Thursday, August 29

there is just so much .... so.very.much.

we likely could all say this at one time or another

I feel like I am eating my own words these days, as I look around me and see so much pain
well maybe not eating my own words, but definitely putting my own words to the test
(having just delivered a sermon a couple weeks ago on suffering and pain)
there is just so much
so much suffering
so much cancer
O Lord ... there is just so much.

"I am with you"

Yes Lord, I know that
But sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I could see you
and I wish I could talk to you - face to face
I wish I could see your eyes!!
I wish I could ask you the hard questions that just always seem to rise to the surface
You know Lord ...
all those "why God" questions
that there are no answers for ...
at least not on this side of heaven
and I have a feeling when I see you in heaven - my questions won't mean a thing any more!

"Trust Me"
Lord.  I do.
Or at least I THINK I do.
It really is called "blind trust"
because I am choosing to trust - even when I can't see
I am choosing to trust - even when it looks dark
I am choosing to trust ~ even when it feels like there is no good answer coming
I am choosing to trust - because I know that you are GOD and YOU are in control!

"Do you believe it though?"
Of course God - of course I believe you are in control
Of course I know I need to trust you with all my heart
Of course I believe!!
But well, sometimes God - I feel like I am going through motions
And I hear my words coming out but sometimes I feel like my heart is trying to catch up
But I do believe
O Lord, help my unbelief at times!
O Lord, strengthen my faith!

"Will you trust me in the dark too?"
Lord, I think I have trusted you in the dark
I called it the dark night of the soul
It was so dark - so incredibly black.
I trusted you because well, because I felt like I had nothing else!!
Nothing but you!!
I know that.
You are truth, and life
beginning and end
rock, shelter, refuge, provider,
creator, guide, shield, King, judge,
Almighty, beautiful Saviour, the Door, Eternal One,
faithful and true, the Good Shepherd,
I know that you are just and good, that you are loving and kind
that you are merciful and near to the brokenhearted
I know that you are the RISEN LORD, and that you alone are GOD!!
So yes Lord, I will trust you - even in the dark.

"Then give me you family.  Give me your friends.  Give me your journey...
Entrust each one you love, each one you are praying for ... along with your own life...
Entrust it all into my care!!"
Lord, there is so much - like I said - with cancer alone, it feels like there are so many suffering
(trust me)
I wake up at night - and think of them - and pray
(trust me)
Sometimes I feel like I have my kids, my grandkids clutched tightly in my hands
(give them to me completely - trust me!)
And my friends ... O God, there is just so much!
I see their facebook status, I talk with some on the phone
I hear about them through mutual friends
(trust me)
O Lord - help me to lift them before your throne

"And you too!!!  I am here - give me your stuff too"
Yes Lord, I am just feeling a little out of sync
A little tired - and in need of some good quiet time with you
Feeling a little overwhelmed with how full life is at times
And with the pain around me
It just seems deep and like a surrounding circle
It just seems like so very much...
that I just seem too tired to even talk out loud to you...
I am so glad Holy Spirit that you are living within me - and you speak -
with groans that can not be expressed in words ...

hmmm... maybe that is what I can hear if I am really really quiet!
just before I fall asleep
I am so glad Lord - that you are here for me - always
and you... you never slumber or sleep!!
I love you.

This is the scripture that just came to mind - it is one of my favourites!!  This is about my/our God!!

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

Saturday, August 24

the sermon

It feels like it has been forever - and well, I guess it has been a couple weeks.  My thoughts have been tied up in sermon prep for a sermon that I presented today, at our home church (Eastview Community Church).  It was a sermon on When Life Hands You Lemons - or "living well when life isn't" ...
or the bottom line - it was a sermon on pain and suffering.

I struggled through sermon prep.  Now, I love the prep part as there is always something that I learn when God has me preparing a sermon.  I cut and paste, cut and paste... add something here - delete - save - print - read it out loud - and on and on.  However it was right around Tuesday of last week - that God made it clear, that the sermon was done - and now I just needed to read it out loud a few times, so that it would flow well on delivery day.

Delivery Day - it was last Sunday - and in both services.

I get asked often - "do you get nervous?"  I do get nervous.  Actually pretty nervous.  However, I also think that if I didn't - then I would be doing it in my own strength - now in God's.  Usually after the first few lines - I feel like God just unfolds it.  And then - it is done.

I was very conscious last Sunday - of the pain within our circle - within our congregation at large - and within our friendships - and as I shared last Sunday - it is so obvious - that life is NOT an easy stroll - but instead - it is hard work. That Jesus never promised our life following him would be easy - NO - he told his disciples in John 16:33 - that in the world there would be troubles but that He has overcome the world!!

Our church it seems, has gone through hard stuff - pain and loss - since the new year.  On Sunday - I was VERY aware of pain and suffering within the congregation as I saw tears flowing after.
I also feel like we have - within our little family - the pain and loss - losing my sweet friend Audrey, and then my oldest niece within weeks later.  Lately, I have been struggling with some physical suffering - with the same old fibromyalgia issues.  My sister has been having some health issues - and my close friend is waiting to go through chemotherapy after a double mastectomy.  And then add to that - hearing about friends from school who are battling their own cancer fights ...

Looking at the pain and suffering - could paralyze us couldn't it.  Sometimes it seems like even cancer alone - is crowding into our inner circles - and it is just plain ugly.  And I have come to realize that there are times when I can become very consumed with my own pain that I can get into my own little pity party quite nicely - and well that isn't good for me or anybody.

The year that we lost our little Jay - I had begun the year - as I do EVERY YEAR in my journal - with giving it to God - from January 1 to December 31st - every single day.  Of course we don't know what the year will hold - we found that out in 2008 when the year looked like it was packed full of celebration!  (no one ever thought of our little grandson's silent birth would be part of our year) Thing is - this is how we live - in really - blind trust - taking one step and then another - sometimes trying to plan - sometimes flying by the seat of our pants.  But all along - we are walking a journey with Jesus leading/walking with us/carrying us/rejoicing over us/singing over us/delighting in us ...  Jesus must be the main part of our days!!  Keeping our eyes FIXED on Jesus - oh YES!!

ANYHOW ... those are some of my thoughts - some of you had asked about the sermon - and if you want - you can go to our church's website and click on the link and listen/watch for yourself.