If God is Good

I’ve had this on my want-to-read-someday list for several years now. I really like every thing that I’ve read and listened to on the topic of suffering on Randy Alcorn’s blog epm.org and listening to him on youtube.

It’s a big book but the 45 chapters are short enough that I think I can read one chapter a day. If not, I know if I set a goal of a chapter a day I at least can finish it by the end of the year.

I wanted to share a quote with you that he shares in chapter one. Viktor Frankl, an Auschwitz survivor wrote, “Just as the small fire is extinguished by the storm whereas a large fire is enhanced by it, likewise a weak faith is weakened by predicaments and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them.”

A little food for thought today!

“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Mark 9:24

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questions, waiting, fear, thanksgiving and why?

Several weeks back while undressing I found a lump near my breast. After finding the one lump I did a self breast exam and found another. While I knew that lumps can be totally normal and that I have no family history of breast cancer, I think any woman would get nervous about an odd looking lump.

I’m not good at waiting. Patience does not come easily for me. First, I had to wait until Monday to call the doctor because it was a Saturday night. Then, the doctor wanted me to wait until I had a period since hormones can cause lumps. Finally, my appointment was made and I was so relieved that I would finally get some answers. That is until after doing an exam the doctor set me up for an ultra sound the following week. So there I was with another week to go. After the ultra sound, it took 6 days for me to get the results back.

I called the nurse who said, “your diagnosis is blah blah blah blah blah,” as she struggled through some big words that meant nothing to me. “Is that good or bad?” I asked. “Um.. I’ll be right back.” And then I was on hold trying to decide if those words sounded scary or not. She got back on the phone. “The doctor said, no cancer, they are benign lumps that the doctor recommends getting rechecked every 6 months to make sure they haven’t changed.” I let out my breath that felt like I had been holding for a few weeks.

Over the last few weeks I knew that most likely there wasn’t anything major wrong. The doctor initially thought it was my lymph nodes that were enlarged so I was thinking along the lines of an infection. But still.. I do have an uncle who had hodgkin’s lymphoma… what if…?

What if God was going to call me to suffer this? What if my work on earth is done? Could I suffer in a way that glorified him? What about my children? Have I lived my life so far to it’s fullest potential?

This morning I was praying for someone who is most likely in the final stages of fighting a terrible disease. And I wondered why? Why not me? I was moved to worship God with a clearer understanding of His mercy. Because I don’t deserve good health. I deserve nothing but God’s wrath. Some how though, I am receiving His blessing and His great mercy today. It made me view my life with a kind of fear as I thought, “I’m here for a reason or else God would take me home.” O LORD help me to live for Your purposes! Let me not squander the precious blessing of life You have given to me so undeserved!

Caedmon’s call has a song called Mystery of Mercy that goes;

My God, my God, why hast thou accepted me?
When all my love was vinegar to a thirsty king
My God, my God, why hast thou accepted me?
It’s a Mystery of mercy and of song
The song I sing

I realize so much of my life I spend asking “Why?” about the wrong things. “Why am I suffering? Why am I carrying this grief? Why am I sick?” Instead of asking, “Why did He suffer for me? Why did he bear my sickness, my shame and my sorrow? Why was He acquainted with grief? Why has He made me His friend?

Today is an incredible gift. Yes, I have trials but I also have blessings that other’s would give so much to have. I have the gift of movement and independence that a quadriplegic spends their life dreaming about. I don’t have cancer! I have two children when I used to wonder if I would ever have a child. I have an abundance of so many things that I don’t ever want to take for granted. And I’m thankful for this little trial of patience and faith that I went through because I was blessed with a little more eternal perspective and a little better understanding of God’s mercy.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” Romans 12:12

Book Review- Just Like Jesus By: Max Lucado

I picked this up at the library a couple week’s ago and it has truly been a blessing! The cover looks a little corny with an image of Jesus and a shadow of a man under him, but this is a case of ‘don’t judge a book by the cover.’
It’s easy to read, I’ve been using it like a devotional the last couple of weeks. It’s a little dose of falling in love with Jesus by reminding the reader of Who Jesus is, how He lived His life and all that He has done and wants to do through us.
Each chapter is a look at a different attribute of Christ and focuses on how God wants to change the heart of His believer’s to conform to His image. The tag line of the book is “God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be… JUST LIKE JESUS.”
Topics covered include forgiveness, compassion, hearing God’s voice, following/ being led by God, worship, honesty, purity, spiritual endurance and more.
One of my favorite chapters was chapter 5, “Being led by an unseen hand- A God intoxicated heart.” He shares an interesting thought in the first few paragraphs. He tells how he used to view God as the CEO of a company where he would come before Him, get some support and direction and then leave to go about his work. He explains how his perception was changed by 2 Corinthians 6:1 which refers to us as “workers together with him.” Max Lucado says, “Fellow workers? Collaborators? God and I work together? Imagine the paradigm shift this truth creates. Rather than report to God, we work with God. Rather than check in with him and then leave, we check in with him and then follow. We are always in the presence of God. We never leave church. There is never a nonsacred moment! His presence never diminishes. Our awareness of his presence may falter, but the reality of his presence never changes.”
This chapter also contains some entries in a journal kept by a man named Frank Laubach who was born 1884 and worked as a missionary to those who were illiterate. He kept a journal recording his attempt to keep unbroken prayer and thoughts of God in his heart as he worked and lived his life. It’s really interesting to read through.
I would recommend this to a believer in need of some encouragement by being reminded of some basic truth’s about Jesus.

A sweet little answer to prayer..

Yesterday morning I wrote in my prayer journal something I had prayed many times for. I asked God that my children would feel Him through me. Yesterday I had the sweetest little answer to that prayer and I wanted to write it down so I don’t forget it. I think you will think it is sweet as well.

Last night my husband unexpectedly got off work a little early so we were in the process of packing up for an impromptu bike ride when my daughter while attempting to potty outside (don’t ask- country living lol) got pee all over her feet. I was tempted to grumble at her for making a mess but I thought “If Jesus can wash the feet of Judas his enemy then I can clean up this child I love with a smile.” I got a towel and put her little arm around my neck to steady her as I cleaned off one leg and foot and then the other. I let my lips brush against her cheek for a moment. “You look like God washing my feet.” she said. “What?” I asked. “You look like God washing my feet. I used my imagination.” she added with a chuckle.

She remembered me reading her the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet from the Jesus Story Book Bible.In that moment I was so thankful I had responded to her need with love because if I had not she would not be recalling the story of Jesus’ service to His disciples and she would not have experienced associating a tender touch from her mom with Jesus’ love.

I hope I can remember this moment next time I’m in a rush and my children want something or need something. I hope I can stop and realize that those are the opportunities to show them Christ. When my daughter wants to spread the jelly on her own sandwich and I take joy in watching her instead of telling her no for fear of a mess, I am teaching her God delights in His children. When I stop and cuddle my children in spite of being in the middle of a chore I want done, I am teaching them that God has time for them. As parents we have been given each day to show our children little glimpses of true love and what it means to have a heavenly Father who loves them and gave Himself for them.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for blessing me with my children. Help me to love them today like You love them and to serve them like You have served me. May my children come to know You in a real and personal way and please help me each day with both my life and my words to show them You.