Derek and I met two hikers. They stood by a fence with binoculars. “Excuse me,” said one of them, pointing to a manor house, “do you live there?”
I laughed. “I wish.”
Then they pointed there again. “What is that thing in the tree?”
Derek and I shook our heads. But then I grinned and waved my arm with exaggerated grandeur. “Please, feel welcome to take a look.”
All of us laughed, and Derek and I walked on. But Derek and I kept on laughing. Imagine being mistaken for a lord and lady… But actually… Jesus is Lord, and he has a manor house in heaven. It feels so good to have a place we can call home.
A salesman telephoned a few days ago. “Are you Mrs. Leaf?” he asked.
My guard went up. “No!” But then it hit me. What was I saying? I am Mrs. Leaf. I have been for 30 years. “I mean, yes!” I said.
The salesman paused in that “Then, who are you?” kind of a silence.
“Mr.” I corrected. “I mean, Mr. Leaf. No! I’m not him. I’ll go get him.” The salesman started chuckling, but I sent up a prayer, right there on the spot. “God, why do I always say the wrong thing!”
An answer came back fast, just like a pingpong ball. “I made you this way. I created you for my glory.* Embrace it.”
Do you have quirks? Let’s celebrate!
Sometimes what we experience is not understood. “But I do!” people might say. “I can totally relate! It’s just like when I got a bicycle puncture. Deflating.”
Our heart sinks. We fall silent. We feel like we are sitting at the bottom of a deep well. Alone. Unheard. If only someone understood. If only we could share our heart.
Yet, something good can come out of a well. There is a light, and it is up above. It makes us lift our heads. There is a person we can talk to – God.
Jeremiah also ended up in a well. He said, “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You came near and said, ‘Do not fear.’“ (from Lamentations 3: 55-57)
I had a dream for 2016. I wanted to learn how to write humour. If sad people could laugh, it might give them hope. But now, a year later, I still haven’t found the joke.
If I told you I was taken hostage by the seriousness of life, you might believe me if you heard my story. But that didn’t stop me. I found some second-hand comedian books, listened to you-tube talks. I even interviewed.
Now, with only two days left of this year 2016, I am thinking… “Wait a minute! GOD is the source of all good humour! Why didn’t I think of asking him?” Guess what I’ll be doing in 2017?
The Bible says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God.” (James 1:5)
Have you ever been caught in a darkness so deep, you couldn’t see your hands in front of your face, even when you held them right up to your nose? Maybe you decided to sit still and wait things out.
But, imagine, your child starts crying. Deep darkness or not, you feel your way forward, crashing into furniture, calling out comforting words. It takes a desperation to actually walk, without sight, without light. The Bible says, “Let him who walks in the dark and has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” (Isaiah 50:10)
Are you walking in darkness? I am. Let’s follow the unseen God within our hearts.
All of us make plans of one kind or another. Most of our plans are good. But, will we ever get them fulfilled?
Many of us will. But a few of us will get lost, ending up somewhere we never intended. Others of us will spend our entire lives trying to make our dreams come true. Others will just laugh at the thought that plans ever work.
Yet, I have noticed that some have a goal that transcends all plans. They don’t even have to say what it is. Their lives speak it out for them in silent words. “I will show you the most excellent way… Follow the way of love.” (1 Corinthians 12:30, 14:1)
By God’s grace, I want to follow…
I am surrounded by boxes. My rectangle house. My defined job. My acceptance of limitations in life. Yet I still dream of walking on water, of flying like a bird. What about you?
I also dream of writing extraordinary books. But, I have been told there is only one CS Lewis, only one JRR Tolkien, and sometimes I wonder if I should even dare try. That is, until I remember…
Jesus said something so freeing, it tears apart our cardboard walls. “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things…” (John 14:12) Faith in Jesus isn’t a limiting box. Faith in Jesus means we can embrace big dreams. It means we can go and do.
Thirty-five years ago I was told that I would feel fulfilled if I got married. I believed it and tried to make it happen. But I had to let go of that dream to find out that happiness is apart from marriage.
Now I am realizing another truth. I believed that the goal of every author is to get published. I worked towards it with all my heart. But again I was wrong. My goal is to write what God wants me to write, and if he desires for my books to get published, he will make it happen.
It is so easy to put our agendas first, and forget that God is above all. He is the one who satisfies our needs. “Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.” (Psalm 37:3 NLT)
How valuable is a life? What is one willing to pay to save someone from death? Joseph went through slavery and imprisonment to save his family, seventy souls. But was it necessary to suffer so much for so long? Thirteen years of silent tears? God thought so. Jesus died to save the world.
Does God ask of us those same kinds of sacrifices, these deaths that hopefully lead to someone to Christ? Yes. I am going through one at the moment. It seems my memoir must go silent for a while. Is it worth it for the salvation of even one soul? God seems to think so.
Joseph was able to look back on his life. He said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20) That isn’t an easy perspective, but it is the only one that brings life.
When God sent Moses to Pharaoh, he wanted Moses to ask Pharaoh a request. “Let my people go!” Why was that necessary? God doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do what he wants. But God respected Pharaoh’s role. He was giving Pharaoh the chance to do what was right.
Instead Pharaoh revealed his true heart, and God showed Moses the consequence. “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you – so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.”(Exodus 11:9)
Just like for Pharaoh, God respects our role in life. But can we respect those around us? Can we let them thrive? God gives us a choice… and whichever way we chose, it decides which “wonders” we will see.