Friday, March 23, 2012

Take Me Into The Beautiful

In this broken life, I often long for my home in heaven. Little tastes of heaven are all around, though flawed and masked by sin and decay. This song reminds me that though trials and disappointments may seem to last forever, my faith in Jesus will soon "take me into the Beautiful."

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
John 7:37-38

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

You hem me in

My morning reading offered encouragement for those who feel stuck in situations beyond their control:

"O restless heart - beating against the prison bars of your circumstances and longing for a wider realm of usefulness - allow God to direct all your days. Patience and trust, even in the midst of the monotony of your daily routine, will be the best preparation to courageously handle the stress and strain of a greater opportunity, which God may someday send."
(excerpt from: Streams in the Desert)

And how do we trust when we have no clear answers to the pain and frustration we must endure?

"What does a child do whose mother or father allows something to be done which it cannot understand? There is only one way of peace. It is the child's way. The loving child trusts.
  I believe that we who know our God, and have proved Him good past telling, will find rest there. The faith of the child rests on the character it knows. So may ours; so shall ours.
"There is only one place where we can receive not an answer to our question, but peace - that place is Calvary. An hour at the foot of the Cross steadies the soul as nothing else can. 'O Christ beloved, Thy Calvary stills all our questions.' Love that loves like that can be trusted about this." 
(excerpt from: Rose From Brier)

Friday, March 16, 2012


Jupiter (left) and Venus (right) came very close together in the sky this week. When I looked up, I couldn't miss the two vivid points of light piercing through the night. It reminded me of the song "Shine" by Salvador:

"Lord let me shine, shine like the moon,
A reflection of You in all that I do.
Lord let me be a light for Your truth;
Light of the world, I wanna be used to shine for You."

These planets (and the moon) emit no light by themselves. But being in the presence of the sun transforms them into reflectors of its magnificent glory - even in especially in deep darkness.

When I'm enduring trials, I sometimes feel like the solitary moon, full of craters and imperfections, unable to provide any light on my own. However, these planets remind me that Jesus, the light of the world, is glorified when He is reflected, even by an isolated orb going about its daily path. Size and strength are of no importance, as "tiny" Venus shines brighter than giant Jupiter. Proximity is all that matters. The closer we come to Him, the brighter He will shine to those near us.

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
2 Corinthians 3:18

Monday, March 5, 2012

Scrap Yarn

When I crochet, I have a pile of scrap yarn that I keep near my full skeins. It looks like a complete mess, mixed with various colors and lengths, all thrown in there together. Any person unfamiliar with my work would likely think it should be thrown out. But as the maker of my project, I see the usefulness of those little pieces. I probe the pile until I find just the right one and designate it for a few special stitches that are isolated and stand out against the background.

As I was crocheting with one of those short strands last month, I continued on too far and neglected to switch to the long yarn for the background. Realizing my mistake, I saw how the poor little piece had been used up, struggling to do more than its allotted task. It was trying to do a job meant for a much longer piece of yarn, a job it was never cut out to do. Suddenly, I felt a strange affinity for that tired little scrap.

In early February, a medical specialist confirmed what another physician had told me 8-9 years ago - that I likely have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which the medical community considers a "throw-away diagnosis." Doctors have said that they literally don't know what causes it or how to treat the syndrome, and so CFS is a label for the unknown. It's not even worth bothering to put it in my medical chart, they say, because it cannot help me get well. Due to this poorly understood condition and my significant limitations, I used to wonder what God could possibly do with me and my short supply of energy.

On days when I watched TV, I'd think to myself: "How am I serving God? I can't travel to foreign lands as a missionary. I can't even interact with people at a workplace." However, in spite of my isolation and throw-away diagnosis, the Bible assures me that I, myself, am never discarded as useless by God. My allotted jobs for the day, though not demanding, still have much value: an email sent to encourage a friend, a smile and hug for my mom or grandma, praying for someone going through troubled times, even resting in God's presence, worshiping him, and thinking about his Word rather than dwelling on fear and worry. These are good and pleasing tasks in the Lord's sight.

When my energy runs out quickly and I end up curling into a ball out of sheer fatigue, I have to remember that the short strands are ones the Maker saves with a tender heart to use for important tasks - ones that are vital to His end result. We who feel discouraged and useless need only submit to the Father's wise weaving. If we continue to offer our lives, determining to endure in faith, we will surely rejoice when we see His glorious work completed in and through us.

Paul the apostle wrote:
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

To the casual observer, Paul’s ministry appeared to be over. After all, he was getting older and for the second time in his life, he was stuck in a Roman jail, unable to do what he’d done before. But God doesn’t count the value of our days as man does. In His eyes, a bedridden believer in a nursing home still has a purpose and a calling from Him. You can be sure that if you are breathing, the Lord still has plans for you. ~Dr. Charles Stanley
 From: Courage in the Lonely Hour