I think where we might get confused is that we think of this season leading up to Christmas as one of mere celebration, but its origin was “primarily as a season of preparation – a time for prayer and self-reflection.” I hear what you’re you’re thinking…Wow! Why don’t you just pour cold water on my Christmas?! Hold on…there’s more…
Mystery. I often wonder why we lose the awe and wonder of childhood. At what point in life do we begin to feel the need to explain – or have explained to us – every, single detail of our existence? When did we decide that we wanted to be lord of our own lives… I mean, that’s what it means, doesn’t it? The incessant, gnawing, obsessive need to know and understand everything…isn’t that a desire to be lord? To deny the presence of any mystery in our lives?
Fear blossomed like a sunflower in my chest. I heard every noise, real or imagined, in the house or the basement. It’s embarrassing to remember the times I would call our neighbor over to check the house because I thought I had heard something. This fear lasted so long it was making me physically ill – I was trying to stay awake all night, begging God to keep us safe. I was thinking of escape plans should someone break-in. It was difficult.
The Lord came to break all bondage in our life. Step out of the shadow of shame and into the radiant light of our Savior. Let’s talk about the S word. No, I’m not referring to a curse word. Or even the word “stupid,” which was not allowed to be used in our home when… Continue reading Shadow of Shame: Step into the Light of Our Savior
This summer the Christian world has learned of two more Christian stars who have publicly left the fold of faith. They haven’t had a moral lapse; each renounced his faith. One of them had written beautiful, moving worship music. My heart is deeply saddened for them and all whose lives were shattered by their pronouncement. Is God winnowing His flock? Has judgment begun in His house?
Sometimes God is just hard to get. One moment, He is breaking into our lives with His glory and majesty, answering prayer left and right. We are “living the promises!” Then, the earth seemingly erupts beneath us and chaos ensues. Friends betray us. Illness strikes. Or, like St. John of the Cross, darkness falls across our souls like a damp fog. Morning, afternoon, and evening our hearts cry out to God, but He does not answer. The situation remains unchanged.
While I was in chaplaincy, I was seeing a wonderful Christian therapist. At times, I felt overwhelmed and deeply inadequate by the needs I faced each day. My heart, my own compassion, could not handle the onslaught of pain and suffering. I remember the day I expressed this to her, she told me, ‘I believe we already have a Savior to handle the world’s pain. We don’t need another one.’
There is a passage in Luke, which I have read since childhood, subtitled, “The Cost of Discipleship”. In my past Bible’s, it was in red letters. I imagine over the years I have secretly, self-righteously judged the people to whom Jesus spoke these words, but as I’ve grown older it has become easier to see myself in them…
Neither of us knew the long years of sorrow and suffering that lay ahead of us. If we had, the weight of it might have broken us both right there in the choir loft. But God graciously hid our earthly eyes from that vision and walked us one step at a time into the future. At times, He has us.
Asking God ‘why’ is natural. But we can rest and trust in God; His decisions, His timing. He is the Potter; Sovereign over us, His children. The Life-Force is a sort of tame God. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. All the thrills of religion and none… Continue reading The Potter: Trusting Our Sovereign God to Take Care of Us