Part of the 30 day challenge series

*Edit* I had to do a little revision this morning.  Writing when my brain is calling for sleep is not a good idea, hehe.  Editor-in-Appa said my post sound like a mad ramble. ;]

This is a hard question.  Whatever comes to my mind, I keep thinking there must be something harder.  But the best answer I can think of right now is that it’s hard to maintain a childlike faith in an “adult” world.

Ian, right now you spend the most time with umma.  So whenever I introduce you to anything new — a new environment, a new food, a new person, etc. — you seem unsure at first.  But you keep looking to me.  You trust me.  So you adjust to the new environment, keeping me near, constantly looking to me to make sure everything will be okay.  You try the new food, watching my face.  You may cry with a new person, but if I am at ease with them or tell you it’s okay, you adjust.

You can go through unfamiliar and even scary things (for a baby at least) with trust, because I’m there with you.  You know me.

Sometimes faith in a kind and sovereign God will seem small and stupid and so out of place in the face of Trial, Oppression, Burden, Poverty, Anxiety, Sin, Helplessness, Cynicism, Depression, Brokenness, Death, and Loss.  You’ll want to throw it aside.  Or chuck it off a cliff to its death.

It will be a fight — tooth and nail and all you’ve got — to keep standing in childlike faith, to keep entrusting yourself to the One who is faithful.  Pastor Rod said in a sermon last year, “The Christian life is a constant fight against unbelief.”  It’s a battle we fight with the word of God.  This is what He says.  This is who He is.  This is what I’ll believe.

Just like a child trusts his umma or appa.  Even when things become unfamiliar or scary.  Because we know Him.


Thank You for my thorn.

October 18, 2013

We’ve been going through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book, Choosing Gratitude, in our new mom’s group at church.  The last chapter we read, “But Not without Sacrifice,” was especially bittersweet for me:

Scottish preacher George Matheson (1842-1906) began losing his eyesight in late adolescence for no apparent reason.  By age twenty he was totally blind, as a result of which his fiancee broke off their engagement.  He struggled for many long months with a broken heart, wrestling with unanswered questions.  The whole experience drove him nearly to despair and he was tempted to quit the ministry altogether.  Yet ultimately he came to the place where he could say, “My God, I have never thanked You for my thorn!  I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn.  Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns.” (p. 128)

Thank Him for my thorns?  Painful, bitter things!

But valuable — immeasurably so — when touched by His redeeming hands.

No needless suffering.

March 13, 2013

Her, wrestling in thought for some time.

Her, suddenly: Abba?

Her Father: Yes, child.

Her: You are sovereign … right?

Her Father: Yes, child.

Her: And You are kind … right?

Her Father: Yes, child.

Her, faltering: And You …

Her, wrestling again with her thoughts.

Her Father: Go ahead, child.  Ask Me.

Her, breaking: You won’t let him suffer needlessly?

Her Father, tenderly: No, dear child.  I won’t.

Her, sobbing: Okay.

Okay, Abba.

That’s all I needed to know.

Light after darkness.

March 2, 2013

Light after darkness, gain after loss,
Strength after weakness, crown after cross;
Sweet after bitter, hope after fears,
Home after wandering, praise after tears.

Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain,
Sight after mystery, peace after pain;
Joy after sorrow, calm after blast,
Rest after weariness, sweet rest at last.

Near after distant, gleam after gloom,
Love after loneliness, life after tomb;
After long agony, rapture of bliss,
Right was the pathway, leading to this.

(F.R. Havergal, 1826-1879)

Tonight, I was dragging my feet to gospel group.  I wanted to stay home, get some needed rest, read, journal.  But t minus 17 minutes, I dragged myself to the door, to my car, to the road.  And I’m so glad.

We spent time sharing tonight.  Initially, as people shared, my burden felt heavier and heavier.  Maybe I should’ve stayed home tonight.  I have enough going on in my own life.  We were a pretty discouraged, weary group going in.  Raw.  Many cares.  Heavy burdens.

But as the sharing continued, and as faint traces of faith and hope began to surface, I felt my vision widening.  And my heart with it.  Strangely, in shouldering their burdens with them and praying for them, my own became lighter.  Their burdens didn’t crush me, as I assumed they would.  Paradoxical.

And in praying they would remember God’s truths, I was reminded, too.  God’s grace given as the truths I repeat are the truths I desperately need to hear, too.  Gosh, I’d forgotten what that was like.  Somewhere, I slowly bought into the lie that my own little world was enough for me.  That my own mountainous burdens were broad enough for all my roamings.  Little did I see I was only justifying navel gazing.

Sometimes, I wonder what people see when they see groups like ours.  People pouring out their cares to one another.  Closing their eyes and talking to Someone.  Opening their eyes, sometimes a little more cheered, sometimes not.  But there’s a whole invisible kingdom pushing down roots and growing.  Unseen, yes, but sure.  One that is very much here.  In our hearts.  Where it counts.  Through the gospel.

As for our burdens, the reminder comes strongly tonight:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

The eternal weight of glory makes these crushing afflictions seem light and momentary.  That’s crazy, because sometimes I can’t imagine anything heavier than these afflictions.  But perhaps that speaks more to my weakness than to their heaviness.

Oh, to be crushed by the glory of our God, not by these light and momentary things.  But this is no ojalá.  One day, it’ll be just as He said.  And His invisible kingdom will be made visible.  We will see it with our eyes.

I can’t weight. :]

Read this a couple nights ago in my Google Reader.  Copied it by hand into my personal journal after.  Two excerpts from Chris Castaldo’s article, “Bearing Our Cross: How Does It Advance the Gospel?”

The cross instills brokenness and humility.  Despite its heaviness and rough texture, we bear it by faith, patiently waiting for “the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23-25).  And just when you expect to drop dead beneath its weight, God provides empowering grace.

I ask this question: How does this trial present opportunity for me to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ? Of course, every situation is full of such potential.  Our response to trials is what matters, seeing them not so much as hurdles which must be cleared but as catapults that propel the message of Christ forward. Suffering is cross-bearing when it serves the cross, when our strength is diminished and God’s power is made perfect. This is how the world sees the reality of Christ.

A sweet promise.

January 26, 2011

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
(From the hymn, How Firm a Foundation, by John Rippon. 1787.)