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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Be Still My Soul

I think back over the years to the first time I heard this song. It was a dark and troubling time in my life where everything I knew or thought I knew was shaken. I had recently contemplated and determined to end my life having come under such a heavy oppression that told me I had believed a lie when I believed in Jesus. It broke my heart to think that the love of Jesus had been nothing but wishful thinking that had carried me through very difficult circumstances. I was left feeling empty and deceived and life no longer held any worth to me without Him. In one last desperate plea I cried out to the God I had believed in and I begged Him to reveal himself to me again, for without that intervention I would certainly have given in to my despair. But God in His mercy heard my heart's cry and He answered me with indescribable light and the words, "I Am That I Am." resounding in my ears. It was a loud and terrifying experience that shook me to my core with fear and awe.

I lost my voice for a week after that night. I simply was unable to put words together in any coherence. I remember going to work not long after that wondering how in the world I would get through the night as a waitress without being able to speak. I was fragile and afraid and ever so weakened, but I was clinging to Jesus, who had so wonderfully showed Himself to me. One of the first families that came in that night to the Pizza Hut I worked at had come from another Pizza Hut down the way. They had left the first having witnessed one of the cooks use the restroom without washing his hands. This brought them to my Pizza Hut. The man's name was Brian and he was a pastor. I no more than stood before them when he looked up and saw me in distress. His wife quickly slid over and they invited me to sit with them as they prayed. He and his wife and their two children prayed over me in tenderness and patience. Sometime in that same week this song played on the radio in the middle of the night. It wakened me from my sleep with an ethereal sound that reached deep into my soul and filled me with great hope and peace.

"Be Still, My Soul"
by Catharina von Schlegel, 1697-?
Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1813-1897


1. Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.

4. Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
Through the years, especially verses one and two have ministered to me in times of sorrow or darkness. Again today, the melody is playing in my mind. My youngest son who is eleven has in this last week been diagnosed with what the doctors are thinking is a malignant tumor in his left thigh. We are forced to play the wait game this week while we wait for the biopsy to come back which will let us know whether the tumor is as the doctors suspect, malignant or if it is benign as we and so many of my faithful brothers and sisters in the Lord are praying. On one hand I have expert doctors telling me this one horrible thing. And on the other hand I have this same gracious God who revealed Himself to me with such power and greatness who is able to do immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine. I do not know, today, whether or not He wills for my son to go through a cancer battle. All I know is that no matter what, this God, this lover of my soul and the lover of my son's soul will carry us through this dark valley. He promised never to leave us or forsake us. He did not give me a spirit of fear but of power, love and sound mind. So, I will pray powerfully, love deeply and operate with a sound mind, practicing exactly what this song encourages. Be Still My Soul. #God'sgotthis

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Bruised Reed

I often wonder if God gets frustrated with our ignorance.  Does He at times desire to walk away from us to spare Himself from our idiocy?  Does he get exasperated and close Himself in His chamber for a moment to collect Himself after dealing with our cluelessness?  Does He smack Himself in the forehead and say, “Oy vey!” when we just don’t seem to understand?  I am certain that if God’s patience could be pushed to such limits I would be the one to get Him there.

Thankfully God is nothing like me.  I believe that as high as the heavens are above the earth so are His thoughts above my own.  He said so.  I also believe His patience and His love are that much greater.  In fact I bank on it, because it has become clear to me after all these years of following Him that I am simply not able to match His step without stumbling and tripping like I have two left feet.  Yes, I am that girl on the dance floor.  You know the one.  She wants to dance, and she’s smiling like an idiot while trying for all she’s worth, but she just hasn’t got the rhythm nor the coordination.  

My reason for writing this morning is to hopefully encourage you all.  In a world full of scoffers and naysayers it is very easy to feel like the one in the corner with the dunce hat on your head.  Let’s face it, the world is full of people who are less than gracious when they see our flaws and failures.  It seems that even the ones who bear the name of Christ are prone to mockery, ever ready to pounce upon each other, pointing out mistakes and making spectacles of each other’s failures.  It happened to me just this morning.  

In a very brief conversation, if you could call it that, my confession of a bad decision I had made turned into an all out scornful mocking by someone who completely missed the point I was trying to make.  I already knew that what I had done had had a huge negative effect in my life, but this person wouldn’t hear me for that.  Instead she insensitively seized the opportunity of me taking a breath mid-sentence to begin her tirade of how she knew all along that my decision was completely stupid.  Yes, she used the word stupid.  But it didn’t end there.  In trying to defend myself another barrage of hurtful insensitive things were said and all for what?  So that this woman could have it be known by me that she knew better?  That she was wiser and called out the calamity long before it came to pass?  Anyway, I’m not usually a pansy, but her harsh words hit my already bruised heart leaving me to feel like the fool she made me out to be.  The whole conversation took place in less than three minutes and it ended badly with her being dismissive and insinuating I was just being sensitive and then telling me she would call later, to which I replied, “don’t” and I hung up on her.  Yeah...that was not so Christ like of me.  If she were anything less than the woman of God that she is, I might expect her to bitterly phase out of my life.   But I have no concern about that with this woman as we have through the years disagreed many times and because Christ does rule each of our hearts, He always brings us back to peace and joy with each other.  That’s how it’s supposed to be.  But the whole situation got me thinking about Jesus.

Isaiah prophesied about Jesus saying, “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench” (Isaiah 42:3).  There is more to that prophesy, but this is the part that I’ve been pondering.  It stands out to me that often people are ever so ready to pounce upon those who are already down.  Like this woman, they think nothing of the pain someone is already suffering for their sin or their mistakes or their poor decisions and they jump headlong into their tirades of scorn and condemnation.  But Jesus wasn’t like that.  He wasn’t one to break the bruised reed.  How often we fail to incorporate this attribute into our repertoire of Godly emulation.  Then it occurred to me.  This failure on the part of this woman is just a misstep in her dance with Jesus.  I’m sure she feels that she said and did nothing wrong...this is her MO after all.  But how she behaved was tantamount to her being the girl on the dance floor, smiling like an idiot, trying for all she was worth to dance in the steps of Jesus only to look as though she had two left feet, no rhythm and zero coordination.  And since I’ve been that girl all of my life, I can only offer the same patience and love that God has for me when I don’t get it right.  The good thing is, I know that by the time we all get to that great Wedding banquet, we’ll be dancing like pros and not one of us will miss a step.  




Tuesday, October 3, 2017

If I Should Die Before They Wake


I wouldn't consider myself a morbid person.  But I am aware that at any given moment God may call me home.  I'm not in any way guaranteed another day or moment to spend with those I love.  Knowing that I may not have the time to "work up the courage" to broach the subjects of God and eternity, I tend to be direct and speak freely about these things.  I am not embarrassed about my faith.  I am not shy about it.  There is no good reason for me to hesitate in sharing the truth that I know.  I just do it.  As vocal as I am, I often think to myself, 'I need to foster more teachable moments with my kids.'

This song, written by Jennie B. Wilson, is titled,  "Hold To God's Unchanging Hand".  It perfectly reflects my prayers and wishes for my children save for the second line in the last verse.  When I sing this song I change it to say, "Trust in God who has been true".  

Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand.
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God's unchanging hand.

Hold to His hand, To God's unchanging hand
Hold to His hand, To God's unchanging hand
Build your hopes on things eternal
Hold to God's unchanging hand.

Trust in Him who will not leave you,
Whatsoever years may bring
If by earthly friends forsaken
Still more closely to Him cling

Covet not this world's vain riches
That so rapidly decay,
Seek to gain the heavenly treasures,
They will never pass away

When your journey here is ended
If to God you have been true (Trust in God who has been true),
Fair and bright your home in glory
Your enraptured soul will view.

God knows how deep my love runs for those He has placed in my life.  I long for the day when they awaken to the knowledge of the truth.  But, If I should die before they wake, I want to be sure that I took advantage of every opportunity God has given me to tell them about His love and justice.  I want to be sure I took every opportunity to show them His love.  And when I stand before Him, may He be pleased.   May it be so.