|Life is an error-making and an error-correcting process, and nature in marking man’s papers will grade him for wisdom as measured both by survival and by the quality of life of those who survive.”
I am blown away by the capacity human beings have to survive. Just today, some of the life stories people shared with me included a man being in the same bed with his wife who shot herself, a Grandfather opening his curtains in the morning to see the lifeless body of his Grandson hung from the second story, serious drug use since age 10, physical abuse and molestation, attempted suicides, IV drug use since age 13, a child witnessing his own father kill 5 people so that he could score heroin, a mother selling her daughter’s body so she could purchase Vodka…
It is not surprising that the people who shared these stories have bodies ravaged by drugs and alcohol; and souls ravaged by sin. Who could bear it? Yet, the bravery of the people I’m hearing these accounts from is what stands out to me. Poor choices have been made, yes. Their judgment is poor, yes. But, they are at a point where they are seeking help. They of their own will are submitting themselves to a withdrawal that at the time seems like the most painful thing in their life. Some also are experiencing “feelings” for the first time in years; rather than self medicating into numbness.
I believe that what it boils down to is that no matter what sin-sick lives these dear souls have lived, there is still room for hope in their hearts. That is what it takes to go from mere survival to a thriving life. Without hope people die. Some of these people believe that they’d be better off dead, and yet they live. Though some of these people have seen very little good happen in their own lives, they hold out for a better life… which is the essence of hope after all, isn’t it? “Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?”
The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote that “I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed- and they have no comforter; power was on the side of the oppressor- and they have no comforter. And I declared that the dead who had already died are happier than the living who are still alive.” (Ecc. 4:1,2)
The thing is, the Comforter has come. He dwells in you and I, believer. He wants to be released to touch the world. That will happen through us, if we’ll let Him. It is so very humbling how simple kindness and compassion elicit tears and hugs and genuine gratitude from the same people I’ve mentioned above. I see that as the work of the Comforter.
And, I see hope rise up.
“Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24
Father, I pray that Your hope will rise up in souls ravaged by sin today. Where people know You, I pray that they would come to know You better and lean on You more. In souls who have yet to experience Your saving grace, I pray that You reveal Yourself to them and that Your life invade their mere existence, illuminating their world. I pray for the Comforter to fill breaking hearts with peace, love, strength and fresh hope for a new day. Help us to be Your hands and feet in this broken world. It is for Your glory that I pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.
“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those it will not break it kills. It kills the very good, and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these, you can be sure it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.”
It is an interesting season in my life. I am busy working for two very different groups of people. I begin the day providing care for some of the most respected and revered members of society. After a few good hours with them, I travel a short ways to provide healthcare for some of the more feared, outcast, despised and rejected members of society.
I have been reminded everyday of how God loves us impartially. Made to remember that none of us are anything apart from Him. Reminded that no matter how we look or talk or smell or act, all that matters in the end is whether or not we know Jesus.
Sorry about the harshness of the Hemingway quote here, but the prince of this world is out to steal, kill and destroy and it respects no man… But, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have have eternal life.
That is the Good News! To the Lord all men are alike. It is He who sees the heart. He sees the same need in each of us for His salvation. He loved us so much that He made a way for us all. It doesn’t matter what we do or do not do, how successful or how lacking we may find ourselves. Whether we’re sin sick or prideful, we all need a Savior.
My personal challenge and point of self examination has been to ask myself if I can love like Jesus loves. Am I able to look at each of these people in the course of a day as having the same value and worth. Am I treating them with the same impartiality as Christ does? “For there is no respect of persons with God.” Romans 2:11 Am I treating them as equal? Because before the Lord, we all have the same need.
Father, again I pray that you teach me to love as you do. I pray that You help me in continuous ways day by day that Your love is not based on our outward circumstances or appearance, nor any inward quality of our own, but it’s all about who You are. You are love! I want to love as You do.
“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have broken some new ground this week. It seems that there is still so much new and so much old with me right now. This is definitely a year of personal and professional transition. Many of them. The thing is, that I find myself wanting to embrace and run with the new, but also having a difficult time letting go of the old. It’s not just that I’m cruising at around 110 mph about 500 miles outside of my comfort zone, though some days it seems that way… BIG TIME! But, I also am losing the comfort of other patterns of life and associates at work who have become good friends and a certain comfort of being able to call the shots more easily in regard to my schedule. I am letting go of seniority to become a freshman again. My work associates are strangers as yet. The hours are different, the days are longer.
I have studied for this. I have prayed for this. I have sought the direction of the Lord in this transition time. He has blessed. He has led. He has answered. He has given me favor. He has opened new doors of opportunity. I am grateful. And yet, I am uncomfortable. I have not found my groove yet. I am grooveless.
But, my heart is His. My times are in His hands. While I have felt at times like I wish someone could just make a few decisions for me, I have been reminded that I am not in this life alone. Though the Heavens haven’t opened and I’ve heard no audible shout from the clouds, still I have sensed the direction of the Lord. I trust that His Word is true.
As the Lord has cared for His people and is likened to a mother bird helping it’s young to fly, this is what I sense the Lord is doing with me… “In a desert land He found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; He guarded him as the apple of His eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young and spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions. The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him.” (Dt 32:10-12).
I trust that I will learn to fly in the days to come. I am certain that what is now new and uncertain will settle into a more comfortable routine. I also sense that my transitions for the year have only just begun. I feel within me an ever increasing need to seek and trust the direction of the Lord and to pray for wisdom when I can’t clearly hear Him or see the path. I do know that while I don’t know what the future holds, He does. I know that I have enough light on the path to take my next step. For now, that will be enough.
Father, I trust YOU. I don’t place my trust, my future, my gifts or my needs in the hands of anything hollow that this world could offer. I declare my trust in You! You are my peace in uncertain times, in transition and in stretching. You are my light. You are the path. You have led and will continue to lead me in paths of righteousness and paths of blessing. I thank You for what You are showing me and teaching me in this season of opportunity and change. Help me to not be timid or shrink back to the familiar for the sake of my own comfort, but to climb with You to new heights. Father, I pray that I will bring You glory in all these things and that I will say yes when You say yes and no when you say no. Be glorified in me , I pray, in Jesus name. Amen.