Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Going Before Us

I was so encouraged this morning while reading Genesis 24.  In this chapter, Abraham wanted to be sure that his son, Isaac, had a Godly wife.  Abraham instructed one of his servants to go back to his home country to find a wife for Isaac.  The servant asked Abraham what he should do if the woman would not come back with him.  Abraham said that the God of heaven would send "His angel before you", and if the woman was not willing to come back with him, then he was released from his responsibility.  This was encouraging because it reminds me that I am responsible for my own obedience, not the response of others.

Reading on, we see that the servant reached Abraham's homeland, stopped at a well and prayed to God.  He was very specific in His prayer, which I found interesting.  BEFORE he had finished praying (vs. 15), Rebekah shows up.  The scene works out exactly as the servant had asked God for it to!  The servant goes with Rebekah to meet her father.  He shares the situation with Laban (Rebekah's father), describing his detailed prayer and how God answered it to the letter.  Laban said, "This is from the LORD: we can say nothing to you one way or the other.  Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master's son, as the LORD has directed." (emphasis mine) In the margin of my Bible I wrote a note beside this verse that says, "When God works - it is obvious!" 

Long story short, Rebekah agrees to become Isaac's wife, which also encourages me because of the amount of faith it took for her to agree to that.  It also shows her act of obedience to God's will - a reminder to me that my faith requires a deliberate act of obedience for it to be true faith.

I hope this encourages you as well.  God directs our paths. He is intimately involved in our lives.  We are exhorted in Proverbs 3:4-5 to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Unfortunately those verses have become almost cliche in Christian circles.  However, that is exactly what we need to do.  Too many times we rationalize things and try to work things out on our own; after all, "God helps those who help themselves", right?  Not exactly.  He already has things worked out for us; we just need to get on the same page and follow His directions.  His story ALWAYS ends up much better than any we could write for ourselves.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Door of Mourning

 Sadness closes in on me
like a door being shut.
On the other side is happiness, 
joy, singing & laughter.
There is no lock on this door,
so I can open it at anytime.
But for now I'll just sit here
in the dark, in the silence.
Until my ears adjust & I can 
once again hear the celebration
that is taking place on the other side.
Then I'll stand up, reach for the door knob,
turn it & open the door.
I'll step through into the warmth
of the sunlight & once again 
join the singing & laughing.
But I'm not ready just yet.
So I'll just sit here & wait,
& mourn behind the door. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 
 There is a time for everything,
  and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

I wrote this poem after losing a beloved family dog, Dixie.  Even though she was "just a dog", she really was so much more - to us.  Grieving is a necessary part of loss.  Grief has taken me places before where it became a trap instead of a process.  I won't let that happen this time.  I'm not going to pretend that my heart isn't broken and that I'm not extremely sad.  But I'm not going to allow myself to live in this place again.  I will give myself time.  There will be a day, soon, when I'm ready to stand up and open that door.