Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Facing the Hordes

All too often fear sneaks through an unlocked door and takes up residence where it can no longer be ignored.   Most often, it stands by my bedside, waiting for me to stir in the middle of the night.  And then, it pounces.  In the dark, it is hard to decipher what is only an illusory monster under my bed.  Those amazingly irrational fears cast the biggest shadows.  They are the hardest to eradicate because, like spiders, hit one and a hundred more take its place.  

There are those days when it feels like a multitude of barbaric warriors have you surrounded.  As Oswald Chambers once prayed, “I seem to be paralysed by my own littleness…”  At these times, we want to hide in the closet at the very moment we should be heading out the door.  But perhaps the awareness of our own littleness should be, instead, a cry out to God, an awareness of His enormity.  One afternoon this summer when I was wallowing in a moment of dismay and praying for help, outside the window I heard the voice of my little granddaughter singing on the porch, “My God is so BIG, so strong and so mighty, there is nothing my God cannot do.”  Literally, God spoke to me through the mouth of a babe.  To whom am I listening?  To fear?  To my own littleness?  Or to the Creator of the Universe?

This problem is nothing new.  Indeed, the Bible is FULL of what I call “God’s little pep talks.”  This morning, I read one of them.  God may not take me out of a battle or sticky situation, but He can still deliver me in its midst.  It is all in how you look at the TRUTH of the matter, not a perversion of it.  This summer I watched three girls, about ages 8 to 10, playing in a shallow creek.  All of a sudden, they started screaming at the top of their lungs “a SNAKE!!!” and took refuge on the top of a large flat rock until their father came to their rescue.   He reached down into the water and pulled out the problem.  The littlest turned to the girl who started screaming first and confronted her, “We were scared of a STICK?!?!”   God has a way of deflating those fears back to reality.  Take courage, my friend.  And know Who is with you.

Be strong and of good courage.

Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria

and all the horde that is with him,

for there is One greater with us than with him.

With him is an arm of flesh,

but with us is the LORD our God,

to help us and to fight our battles. 

                     2 Chronicles 32. 7-8 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There WILL Be A Glitch

A friend whose daughter is getting married this weekend asked me for advice in navigating the wedding ceremonies.  The best thing that I could tell her was to have fun and EXPECT something to go “not quite as planned.”  There is a level of insecurity and frustration in expecting everything to be perfect.  And there is a peace in knowing that we (as well as the people who are working the wedding) are imperfect.  SOMETHING will go awry.  In my oldest daughter’s wedding, the flowers arrived an hour late.  In the next family wedding, the groom’s tux was missing.  I attended a wedding in Memphis a couple of years ago where – after months upon months of planning the perfect summer wedding– the air conditioner at the church was not working on one of the hottest days of the year.  And, at the end of the day, in all three situations, the bride and groom were married, which when it comes down to it is the whole point of the day, glitch or not.  Some things ARE beyond your abilities.  When our girls were little and plans were spoiled by sickness or bad weather or other childhood calamities, I used to tell them, “There are some things in my control, and this is not one of them.”

And through all of the things in life when detours, speed bumps, and dead-ends happen, remember that the situation did not come as a surprise to God.  Because in God’s economy, there are no glitches.  There is a reason and a purpose, even if it is something we cannot see and even if it is only to remind us that –surprise!-- we are not in charge after all.  Last weekend, the battery in our eleven year old truck died.  We were inconveniently stuck for awhile at the farmer’s market, but hey, at least we weren’t stranded on a lonely section of Interstate somewhere in a rain storm in the middle of the night.  My husband went to get a new battery at Autozone since that was where he had one replaced before about eight years ago.  When the clerk went to check their records, it turns out that the full-replacement warranty had 18 days left on it.  Eighteen days.   That “glitch” in our Saturday morning plans turned out to be a blessing.

Biblical worldview is not just what you believe.  It is how you see life through God’s eyes.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,

but it is the purpose of the LORD

     that will be established.

                                  Proverbs 19.21