Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Saying Something

I don't claim to think that I have the word to share about the tragic attack on the people at the Boston Marathon.  Nor do I think that my words will somehow make a difference that will lessen the sense of shock, horror and sorrow that comes with instances of senseless terror that we seem to encounter way to often in our world.  Yet, I must say something.

First, I must say that my heart hurts for those that lost their lives and were injured yesterday in Boston.  I pray for the families that are grieving today because they lost loved ones and I pray for those that are recovering in hospitals.  I pray for everyone effected by this tragedy and for all of those who unselfishly ran to the aid of strangers.  I pray that God will comfort, heal and strengthen.

I think that our "natural" tendency in times like these is to want to try to make sense of it.  We see evil things in our world and we try to make sense out of the evil.  We try to make sense of the 9/11 attacks.  We try to make sense of mass shootings like Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Colorado and others .  We try to make sense out of yesterdays bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line.  But, the truth is they are senseless.  I don't want to make sense of it.  I don't want to live in a world where I become desensitized to tragedy and say well it is just what happens and we can make sense of this  if we just dig deep enough.  It never makes sense for parents to bury children or for the innocent to suffer.  Hate, evil and injustice do not and should never make sense.  I pray that I never make sense of these horrible tragedies.  Instead, I pray that I might be one that offers comfort and hope and healing in the midst of things that don't make sense at all.  I pray that I might love in the face of senseless hate.  I pray that I might show compassion and mercy in the face of evil and injustice.  

You may have notice that I put the word natural in quotes at the start of the previous paragraph.  This is because I always wrestle with what we describe as natural tendencies.  I wonder if it is natural to how we are created or natural to our fallen state.  When I look at the pictures and the footage of yesterdays event it is clear that evil was not the natural human response.  What we saw yesterday was that what made sense in the face of this senseless act was for people to run to the aid of  their fellow man.  What made sense and was natural was for people to protect strangers, comfort their neighbor, offer support and aid to the hurting and to run toward the tragedy and help where they could.  What made sense in the midst of this senseless act was love, was good, was compassion.  That is what was natural.  That was the natural instinct, as always is the instinct of humanity, in the face of these tragedies.  We saw way more good  yesterday than evil.  Good is what is natural and makes sense not evil.

I pray for a day and a time when evil no longer exist in our world.  I pray for a world that is all good and all loving where the innocent don't suffer and senseless things cease to happen.  I pray that until that day comes I never become desensitized to the unnatural and senseless events that happen.  I pray that I never make sense or try to make sense but focus on what does make sense--Love.  I pray that we always look to the cross and see where God is in the midst of suffering and in the midst of tragedy.  I pray that we recognize that Jesus is found with those who are suffering and hurting and that Jesus feels our pain and our hurts.  I pray that I love like Jesus in my life.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, March 1, 2013

Love is not easy but it is Good

I have started running again.  I am training for a race the weekend after Easter.  It is always good for me to get more disciplined in my live.  My spirit as well as my physical body need to be in training.  Lent is a season to enter into deep spiritual training and it seems that the body and the spirit go hand and hand.  My running is Sabbath for me.  I have written about this before.  It is a time for me to be in God's presence to get off of me and my stuff and into God and his stuff.  When I run, I listen to Christian music and it helps me to reflect on who God is.  The other day I heard a song for the first time although I had heard it many times.  This time I listened to the words.  Isn't it funny how we can do that in life?  We can see something or hear something but not notice.
I was just taken by the lyrics of this song as it talked about how love is hard and how love might cost us everything and may hurt but it is good.

Love is not safe.
Love takes risks.
Love steps out.
Love digs in.
Love will take our time.
Love will break us.

Somehow we get this notion that following Jesus will make it all easy.  But it is just not true.  The truth is that it is good.  That he is good.  The truth is that it is worth it.  The truth is that he is enough.  The truth is that he will sustain us.  The truth is that he will provide for us.  The truth is that he will catch us when we fall.   The truth is that he will quite the storms or he will quite us.  The truth is that love cost him everything and it will cost us.  The truth is that he will never leave us or forsake us.  The truth is that he is love.  The truth is that there is nothing that can separate us from his great love that is in Christ Jesus.  The truth is that he works in all situations for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.  Loves not easy but it's good.  

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nothing is Impossible with God

I have heard it said many times.  "God never gives us more than we can handle."  I know people mean well with this statement and think they are referring to scripture but if what they mean is that we can handle anything than it is really not true and it is a misquote of scripture.  The truth is that without God we can do nothing (John 15:5).  The truth is that we are weak.  We are not strong enough to handle all the things that life throws at us.  We are fooling ourselves and will be eaten alive if we believe that we can handle anything.   

It is interesting that the very verse that is so often misquoted (1 Corinthians 10:13) to be understood as "God does not give us more than we can handle."  Is proceeded by verse 12 that says, "So, If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall."  Paul is saying don't think too highly of yourself because that is a slippery slope.  He goes on then to talk about temptation and how God is faithful and will help us to overcome all temptation and he will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we, with His help, can bear.  God will provide a way for us.  

The truth is, it is not until we are given what we can't handle that we finally turn to God.  It is not until we are given what we can't handle on our own that we grow in our relationship with Jesus.  We can't handle everything that comes at us.  We are not equipped to.  We where not created to.  On our own we we getting swallowed up and destroyed.  We will fall.  We have to lean into Jesus.  We have to stop trying to do it by ourselves and give it to God who is able to make way.  Who is the way.  Who has overcome this world that is full of troubles that we can not handle.  

Maybe you are going through something right now?  You are not alone.  You don't have to try to convince yourself that you can handle it.  You can't.  But God can.  Give it to God.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Forgiven People are Forgiving People

I have made a tremendous amount of mistakes.  I have messed up, erred, flopped. failed, and really fallen short several times.  Now, I am not looking for pity or trying to win a contest on who has made the most mistakes, I am just saying I have made a lot of mistakes.  However, this is not the whole story.  I have been forgiven.  I have sought forgiveness for the wrongs I have done. I have said I am sorry and I have ask for forgiveness.  I have been forgiven.  God forgives me and God helps me to not continue to make the same mistakes and live as one who has been forgiven.  

It would seem that the only natural thing for forgiven people would be to be forgiving.  The old hymn says "freely you have received, freely, freely give."   We have received forgiveness, freely.  In turn we should offer forgiveness freely.  The Church, Christians, should be the most forgiving people on the planet.  Christians, you would think, if they are living as forgiven people, should be the least judgmental and most forgiving people there are.  So why is it that many people see Christians and the Church as judgmental and not as forgiving?

Jesus said, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men there sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Forgiving people are forgiven and forgiven people are forgiving people.  We are just playing church when we  ask God to forgive us yet we are unwilling to forgive others.  We just play church when we make mistakes that we try to hide and point out the mistakes of others.  We are all in the same boat.  Everyone that we lay are eyes upon God loves and forgives.  There is nothing any one has done that puts them outside of the grace and forgiveness of God.  Nothing you or I have done.  When we experience, really experience it, everything changes we find ourselves freely forgive and can't help but forgive others the wrongs they have done to us.

This being said, I also understand, and God understands that forgiveness is hard for us.  It is difficult for us. I will even say it is impossible for us to on our own.  But it is not impossible for God.  We have to give the hurt, the emotions, the situation and the circumstance to God.  We have to pray it through until God has lifted the hurt and the pain.  God will do that.  It will take as much time as it takes but be patient, keep asking God to help you to be forgiving and he will do it.  Forgiven people are forgiving people and forgiving people are forgiven.  

Don't play church.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year

Happy New Year!

A new year offers us the opportunity to dream.  They come with a bit of hope that things really can become new.  For some we may struggle with a new year.  It reminds us that we are getting older or that things are not what they once were.  My prayer today is that you see the opportunity as a positive one.  I pray that we don't get caught in the negative and that we lean into the God that promises to make all things new.  
I pray that if you are struggling as you enter this new year that you would find hope with a the change in the calendar year.  I pray that you would see a fresh  start and a new beginning to a future bathed in the Spirit of the living God.  I pray that if you are are grateful your gratitude would only increase.

I pray that you would dream.  Dream big.  Dream of doing something that is impossible on your own but with God's help is possible.  Dream, hope, and follow God who promises to lead us and give us a hope and a future.  Don't let negativity cloud your way.  Don't let worry, or stress, or your current circumstance keep you from living by faith.  It is a new year.  Dare to believe in the God who has you in the palm of his hand and loves you more than you can even comprehend.  Dare to believe that God is the God of change, new life and new beginnings.

Happy New Year!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug