"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34 NIV

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Fear of the End

      No one wants to talk about it. No one wants to think much about it. Most are in denial that it will even happen, but it is a certainty no one can escape. I am face to face with it every week where I work.


     Life here is not meant to be permanent. One day I will die. So, too, will every person I hold dear around me.

     It is sad. Or, is it?  Perhaps a shift in perspective is needed. What if death is more of a gift than an event to run from? What if instead of worrying about it, I spend my time preparing for it? 
      Erwin Lutzer's perspective in the book, One Minute After You Die, is rare in today's culture. He remarks, "God prevented Adam and Eve from eternal sinfulness by giving them the gift of death, the ability to exit this life and arrive safely in the wondrous life to come. Death, though it would appear to be man's greatest enemy, would in the end, prove to be his greatest friend. Only through death can we go to God." 

     How else could I see my savior's face? How else could suffering and tears be erased forever? I do not think the alternative, living here forever, seems inviting. I know there is more beauty, more goodness than I can behold here on earth. I hunger for the day all is put right.

     For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
     “As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
     ‘every knee will bow before me;
      every tongue will acknowledge God."

       So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 
     (Romans 14:10b - 12 NIV)
     If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you'll lose it, 
     but if you let that life go, you'll get life on God's terms.
     (Luke 17:33 MSG)

     Instead of dreading my own death and worrying that something will happen to those around me (which it will eventually), I choose to make the most of the time that I have. I will purposefully weave love out of this one little thread of a life that I have been given.

     And what of the uncertainties, the seemingly unfairness of some who exit before I expected them to? I remind myself that I do not have the whole picture, the perfect perspective from my vantage point on earth. As Ann Voskamp says in One Thousand Gifts, "Maybe (I) don't want to change the story, because (I) don't know what a different ending holds."

     My story will have an ending. It will be a glorious one. I pray my life will be a page-turner, full of enough adventure and sacrifice that those who observe the plot will be drawn in and forever changed.

     God, I am so excited to see you face to face one day.  I pray that I will shine for you in all the days you have given me. I want to walk worthy of the calling I have received. I give to you the timing of my loved ones deaths. I have no control anyway. I trust you will give me peace that surpasses all understanding when I will need it the most. Amen.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When God Seems Silent

      God and I often walk through the day together, conversing freely about the people and events I encounter. Praising him, inquiring of him, and trying to see with his eyes are becoming the norm rather than the exception. I am at peace when I am in his presence. My concerns evaporate in his brilliant light.
      But today is not peaceful. Today God seems silent. And I know why.

      It is not because he has pulled away, like a frustrated friend or lover who needs more time and space. He does not change. I believe his promise to never to leave me. No, the fault rests on my shoulders.

      I have sinned. 

      I turned my face from him and stepped in a direction I knew he did not wish me to go. He is not silent. Darkness I embraced has muffled our dialogue. How can I expect to hear him when I am not willing to listen?

      Ever so quietly, I hear him whisper, "Make it right." Yes, the blood of Jesus covers my sins, but he asks me to admit my fault, seek forgiveness, and turn back to look upon his loving face once more. Then, and only then, will I be able to hear him clearly

     I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly. (Psalm 85:8 NIV)

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV)

    Llisten to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom. (Job 33:33b NIV)

    Thank you, Lord, for hearing my prayers. I am sorry I turned my face away from you. As your forgiveness washes over me, I once again enjoy your peace that passes all understanding. Help me hear you clearly once more. Amen.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sleep in Peace

      My sweet girl slept soundly in her crib, dreaming secret two-year-old dreams. I stroked her hair and said a prayer of thanks to my Father for the little life he's entrusted to me. Love for her washed over me as the sound of her tiny breaths tickled my ears. To be in that moment, fully, was a gift from God. The gentle words I heard next pulled at my heart.

     "I watch you with love while you sleep too, my child."

     Me? Ordinary me, looked upon in love, sung over, protected. I am his child. He has promised to always be with me. I can truly sleep in peace tonight.

     The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV) 

     Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 
(Matthew 11:28 NIV)

     My Loving Father, I rest under your gentle gaze. You are with me when I sleep and when I wake, always available to hear my cry. Thank you for showing me through my daughter a picture of the love you have for me. Amen.

Song "Nothing to Cry About" by Alli Rogers, with pictures of my daughter.