they allow any doubts or questions to surface. The only problem is that those who don't face the darkness, those who try to skirt around it, also skirt around God's efforts to help them grow deep with Him. They stick with their comfortable cliched faith, and that’s pretty much where they’ll stay.
2) There are those who God calls deeper, but in the face of the pain and darkness they turn away. They try to lessen the discomfort by turning to other things, distracting themselves to try to protect themselves … perfectly reasonable, except it results in a hardened heart, and they end up enduring the pain without gaining its rewards.
3) Then, there are those who God calls deeper, and they beat their fists bloody on His chest as they fight, struggle, doubt, hurt, wrestle, complain, cry out, accuse, rant, rave, rage, weep … these are the Jobs and Davids, the Habakkuks … they are the ones who say the wildest things, express their hearts with shocking honesty, they lay bare the wounds and face God will all the confusion, hurt, and doubt in their souls. But that’s the difference, they face Him. Always facing Him. And in time, they are changed forever. They glimpse the wonder, they put their hands over their mouths … they see God as they never could have before, and somehow they’re glad of it. And, when they say “God is good” it’s no longer a cliché, it’s a statement born out of the darkness, and it means something completely different than the same words spoken by those who have never come through that dark night. It’s a deep and profound thing. They have come through the darkness and discovered incredible light.
And that, I think, is the hope offered to all who walk in the dark. That’s why we keep fighting on even when we can't see … because there is no other way to get to that other side, there is no other way to come to that place where we’ll see Him as we never could have before.
So, for everyone who now finds themselves facing a time of darkness, hang on, hang in there, and keep facing Him through it all. There is light on the other side ... I promise, and so does He.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
including Small Town Christmas
Love Inspired Duet - November 2011
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Trouble. Amy swallowed. “I suppose that would be. . .practical.”
Holly’s ponytail flipped as she swivelled toward Amy while Ivy stared at her wide-eyed.
Ivy fell back to her seat. “If I wanted to tear it up, I would have done it.”
Amy nodded. “For Thanksgiving.” Blending learning with fun was good classroom planning.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I’m always in a hurry. I’m about as far from a procrastinator as you can can get, unless of course we’re talking about errands. But other than that, I’m on constant overdrive. Not because I’m terribly ambitious, but because I can’t let go of the reigns. I expect things to get done a certain way and in a certain period of time. When they don’t I hit panic mode. And I could rationalize it a million ways, but ultimately it comes down to lack of trust. It’s like I forget that God is bigger than His creation, which includes my tiny little role in it.
Which is why I love the Bible passage about Martha and Lazarus. Martha and I would have been great friends. Or at least a highly efficient team. Although I’m sure our anxious thoughts and frantic behaviors would have given us both a migraine.
In John chapter eleven, we are told that Martha’s brother is sick. And what did you do in first century Palestine when someone you loved fell ill? You sought out the Healer, of course. And I imagine if He was a close friend of the family, as Jesus was to Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, you’d expect a rather quick response. But what does Jesus do when he learns of Lazarus’ illness? He tarried, on purpose. Didn’t He love Lazarus? Verses five and six say He did: “So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, He stayed where He was for the next two days.”
When He finally arrives at Lazarus’ home in Bethany, it’s too late. Lazarus is dead. Martha is distraught, and even accusatory.
John 11:21 “Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would not have died.’”
Translation: God, You’re too late.
Lazarus had been dead for three days. Martha’s faith and hope had come and gone. She’d gone from fervent prayers to mourning.
Jesus’ response? I’m bigger than that, Martha.
John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life.”
And we know the rest of the story. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and God’s power was revealed. And I’m sure when it was done Martha could have kicked herself for her lack of faith. Just like I frequently kick myself for mine. But the account of Lazarus has a way of bringing me back to reality. The God that made me, that saved me, is bigger than anything I could face. And His timing is always perfect.
So what happens when God is late? Now that is a question without a logical answer, my friend. The more rational question would be, when is God late? And my response would be never, even if it appears things have regressed to the point of decay.
Find out more about Jennifer at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/