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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hypocritical Faith


Sometimes I feel like an absolute hypocrite when it comes to my relationship with God, and the past few days definitely fall into that category!

To say I am struggling right now would be a huge understatement! So, while I send notes of encouragement to others, here is the reality of my own "truth" (as written in an email to a pastor): 
Between being as sick as I have been (and being out here alone while dealing with it), along with the fact that God just seems so quiet and so far removed from my life, I am really struggling in my walk right now ... 
My time in the Word is going nowhere and even the books I have been reading do not seem to be offering any consolation.

Truthfully, I don't know if my heart is just hard (I certainly hope not), or if God is just choosing to be silent, but spiritually I am in a very low place and am really struggling to find comfort, encouragement, and maybe even a little hope(!) to help me get through this difficult time.


Sadly, the fact that I can no longer be at church w/o getting sick is not helping things, either, in terms of teaching or fellowship! As a result, the longer this situation goes on (i.e. God's silence, as well as any lack of comfort / encouragement / hope), the easier I am finding it to just set God aside and focus on the other things in my life that I can control . . . 
I am tired.

I am tired of being sick. 

I am tired of the seemingly endless trials God has sent - and continues to send - my way. 

And, I am tired of God's silence.

Last night I started reading a book on Job, by Chuck Swindoll, in which he writes: 
Misery and mystery are added to the insult and injury of Job's real-life disasters . . . His misery turns to mystery with God's silence. If the words of his so-called friends are hard to hear, the silence of God becomes downright intolerable. Not until the thirty-eighth chapter of the book does God finally break the silence, however long that took. 
Can you imagine? Job has just lost everything and God remains silent for thirty-seven more chapters of the Bible! Lord willing, perhaps that fact will help me get a better perspective on my own situation . . .

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Food for Today . . .





We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by Faith, and not of our own works or deservings.
~ Creeds of Christendom





God has appointed not only who shall suffer but also when, where, in what way, for how long, and for what truth.
~ John Bunyan
So important to remember that God does not waste our suffering, or any other situation He chooses to bring into our lives!

O Holy, Heavenly Father ...
Help us to love you more, no matter how we may feel at any given moment in time.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Waiting on God

Leave it to God to state the obvious!

Let me explain . . .

Years ago, as I was wrestling with my faith and trying to figure out exactly what I believed about God, let alone whether or not I actually believed in Him, I was speaking with a friend of mine who shared with me that he had had a similar trial. 


He then went on to explain to me that as he struggled through his own situation he came to the realization that he had two choices: he could either pursue God or he could pursue self . . .


. . . HE COULD NOT. DO. BOTH.




At the time, I didn't really understand exactly what he meant by pursue God or pursue self. And, even though I was so angry at God that I had absolutely no interest in reading His Word, I decided to do so anyway and started reading through the book of Psalms because I considered them "pretty harmless!"

And here's what happened . . .


The more I read His Word, the hungrier I became for it (even though I was still struggling with my belief in Him).

As a result . . .

Through my faithfulness, the more I continued to read my Bible, the more God started revealing His Word to me . . . and I actually started UNDERSTANDING WHAT I WAS READING!


Now, just to give you a better idea of how I previously "read" Scripture, there were times when I would say, "Okay, Lord, I'm going to open my Bible and point to a passage of Scripture, and ask You to show me what you want to say to me today."


And then I would do exactly that: I would open my Bible, turn a few random pages until I "felt" like I was on the page God wanted me to be on; close my eyes; point to a Bible verse and read it to myself.

And it would say . . . 

. . . AND JOB WENT TO THE BATHROOM.



Okay, it really didn't say that but I am willing to bet you know exactly what I'm talking about! :)

Which brings us to today's reading and today's "light bulb moment" . . .

I wait for the Lord,
My soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
~ Psalm 130: 5

Ummm . . . Can I be honest with you? I think I have been fooling myself over this whole health situation, because as I read that verse I realized one very important fact: I have NOT been waiting on God over this situation . . . AT ALL! See, here's the real scoop:

While this is what waiting on the Lord should look like . . .


This would be a more honest representation of my situation . . .


The good news is that I finally understand the pursue God vs. pursue self concept, and, as a result, I have spent a great deal of time in prayer about this situation with my health. I have prayed that God would help me to love Him more; I have prayed that He would be glorified in this situation no matter how it turns out; BUT . . . actually waiting on Him? Yeah, I don't think so!

My doctor said it would probably take about two years before I would start to feel better. I was expecting to feel better after two days. Then two weeks. Now I have had my sights set on feeling better after two months (August 28th). But, two years? Oh, just shoot me now!

As I stated in my opening sentence of this blog . . . Leave it to God to state the obvious . . . especially through His Word!

Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
~ Isaiah 40:31

Sounds like a good plan, doesn't it?

If so, then perhaps you and I can learn how to wait together!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Not Forgotten

Let's face it: today's world moves at an exceedingly fast pace, and the general mood among most people seems to be ...

LEAD ... FOLLOW ... GET OUT OF MY WAY! 


 Which is what made yesterday so tough.

If you have ever gone through a really difficult trial, or if you are going through one now, one of the hardest things about it can be feeling like you are going through it all by yourself, and that is exactly how I felt yesterday! Not because people don't care, but rather because we are all so wrapped up in our own lives that unless the person in need is right in front of us, they are usually not even on our radar.

Sometimes I think that serious illness is one of the most difficult trials God allows into our lives simply because of its complexity and complete unpredictability.

Right now there are things happening within my body that are leaving me tired, weak and in pain. And, while I have seen a doctor who has put me on a protocol designed to help me with all of the issues that need to be addressed, after having two really great days a few weeks ago, I now feel worse than I did before I saw her! On top of that, I don't know when I am going to feel better -- or if I will ever feel better.

I don't know when the pain and inflammation in my joints and connective tissue will be gone -- or if it will ever be gone.

I don't when I will have enough energy to simply make it through the day without laying down -- or if I will ever have that kind of energy again.

I don't know if I will ever have the lung capacity I once had to swim, ride horses, play my flute or sing -- or if I will ever be able to do those things again.

On top of that, it is hard to feel this lousy all the time without being near my parents. And while I do have some friends out here, they are all married with families and busy lives of their own.

 


For the needy will not always be forgotten, Nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.
~ Psalm 9:18







This morning I read this verse in the book of Psalms, and as I thought it through, it gave me hope to know that my life will not always be like this!

While I know that God brought me to Montana in order to do some work in my life that He wanted to do out here (specifically), I am often very lonely. BUT ... I will not always be lonely! And, although I spend a great deal of time alone, I will not always be alone. And, while I feel like I am going through this trial with my health alone (and the truth of the matter is that I am -- it's my health), it will not always be like this.

Yes, I feel that way now. And because I am single, and because I live far away from my family and close friends, I may always feel that way while I live in this body on this side of Heaven. But it won't be like this forever!

I will not always be forgotten ... and neither will you.

My hope will not perish ... and neither will yours!

Because here is what God promises to us, if we will just cling to His Word and seek His face always:

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
~ Psalm 9:10

Amen, Lord ... Amen!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Morning By Morning

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is Your Faithfulness.
~ Lamentations 3:22-23


Rough day today, Lord, and so desperately in need of Your mercy right now . . .

Sunday, August 4, 2013

When God Says "No!"

There is nothing more difficult than watching God say "No" to a prayer, even as it is being prayed. Yet, that is exactly what God chose to do with my prayer during our corporate worship service this morning!

 
With hope in hand, I decided to try to attend church again today. And, things were really good when I first arrived! My breathing remained normal and the dizziness stayed away.

Unfortunately, I could feel things quickly start to change within about 10 minutes, and as they did I began crying out to the Lord to please, please stop everything that was happening so I could stay and be part of the service. And He chose to say . . .


So once again, I had to leave the sanctuary and go lay on a couch in order to catch my breath, before I could leaving the building.

O Father, why? Why are You allowing me to continually get sick at church and have to leave? It's CHURCH! It's being part of the body of Christ! You say you have "plans to give me hope and a future," but I just don't understand what that means. It doesn't make any sense, and it hurts so, so much.

I have spent a great deal of time meditating on the lyrics from the Plumb song, Need You Now.  Over and over and over again, I keep praying the refrain of this song ...

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this?"
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh, I need You,
God I need You now.


Yesterday I read this verse in Psalm 123:

Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He is gracious to us.
~ Psalm 123:2

O Father, please be gracious to me now . . .