Monthly Archives: May 2013

Inspired: The Life Secret God Tells You In Advance – One Life Part I

I get these daily emails from a site I stumbled on a week ago…total God-moment that I’ll share at some point down the road – happy reading!

 

The Life Secret God Tells You In Advance – One Life Part I

This is the first in a series we are calling “One Life,” where we discuss the urgency that comes from having only one life to live. It provides insight on how God teaches us to live life better and to number our days by living spiritually not carnally. We will explore three ways God teaches us how to live this one life with better priorities. This article talks about the first way that God teaches us to live better lives — He simply tells us in advance.

 

All of us have heard this expression: “You only live once!”

Usually, we use this phrase to convince ourselves to do something that is a little out of the box, or to seize the moment, or to take advantage of an experience that we might not otherwise have if we don’t do it now. There’s this sort of compressed urgency that we only have one life to live, and it’s not a soap opera. When you have that inkling and you take advantage of it, usually there is a reward on the other end and you’re glad that you did it.

A lot of times, we don’t choose to seize opportunities that are in front of us.  To live more meaningfully, to live better lives, we have to get shocked into it.

That’s what happened to me when I was 27 years old. At the time, I was the clinical pastor on rotation at Western Medical Center’s cancer unit in Santa Ana, California.  That’s the year when God gave me glasses — my “One Life” glasses. The way He did this was by having me meet with men, women and couples who were diagnosed with cancer. I tell you, if you want to get shocked into living a better life, spend two hours a week talking with cancer patients.

What I learned was that trauma dissolves the trivial. Pain has a way of producing clarity of vision — not physical vision — but life vision.

Miraculously, God gives cancer patients “One Life” glasses too. They savor the moment.  They realize the beauty of life. They glorify the majesty of life. They appreciate their relationships. They embrace reconciliation and forgiveness. They elevate the spiritual. They use words more carefully.

When God gave me these “One Life” glasses — he stopped me in my tracks. Instead of focusing on the peripheral things in life, many of them great, He moved me towards the central things in life.

What are the central things in life?

What bubbled into focus was how precious our one life is. You see, getting a cancer diagnosis — or any kind of life threatening illness — changes people’s perspective. It creates urgency. Urgency creates new priorities. New priorities create new investments of time. Serious illnesses teach us to number our days. When I was on the 7th floor of Western Medical Center, I watched cancer patients get real smart real fast about the important things in life. They get smart about relationships. They get smart about priorities. They get smart about the investment of their time. They get smart about their money. They get smart about planning.

For the followers of Christ, or even if you’re not, the Bible encourages us to not use hindsight and trauma as a means to get us to live better. In fact, God’s word encourages us to use foresight to be proactive, emphasizing the right priorities now.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  The Psalmist teaches us to live life more urgently. Psalm 90:12

How does God teach us how to live with better priorities, to live better and to number our days?

God teaches us to number our days and live a better life in three ways. The first way is that he simply tells us in advance. God tells us in advance that He owns the future. That God’s will is what’s going to get done. That we can’t presume anything. God is the architect of this universe. He owns it.

We can’t predict ANYTHING with reasonable certainty. I think we learn that. We learn it through natural disasters. We learn it through collapsing economies. We learn it through foreclosures. We learn it through just circumstances where God sort of reminds us of this truth and tells us in advance and gives us the most notice and says: “Hey, don’t presume upon the future. Seek the Lord’s will. Be flexible and do the Lord’s will, and don’t anticipate or expect things to roll out.”

In James 4, verses 13 to 17, God tells us in advance how we should look at life:

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city,
spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’

As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes.
All such boasting is evil.
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

 

So God tells us in advance. You can’t presume the future.

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If you’d like to read more, please go here.

what it means to wait

Waiting rooms. Blank white walls. Cold. It could be raining outside and you wouldn’t even know. No windows. No fresh air. Can’t breathe.

Rush-hour traffic.

Grocery store check-out lines.

A land where time seemingly comes to a stand-still.

You’re waiting…

for the sermon to end.

for some sign.

some movement from the other side.

some action.

some affirmation that everything will be okay.

Some days are a struggle.

Other days are a pain.

And still, others, you’re constantly looking for that other shoe to drop or for that wall to come crumbling down…finally. And it terrifies you to no end.

Waiting.

Life on hold …for the time being.

Some of you may be there.

I’ve been there.

The 11-year-old who didn’t have a clue; a young girl thinking she wouldn’t live to see tomorrow. The 13-year-old struggling to find her niche in the social ladder at school. The teenager searching for her identity and refusing to believe the lie that she didn’t matter. The college freshman questioning tomorrow. The young woman worrying over her financial situation.

I’ve been there.

I am there.

Life on hold…

Time crawls so slowly that it seems eternity could pass in any number of minutes.

No one likes it.

waiting1One of the most important actions commanded in the Bible is the call to wait on God. Even though God promises special blessings to those who wait, waiting is one of the most difficult actions to carry out.

No kidding.

Waiting is not just something we have to do in getting what we want. Waiting is the process of becoming what God wants us to be. What God does in us while we wait is as important as what it is we are waiting for.

Which poses the question: why is waiting so hard?

As part of a fallen humanity, we are so used to taking matters into our own hands, to following our own schemes, to making our own plans and showing God the blueprints we’ve drawn up for our lives…mapped out the way we would like them to go. “I’ve got this. I can do it so much better,” we think. In reality…our plans pale in comparison to what God has in mind and wants for us…to our benefit. What a blessing!

And yet, we can’t wait. Our culture screams its “I want it now!” slogan. We have media access at our fingertips. We can heat up food with the simple push of a button. We can change the channel without having to get up off the couch.

Personally, I hate not knowing. Being a type-A personality, incredibly independent and a control freak (I’m achingly aware of how much this is true), I thrive on having a plan.

Every. Day.

God has constantly thrown most of my mini-plans out the window and brought something bigger, something better, into each of my days…something I didn’t even consider during my original planning process…why? I can’t see the bigger picture most of the time. God does and He wants that for me. I’m constantly looking for things that I need to do…things that I think He wants me to do. And I’ve discovered that, while those things are important and not necessarily sins in and of themselves – they become so when they start to control you; when they become all that you are about – that God wants this moment for me. He wants me to wait; to catch glimpses of Him while I’m stuck in this hallway.

hallway

And during that period, we are to follow His movements; to “live and move and have our being in Him (Acts 17.28).”

I’m reminded of many stories within the pages of the Bible where God requires both men and women to wait. Noah had to wait 120 years while building the ark before the word of God would be fulfilled (sending of the flood). Abraham had to wait until old age before his wife Sarah gave him a son, Isaac. The Israelites had to wait hundreds of years to be delivered from the land of Egypt and spent the next forty (plus) years in the desert – more on that later. Ruth had to wait patiently for the Lord to provide Boaz to marry her. David had to wait until after Saul had died to be placed as king over Israel. The woman who had been bleeding for twelve years had to wait to be healed by touching Jesus’ garment. Jesus had to be born, grow, and wait until the age of 30 before He could start His earthly ministry and fulfill the predetermined plan of God.

Today, I want to focus on the following passage in scripture where the Israelites needed to rely on God’s movement while they were waiting for their promised land:

On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses. Numbers 9.15-23 

A pillar of cloud by day.

A pillar of fire by night.

Leading

Both versions of that pillar guided and protected the Israelites as they traveled across the desert. Some have said that this pillar may have simply been a burning bowl of pitch; fire you can’t see during the day…only at night. But a bowl of pitch cannot move on its own. The Bible is clear that the cloud and fire moved in accordance with the will of God. The cloud and the fire were not merely natural phenomena; they were symbols of God’s presence and the visible evidence of His moving and directing His people.

The Israelites traveled and camped as God guided. God was teaching them how to follow Him. He was teaching them what it meant to wait. They moved when He moved. They stayed when and where He stayed. Their lives and activities were fully submitted to God’s leading.

He does that in our own lives…today…thousands of years after He led the Israelites through that desert after they left Egypt. They didn’t know where they were going. God only knows if they actually had maps back then. But the same applies to our lives now, even though we’re definitely not in or from the same era.

Life doesn’t come with a map. We have a guidebook (the Bible) on how to live, yes, but life does not come with a map. No two lives are the same. Sure, we all share the same struggles and yet, how we respond or react to those situations is different for each one of us. We’ve dealt with different sins, trials and circumstances. God leads each of us in different ways. What worked for you may not work for your coworker or friend who is going through something similar. But, in having faced it, we can help carry one another’s burdens and in doing so, lift each other up during those waiting periods.

You may be finding yourself in any of these situations:

  • Maybe you are in a job situation that’s really tough to endure and you are waiting and hoping that conditions will change for the better.
  • Maybe you are without a job and waiting for news on an application.
  • Maybe you are struggling financially and are waiting on that raise or another job to come up through the pipeline.
  • Maybe you are ill and are waiting for your health to improve.
  • Maybe you are on a diet and waiting for the number on the scale to finally go down.
  • Maybe you are a single person waiting on God to answer your desire for a life-partner/mate.
  • Maybe you’re waiting for a dear family member or a friend to become interested in spiritual things.

I recently found myself in such a place.

A stand-still, it would seem …some days anyway.

I’m learning that here, in this hallway, what it means to really rely on God, on Jesus, as my Source of strength to get me through the day. If I pick up what I left at His feet in a moment of surrender days/weeks ago, things fall apart. I start over-thinking; over-thinking leads to trying to read between the lines of the situation at hand; reading between the lines creates a problem that wasn’t there to begin with; that problem leads to worry; worry leads to asking questions that don’t need to be asked (if ever); those questions lead to frustration, which is followed by a fit of tears and this all leads me back to square one: where I started at surrender. A vicious cycle, if I let it and only I can stop it…not by my strength alone, but by His (Philippians 3:14). I’m learning that the energy I waste going through that cycle is pointless. I’m learning that I need to wait; to trust in His goodness and in His timing. And that during that time, I can turn my energies and emotions, my heart, to the things that matter – to volunteering, to spending time in the Word and in prayer…ultimately spending time with Jesus…my Source of Calm…my Identity. I’m learning to live and move and have my being in Him.

Fact: Even with our modern age “get-it-now” abilities and attitude and our dislike for waiting, life is full of it. And in spite of our dislike of it, waiting is vital to the very lives we live.

Waiting forces us to ask questions:

What does it mean to wait? What’s involved in this waiting? Waiting means that we look forward in confident expectation that God will work out the details of the situation for our benefit. It means that we lean on the knowledge and wisdom He’s made available to us in His Word and by His Spirit. It means we learn to trust that He is ultimately good. It involves both the negatives and the positives. It involves seeking out God in the midst of the trial. It means taking action at the right time; waiting on His timing. This does not necessarily mean that saying that “someday” you’ll come around to acting on it or waiting for that “nudge” or “sign.” We have a tendency to wait for a sign that soemtimes never comes. There are moments in life that God gives us the ability to move ourselves, trusting that the choice we make will be the right one.  It means that when it comes time to act, we take the right step in that action.

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27.13-14

How are we to wait? Patiently. We are to be “still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46.10). We are to give God the benefit of the doubt that He knows what He is doing. It requires patient trust.

Wait for the LORD;
Be strong, and let your heart take
courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27.14

Who and what are we waiting for? Primarily: God. The specifics depend on your own situation(s).

Why should we wait? – Because of who God is and what only He is able to do; it reminds us that He is in control. Because of who we are and what we are not able to do; it reminds us that we are not in charge; that we are not God. Waiting enables us to sustain through trials and satisfies that eternal longing in our souls. Waiting allows God to do His work. Waiting strengthens us in our weakness and builds our character. It lifts us up and brings an awareness of the need for worship into our lives. It encourages others and lifts them up in their own weakness.  

How long do we wait? However long it takes…whether that’s a week, a month or a year. We wait.

Waiting is a virtue. Its durability is directly related to its object of faith. Waiting is an act of faith. Not being patient enough to wait shows a lack of faith on our part. This is one truth I’m so achingly aware of right now.

God has a plan and a purpose and they are worked out in individual lives, in history, and in time. We have to simply wait for God to provide for our needs, healings, and hopes. We must learn to be patient and not give up hope. God is patient and He has a plan in your life and how it directly correlates to the lives of others.

Direction from God is not just for your next big move. He has a purpose in placing you where you are at right now. When you follow God’s guidance, you know you are where God wants you, whether you’re moving or staying in one place. Wherever you are right now, instead of praying, “God, what do you want me to do next?” ask, “God, what do you want for me while I’m right here?”  Learn to live and move and have your being in Him; to rest as He does. Learn to listen to His voice. What does He want for you while you’re in the hallway?

“Faith in God includes faith in His timing.” – Neal A. Maxwell

a sense of what’s important

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.

Psalm 39.4-5

I chewed on that. Ever breathed on a window during a cold winter’s day? Did you notice how it fogged up, and then the fog instantly disappeared? That is what the psalmist David is saying the life of man is like. Here for a brief moment, then gone. Why would David ask God to show him the shortness of his life? David knew that when a man grasps how short his life is, he begins to live with a new sense of what’s truly important.

Excerpted from The Real Win by Colt McCoy and Matt Carter

Daily Reflection: Look up the word “unction” in your dictionary. How can you focus on what’s truly important in life?

Book Review: Secrets – we all have them

Secrets by Robin Jones Gunnsecrets-robin-jones-gunn-paperback-cover-art

…one novel in the Glenbrooke series. This is the only book I’ve read by this author and was quite an easy read, plus…I couldn’t put the book down and read it in about four hours. Jessica, the protagonist, is running from something in her past and has moved to Glenbrooke, Oregon to start over. When she first arrives, she’s involved in a car accident and meets Kyle, every girl’s dream guy. She has no money, goes without food for days and, in coming up with a new identity, she starts her life over. “Secrets” follows her journey to finding herself and finding God.

I really enjoyed the start of this series. The characters are great and easily relatable; the romance is sweet and yet still, adult. There is not sexual content, but the attraction of the two parties involved is still an important part of the story. And the portrayal of Christ in this novel isn’t pushy. It’s about the personal choice a person makes to follow Him.

Overall, this was a great read and I would recommend this to readers from middle school age to adult who enjoy Christian romance/fiction books.

**This book was obtained by WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

Proverbs17.9

footprints

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3.23

You’ve heard the short story. You probably had it read to you as a child orfootprints maybe you stumbled on it as a young adult. Christian bookstore shelves often display it in the form of journals, plaques, jewelry, book covers…you name it.

It was then that I carried you…

But, those are not the type of footprints I’m talking about.

I’m talking about “impact”

…about touching lives…

…about sharing our hearts, our very lives with those around us, just as Jesus did…

…about the legacy God equips each of us to leave for His glory.

IMPACT (noun/verb): the striking of one thing against another; influence; effect; alter

Many things, events and people can impact our lives on a day-to-day basis. They affect our daily decisions, how we think, how we feel, how we act, etc.

Stubbing your toe on the corner of the queen-sized bed in the middle of the night, the guy in the beat up Pontiac who cut you off and failed to use his blinker on your way to work this morning, the letter or phone call from an ex (friend, spouse, significant other, etc.) regarding some  “thing” that needs to be addressed in the most inconvenient way possible, or that nagging term paper that’s due, oh, tomorrow…all of these can have a negative impact on your entire day.

Just look at this poor panda (had to include this):

Panda

According to the meme at the bottom of the photo, one can only assume the kind of day he will have.

Everything we experience can have a profound affect (negative or positive) on our lives. Every little thing.

Impact…

Let me take you beyond the mundane for a moment and look at something larger; something that actually matters.

Have you ever had a positive impact or influence on another person’s life (that you’re aware of at least)?

“Yes” and “No” are both valid answers here.

Personally, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing this very few times in my 28 year existence. Several individuals took the time to tell me that God used me in some way, shape or form in leaving a lasting impact on their lives and in doing so, they impacted mine…soothing my soul with words of affirmation and making my heart smile. Mind if I share a few with you?

  • The young woman, my age (19 at the time), who spent the majority of our mission trip intimidated by me…but by the end of our summer, told me that God had impacted her life through mine as she watched how I lived out each day.
  • The woman I spent days working with behind a jewelers’ counter. I still wear the ring she made me to remind me of how God had turned her life around.
  • The young man who goes by “Red.” I’ll never forget him…just going there brings a smile to my face.
  • The college roommate I lived with for three years.
  • Past and current co-workers; past managers.
  • Some of my best friends…they go out of their way often to lift me up with those words of encouragement and I appreciate and am thankful for them all very much.
  • The quiet, intriguing man who, after spending hours on a roadtrip with me, made a statement that gapped the silence in that moment and still echoes within the corners of my mind.
  • My mom.
  • My younger siblings.

These are just a few that come to my mind in thinking about this topic. I may never know the level of impact my life has had on others.

Flavia Weedn captured this affect perfectly when she said:

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. [Others] stay for a while and leave footprints…and we are never, ever the same.

There is something to be said about journeying with another individual for a season or more, however long God calls you to do so. For that moment, for that amount of time, your life touches another’s, and vice versa, and we are never the same after. We grow. We bend. We break. We grow more. We probably pick up on a few tendencies of that person. We become more and more like those we spend time with. Did you know that? And that, my friends, can be either a good or a bad thing.

So…how does one become the type of person who leaves an impact?

Honestly, we all leave one…good and/or bad.

Personally, I’d blame the parents but…kidding, Mom (I know you read these). They do play a rather large role in who you become. Believe it. Children don’t go by what a parent says…they live the way the parent does. They go by what they see. Profound, I know, but very, very true. If a person says they’ll do something, they’d better have the character and integrity to live it out. Words are not enough in and of themselves.

But primarily, I point to the relationship I have with Jesus. It’s through Scripture, through prayer, through constantly spending time with Him and others who live the same way and believe that He is God and that He is ultimately good. It’s through being fed through your own personal reading of the Bible each day and through regular attendance at church and group study and it even happens when you pour out what you’ve been given or learned into the lives of those around you.

Studies have shown that those who listen to or read Scripture regularly (more than once a week) are less likely to engage in what many have deemed some of the worst sins: pornography, gambling, excessive drinking, drugs, etc. These people are more active in their communities, lead a Bible study or actively share their faith with and disciple others.

Getting into God’s Word and letting it get into us is essential. Amazing things can and have happened and life can be had to the full. (John 10.10)

My church here in Minneapolis just started a serious called “Heroes of Faith” and they touched on the story of Naomi and Ruth. We discussed this week at Bible study the impact that Naomi had on Ruth.

A little background: Naomi was living in a time of famine. She had relocated to Moab with her husband in search of a better life. It was in Moab where she lost everything: her husband and eventually her two sons. She also had a relationship with God. She knew Him. She trusted Him. She blamed Him. She had briefly lost faith, but had no idea that her ray of hope would manifest through her relationship and love for Ruth, her daughter-in-law…who was also now a widow.

Naomi had made the decision to return to her home in Bethlehem and gave her daughter-in-laws a way out; to return home to Moab and start over. But Ruth, precious Ruth…she clung to Naomi instead:

“Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” Ruth 1.16-18

Ruth was faithful to Naomi. Naomi was faithful to God. In turn, Ruth eventually became faithful to both Naomi and to God. And if you take the time to really look at the story and ask the question why Ruth was so faithful…

Well, it was because of Naomi’s character and her Covering: God. Ruth was drawn to the way that Naomi lived her life – according to Godly standards. Naomi was selfless and was quick to consider the needs of others. Naomi allowed Ruth to see and feel the joy and anguish in her relationship with God. It was that relationship that was at the core of Naomi and Ruth’s relationship.

Can you think of someone that you admire that much? Someone who has a true relationship with God and is concerned about helping others to reach their best potential? Someone who considers the needs of others and not just their own?

“Love one another as I have loved you.” –Jesus

John 13.34

I’ve discovered that I don’t have to go out of my way (although sometimes I’m called to) to find ways to love another person the way Christ loves me; they way He loves us all. I simply have to choose to love those God has placed in my life right now. That could be my neighbor across the hall who’s struggling with finding a job. It could be the man sleeping on the bus stop bench that I see on my way to work in the morning. It could be my coworker, someone I’ve known for a long time, who just lost his sister. Anyone.

It’s a choice. A choice to care; to show compassion; to be kind; to help in any way I can. A choice to love. I just have be ready to serve and be willing to let others see Jesus live through me. In doing that…God uses me as a vessel to impact my world, which He’s given me.

It’s not me. It’s all Him. I’m simply choosing to let Him to use me in that way and trusting that He will come through.

Has your life been impacted by another’s? Take the time to tell them, to thank them and do it soon, if not today.

I’ve often visualized it as the ripple effect.  You’ve seen how water ripples and moves until it hits something (a solid object or another ripple); how it stops and turns direction or molds itself to another. Amazing, isn’t it?

That’s exactly what happens when our lives cross paths and intertwine for however long God allows, whether it’s a few hours to a lifetime. Ebb and flow. Give and take.

Do you know of the lives you’ve personally impacted? Side hint: if you’re a parent you do. If you’re a teacher, you do. If you’re a manager, you do. If you work with people; you do.

And fortunately, we will never know the full extent of the impact we’ve had on the lives of those who come and go or stay in each of our lives, until we are standing before God.

Make the choice. Seek. Go. Serve.

Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. Proverbs 18.24

everything falls

Held (verb):

To grasp something: to take something firmly and retain it in the hand or arms.

To lift and support something.

From the time I was a child, I’ve been held.

I was four when I first felt Him move, stirring desires with my young heart, for the first time. I recall the temporary, fleeting feeling and can only term it a “Spirit wind”. A gentle whisper. That’s what it felt like… Inhale. Exhale slowly. Feel that? That’s kind of what it felt like, but it was much deeper; a stirring of the soul. It may have been brief, but I know in that moment, I was loved in a way I would never fully comprehend…a love I would never experience in any earthly relationship I was bound to have. In that moment, I was simply held.

I barely remember the gentle whisper touching my soul through Sunday school classes at the church I grew up in. As a young girl, I enjoyed the felt board story displays (remember those?) and I remember being captivated by the stories the teacher taught from the Bible. Although my childlike mind couldn’t comprehend the grandeur of God’s plan interwoven within the fabric of the Bible, I loved those stories. During those days, I was simply held.

The older I got, the more I stood out. Oh, how I wanted to fit in; to belong to one group…something. All through grade, middle and high school, I struggled with that concept. I’ve since learned that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I was simply set apart for something bigger than I could have ever imagined. During those times, I was simply…held.

Held

when I struggled through a life-threatening illness, thinking I wasn’t going to make it.

Held

when I thought my parents were going to split over a difference of opinion and family image when it came to what school we would attend the rest of our pre-college academic careers.

Held

when I didn’t make the varsity volleyball team my sophomore year of high school.

Held

when promises were broken.

Held

when relationships ceased to work.

Held

when life seems unfair.

I’m sure you’re getting the picture. Now, this may be difficult to imagine for those in my male audience (after all, we all relate to God differently and in our ways), but do me (and yourself) a favor. Simply think about it. Relate, for a moment, if you will.

Life definitely has its ups and downs. I may come across as the type who has it together, 24/7, 365 days a year. But can I tell you a secret? I don’t. I do not always have it on. Most of the time, it would seem, yes, but definitely not always.

I’ve recently discovered that, as is the same with life, relationships also have their highs and lows. God, somehow, by His grace and goodness, brought a wonderful man into my life; a man I would like to call a great friend. And, as with any new relationship, we’re feeling things out, getting to know one another, deciding what it is we’re feeling, what we want, (etc.) and ultimately, what does God want in this? What does He want for us?

It’s hard to think about and it’s equally hard to be patient during this waiting period when one doesn’t know what’s around the next bend on the pathway of life. I’ll be honest in that I’m struggling on a level I’ve never hit  or been on before. This is new. It’s all new. And it’s terrifying, but in a good, and hopefully, healthy way.

One of my friends texted me some scripture from the book of Psalms that they had prayed over my life this morning and I’m humbled. Primarily that in such close-knit relationships, praying for one another is a regular and common thing. Secondly, that he would think of me at all. I don’t deserve it…God knows I don’t, but He offers that mercy; that kindness anyway. Freely.  And, in that moment, I was simply held. Loved. I have been all day.

I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. Psalm 63.8

I don’t know how long it will be before a break comes, or when the sun will rise easing me out of this twilight, or if spring will finally bloom after this brief period of winter. It could be tomorrow. It could be six months from now. It could even be a year from now.

Until then, I’m going to rest in the fact that God has me in the palm of His mighty right hand.

When my world gets dark,

when life isn’t as it seems,

when everything falls apart…

He’s holding me, just as He always has, and that is what keeps me together.

So, let me ask you this: What does that look in your own life? In looking back over your own past struggles, where was God? He may have felt near or far, but He stands where He’s always been: within you; right next to you, holding you in the palm of His mighty right hand.

the bible