Friday, July 7, 2017

Even today

Even today, in what only appears as ordinary, or what looks like an impossible wall or harrowing abyss, even now, even here, God does not just suddenly show up. But we --the myopic people --slowly realize God does not just run ahead of us, His designs and purposes are already rooted and bearing fruit.  

God never works in singular outcomes. His faithfulness springs up from the very ground (Psalm 85. 11), even what is impenetrable to us.

Fifteen years ago, our family was in a tough spot. "We don't know what to do, but our eyes are on You." (2 Chronicles 20.12) became our daily cry. We were six months into praying, reaching the critical path of ceasing to seek the answer, but seeking God in it and seeking Him through it. 

A huge turning point came in an unusual way, which is almost always how God breaks through.  I had taken one of our girls back to college, attending a morning church service with her before I headed the five-plus hours back home.  James MacDonald was preaching on the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament.  He directed our attention not just to the plight of the Israelites, but to our own. God is at work, he said. "And when you get to the end of this, you will have a story of God's faithfulness."

I couldn't write down those words fast enough. His phrase engraved itself with a promise that God would bring us through.

Those words resounded in my heart all those many miles home. As soon as I arrived, deep in the night, I jotted down that quote on an index card and set it by the kitchen sink as a reminder through the day.

Early the next morning, our youngest daughter rushed past to grab a bite of breakfast before she caught the bus to school. She hesitated a moment to read what I had written down. "That's not true," she said, rather shocking me.

And then, she spoke words which carried me through the hard places I couldn't even see yet, words that God continues to remind me through all these many years:

"No, Mom, every day is a story of God's faithfulness."

God is not just delivering an answer, there is not just an outcome, but God is bringing me through the story of His incredible faithfulness. 

Every moment. Every day. Even in the unexpected. Even in this place.

Even for you.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

In the middle of the whatsoever

Perhaps you have awoken this morning after the Fourth of July to a hard task, in an impossible place, all rain, no shelter in sight.

What am I going to do?  Apply His Word, let it seep in.

I don't think I can do this. "Good, because I can," says the LORD.

I don't know what to do. "But I do," He reminds me.

"I am with you."  God's Word does not just comfort, but directs me into His purposes.

In His Word is how to walk through this miry bog, up this mountain, knee deep in mud, tangled by the thicket, bushwhacking in the wilderness where sometimes it feels like there is no air to breathe. There, in that very place, you will find the faithfulness of God, beyond all explaining away.  And as the old hymn says, in the bottom of the pit, I find my Savior there.

Despair only blocks out any available light.

Have no anxiety about anything,
but in everything
by prayer and supplication
      with thanksgiving,
let your requests
  be made known to God.
And the peace of God,
  which passes all understanding,
will keep your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren,
whatsoever is true,
whatsoever is honorable,
whatsoever is just,
whatsoever is pure,
whatsoever is lovely,
whatsoever is gracious,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything
           worthy of praise,
think about these things.

              Philippians 4. 6-8

Whatsoever is good,
even that little crumb,
      focus on that.
If there is anything to praise,
       seek it out.
God will bring you through.

An exit sign may not suddenly appear,
          but just the next step emerging,
another direction unfolding,
a strength in the staying.