Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Way

I usually don't post other people's blogs, but I read this on the Village Church's website today and thought it was worth reflection. Jesus claimed "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6) and his death and resurrection for our sins demands some sort of response or at least thought. Even if that response is to believe He lied and others lied in saying He raised from the dead.

Thoughts worth examination I think. Sometimes I become so consumed with day to day life that I don't take the time to process what I truly believe on an issue, whether Christian or not.

My mom gave me this book, Jesus Freaks, that contains hundreds of different stories, some recent and some in different centuries over time, of men, women, and even children who were tortured and/or killed for their refusal to deny Jesus. I don't know how strongly one must cling to a certain belief to be willing to suffer in such a dramatic way, but I have to believe the Jesus they died for must have had a great impact on their lives. I mean how incredible is that to die for someone you have never even met and some think you are crazy to even believe in? Possibly a few would, but to have people continually willing to suffer each century for the same reason? I think that is amazing!

This causes me to believe that the Jesus they know must really change lives in such a mighty way that not only dying but being physically tortured for Him can be endured with peace and hope for a life yet to come. I will probably (hopefully) never have to suffer like that for my beliefs, but I hope and pray to live a life that reflects the greater peace found in Jesus the way their lives did.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wandering in Hope

Her silent response
screams of the hurt inside.
And hope for tomorrow,
drifts from her mind.

The meaning unclear,
as joy and laughter no longer fill the air.
She grows impatient,
waiting to discover where to go from here.

Because waiting for something uncertain,
sounds needlessly foolish in her mind.
She searches for purpose in hidden places.

Her pain makes her selfish
as she holds it all inside.
She hurts those around her
when striving for purpose.

When will she stop
trying to make herself feel joy?
And rest in the One
who gives it so generously.

In desperation she stops
trying to find her way.
And turns to Him
who promises the directions to Life.

He refused to record
all the times she wandered aimlessly.
And graciously shows her the path to freedom.

She still doesn’t know
where she is going.
But chooses to trust
the Light she now follows.

How is this way better?
Doubts whisper in the darkness.
But a peace fills her heart,
when she places hope in His glorious destination.

Jeremiah 29:11-13
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all you heart.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

To Be Wanted

Finished racing the treadmill a minute before fainting,
Tossing meals aside barely touched.
With countless hours spent perfecting herself,
She would do anything to be wanted.

Fake laughs, shallow conversation,
Accepted too many meaningless invitations.
“Why are you here?” she wondered all along.
But she did anything to feel wanted.

Hands begged to be held,
as tears flooded her pillow.
She asked to know what love is.

Hearing her faint cries in the night,
A Savior answered her pleas.
And He offered to show her Love.

Filled with joy,
She tried to please Him.
Grateful that she became wanted.

But mistakes were made
As she chased old desires.
She feared she would never be enough.

She didn’t understand,
After all the pain she caused,
Why He wouldn’t simply leave.

She knew her disappointments,
Would ruin the relationship.
So she tried to run and escape Him.

Through hills and valleys,
and places in between.
She would go anywhere to find freedom.

But she couldn’t escape
The guilt she felt inside.
Exhausted from running,
she finally came back home.

With arms open wide,
He waited at the door.
Joyful to see her once again.

“Welcome back!” He exclaimed.
“I love you so much!”
And in that moment she knew,
she would always be wanted.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Choice

During one of our Saturday brunches, my dad sweetly told me that when someone really loves you it’s hard for them to want to go away. I think he meant that as comforting words and reassurance, in his ever caring dad way, that my imperfections do not explain my singleness. Very sweet…It’s just that no one really loves me! Hmm…thanks dad!

In all seriousness though I do think that we can be “blinded by love” and the damage must be at least a little severe for us or the other person to “open their eyes” so to speak. At least that has been my experience. Suddenly the truth about who you are or can be is made evident and a self-preserving desire for the other person to turn the other way may present itself. Choosing to love someone eventually means choosing to work through the pain.

I’m reading the book of Job right now for my bible study. Job was someone who loved God greatly, and he also led a fairly blessed life. Then, God allowed Satan to destroy a lot of what made his life good. When Job’s life took many turns for the worse he cried out to God in pain and desperation. He didn’t even want to live anymore. (Job 7) I can certainly relate to this pity party as I’ve thrown one for myself on multiple occasions. Not that I have ever had to go through anything even half as terrible as Job did. However, I’ve learned the need to accept that pain just is. I do not mean to suggest that I always accept this truth gracefully; my point is I can recognize the reality of pain. Living in a broken world means having to experience suffering at some point in our lives. Does suffering mean that God has abandoned us? Did God abandon Job? Is God unkind? How does suffering glorify God anyways? What good does hurting bring? These are questions I’ve definitely wrestled with. Maybe sometimes the only benefit is to show others and myself that my strength is in Christ not in happy circumstances. Maybe that alone brings God glory. And as a sweet friend recently reminded me, pain is temporary.

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I wonder if it hurts God that I don’t always choose to work through the pain. Certainly God has never needed my love per say, yet I wonder how many times I have hurt Him by running the other way. I guess I just like things easy. I hate to admit that my love can be so conditional. I know it’s selfish, and I’m so thankful that God’s faithfulness never relies on mine.

2 Timothy 2:13
If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

I must confess the more I learn about God the more I am convinced of His craziness. I don’t mean this disrespectfully; I mean His love makes no sense to me. Why does God continue to love us and offer us grace? I would have undoubtedly run the other way by now. God always loves though, even when I stray. He always chooses to work through the pain. I think my dad was right to say that when someone loves you they want to stick around. I just find it amazing that God, who is perfect and sovereign, would be the one who always chooses to stay.

Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

1 John 4:16
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.