When We Don’t Understand What God is Doing

When We Don't Understand What God is Doing

Jerry and I love to cook. We enjoy experimenting with recipes, adding ingredients that you normally wouldn’t, to what’s tried and true. For instance, a dash of cinnamon in just about anything, in my opinion—Jerry is not always on the same page with me on this one—brings about a wonderful flavor. Plop overripe apple chunks into a beef stew and—even though you might find this hard to believe—you will experience an aroma and taste that is superb!

Likewise, the smells of spices and herbs by themselves, are delightful. To pinch off a sprig of rosemary and rub it in your palms or pluck a leaf of basil and smell its pungent aroma, there are few things that are more refreshing. But when two or more opposing ingredients—that would normally cause us to raise our hand in protest—are mixed together, we sometimes are deliciously surprised. The outcome is far better than we could have ever imagined.

The same can hold true in our lives.

The television show, CBS Sunday Morning, featured a story a few years back about a man who decided to do an intriguing sociological study where he began to follow the lives of children, checking in with them to see where they were every seven years. One boy’s story really caught my attention. Continue reading

When We Listen to Lies

I’m an early bird. Maybe that’s one reason why my nickname growing up was “Bird Baby.” (Only my older brother, Jim, is allowed to call me that, and that’s because it’s always been his name for me.) And though I like to get up at the crack of dawn, or even before, I like to do it…

s-l-o-w-l-y.

So, before anyone else wakes up, I’ll grab my cell phone and glasses, and quietly tiptoe down the stairs, wrapping up in my robe as I go, because even in summer Jerry has set the thermostat to generate snow as we sleep. Pouring a cup of Italian coffee, I settle down into my most comfortable chair and open up the app on my phone that leads me to one of my favorite devotionals.

I don’t remember the specifics of the one I was reading this particular morning, but my response to it, in the very least was disquieting and unnerving. For what it said, I knew could not possibly be for me.

The devotional was beautiful, really, talking about finding your worth in the Lord’s eyes; knowing that He loves us beyond anything we can imagine, or think, or desperately want. But worn out images and thoughts from my past railroaded what was before me, saying, “That can’t apply to you. The Lord rescued you once. Big Time. Set your feet on solid, solid ground. But what did you do but turn to another, the idol you thought would bring you fulfillment and happiness? You were faithless.”

Before, I would swing and hit at those mental pictures, those memories. I would do battle, from what I understood or or more accurately, misunderstood what the Bible means by, “Taking every thought captive.” (See 2 Corinthians 10:5.) Because the Lord tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (See 1 John 1:9.) I would quote that verse. And stand on it. And try to rally myself that it applied to me also. While that Scripture is true, for the Lord cannot lie, I couldn’t make it stick. Continue reading

When Communication Falls Apart

When Communication Falls ApartI listened yesterday as my friend told me what happened. The hurt, confusion, heartache, and guilt of being misunderstood and of misunderstanding was written all over her face. As she recounted her side of the story, almost as the words were tumbling out of her mouth, she could see the mistakes she had made and those that were made toward her. She loves the one she hurt and was hurt by, and just wishes she could go back in time and make it all go away.

Miscommunication is never easy to go through, and it never happens to just one. It takes two for that tangle to occur. Even when you’re talking face-to-face and can hear both what someone is saying and see their expressions, misconceptions can occur. An intended joke is taken as a serious jab. A feeling of empathy is misconstrued as patronizing. Add in what happens when texting, tweeting, and Facebooking come into the picture and those subtle cues of voice inflection, a smile, or a gentle nudge on the shoulder are no longer there, conversation and connection is further compromised. Losing those signals that allow us to read between the lines, makes relating to one another so much more difficult. Without the benefit of sight, twinges of offense begin to take shape in our minds. Judgment is not far behind. Continue reading

When Faith Seems Unimaginable

Yesterday, sitting in my optometrist’s office that plays a continual stream of movies, I was able to catch a glimpse of a most memorable scene from one of my all time favorites, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. Indiana Jones, the main character in search of his missing father, who is an archeologist, finds himself—along the way with WW II Nazis, and others looking for eternal longevity—in pursuit of the chalice Jesus drank from at The Last Supper. In the last scenes of the movie, Indiana is clasping a series of clues woven with Scripture written in his father’s notebook, and he must use them in order to successfully find what he is looking for.

Among those many challenges, there is one that always mesmerizes me. An abyss of such unthinkable proportions, it looks impossible to cross. As Indiana reads from his father’s scribblings, Proverbs 3:6 always pops in my head. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. A pastor once told me that the literal translation of that verse is, when you put your foot out, the path will be there. When Indiana made the choice to step out into what looked a chasm of sickening heights—one in which he would surely die—his foot landed on a granite-like crossway bridging the gap. Hands down, it is the best picture imaginable of what it means to walk in faith. Every time I see that scene, I want to slap my leg in affirmation while jumping up exclaiming a resounding, “Yes!”

Now we may not have an actual physical canyon to cross, but I think we all face our own personal abysses everyday. Some, on the richter scale seem smaller than others. And then there are those that are gargantuan. Continue reading