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Friday, March 22, 2013

Waiting for Spring

My beloved speaks to me and says to me:  "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for  now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.  The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
                                                               Song of Solomon 2:10-12

The gifts of joy and spring are intertwined in my mind.

After the long cold winter my heart rejoices to see the first tiny hints of green appear.

My sense of hope and joy grows stronger as the resurrection of spring begins and all of life seems fresh and new.

Waiting for those first signs of new life requires the difficult discipline of patience.  Our faith in God requires that same patience.

In his book, Sacred Waiting, David Timms says:  "We will only wait on Him with joy if we have deep confidence in His love for us."

Just as we have confidence that spring will arrive in its perfect time, we are called to trust that the same is true of God.

There are dark days in the midst of winter when it seems as if spring will never come.  But our thoughts and emotions are not always truth.  Spring will return eventually despite how we may feel.

There are also dark times during our journey of faith, especially times of deep suffering and pain,  when we may not feel God's love.  But the truth is that God's love never fails.  Our feelings may fail us but God's love never does.

In Romans Paul proclaims that "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:38-39

The journey of faith takes great patience and perseverance.  There may be times when we lose our way and feel forsaken.  Joy may be nowhere in sight.  Those are the times we must have confidence that God's love will prevail.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

Some seasons may bring joy and some may bring pain but they are all part of the cycle of death and new life.  

In whatever season we may find ourselves, we can trust in God's goodness and His unfailing love which will never end.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Waiting in Silence

Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation.
                                                                     Psalm 62:1

Once more I have lost my way.

What seemed so clear and positively encouraging yesterday has been clouded back over with confusion and self-doubt.

A sense of heaviness weighed my heart down as I hurried through my morning reflection with God in order to got to my Hospice patient's home on time.

Convinced just yesterday that God was calling me to stay with this work as a family support volunteer, today I felt unsure again and questioned whether I might be mistaken.

My fluctuating and unpredictable feelings had once more rushed in creating a sea of confusion.  The peace and joy of yesterday's trust in God's ongoing guidance were washed away like fragile seashells on the shore.

During this midlife time of transition, God has been shaking up a lot of things in my life that have become comfortable and familiar.  I am struggling to move past my fear of change and hear where His voice is calling me beyond the chaos of my own cluttered thoughts.

I am painfully aware of the fact that there are many times my feelings and emotions cannot be completely trusted.  They have led me astray repeatedly and pulled me back to the edges of depression and despair.  They have caused me to question God's plan for me as I  become locked in a sense of failure and hopelessness.

So as I sit here in the quiet while my patient sleeps in merciful peace, I know that I can only wait silently for God's grace to answer my cries for help in discerning the Truth.

He has never failed me and He has promised that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).  He has fulfilled His promises to me so many times and His love is truly the light of my life.  For that I am endlessly grateful.

So once more I must be content to sit in the darkness and wait for a glimpse of His saving light.  I know that it will come.  It always does - just as He has promised.

Friday, March 1, 2013

From Darkness to Joy

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
                                                                      I Thessalonians 5:16-18

There are times when joy seems impossible . . .

                                                     - times of uncertainty

                                                     - times of loss

                                                     - times of fear

                                                     - times of sickness

                                                     - times of despair

It IS impossible to be joyful at such times in our own strength.

But through the power of prayer, God makes the impossible possible.

He reminds us to focus on all that is still good in our lives . . .
                                                     - family

                                                     - friends

                                                     - freedom

                                                     - food and shelter

                                                     - His unending and unfailing love and forgiveness

During my own struggles with depression and loss, there have been times when I felt completely abandoned and cut off from God.

But I know those feelings are not Truth.  They are only stealthily whispered lies of the enemy of my soul attempting to drag me away from the Light.

I have felt the fear and discouragement of David in Psalm 30:  "when you hid your face, I was dismayed." (v.7)

Like David, I have cried out, "Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help." (v.10)

And God has always answered my plea.  Maybe not always instantaneously.  Maybe not in a way I was able to recognize at first.  But always in His own perfect way and timing.

He has "turned my wailing into dancing . . . removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to  you and not be silent." (vv.11-12)

I know there will be more times when "weeping may remain for a night" but I also know I can trust that "rejoicing comes in the morning." (v.5)

God has given me all the instructions I need to find my way out of the darkness - unceasing prayer and gratitude.  I pray for His grace to live it out in my life.