I was on my way to swim at the Y this morning, bopping along with Springsteen (of course) blasting on the stereo. Suddenly, I had to pull the car over and sit in silence. To my right was a sunrise exploding in thousands of shades of red, pink, and orange. To my left was a huge rainbow reaching down from the sky.
I had to stop and marvel. I had to stop and reflect. I had to stop and worship. I had to stop and give thanks.
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (Psalm 19:1)
I felt like I was being tangibly held by the sovereignty and love of God. Through my tears of diverse thoughts and emotions, I heard, “I am still on my throne. I am the Lord of Eternity. I can do all things and no purpose of Mine can be thwarted. I got this.”
I have friends and family who are in a good season, celebrating, humming along, and enjoying life with no current major drama. I have friends and family who are facing daunting uphill climbs and the anxiety of uncertainty. I know people who are struggling with so many types of losses, anger, fear, confusion, and hurt. My heart is broken by the venom and cruelty poured out by human beings on one another. I am so saddened with the judgment, criticism, division, and splintering in life and in the Church on a level I’ve never experienced. Been doing a lot of grieving and praying.
For me personally, this has been a challenging year of multiple calamities, turmoil, pain, frustration, disappointment, red tape, lies, injustice, financial blows, and legal woes. It's been a rough year. Stress has been the key theme for 2016.
However, I’ve also seen impossibly beautiful sights that took my breath away. I’ve experienced kindness, generosity, love, listening, empathy, and support from amazing faithful friends. I’ve had a wonderful year of ministry. I’ve laughed until my face hurt. I’ve been surprised by joy in so many packages. I’ve been given lots and lots of grace. Tremendous, patient, amazing grace flowing from life-giving people and God Himself.
I’ve been teaching from AW Tozer’s classic Knowledge of the Holy again this year. I am always introduced anew to a bigger, clearer, more accurate experience of the God Who Sees. Immanuel. God Only Wise. The Almighty. The Lord of Hosts. Our Peace. The Redeemer. Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday and today and forever.
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6)
Instead of wearing me down, may the wrecking balls, holy sandpaper, and daily obnoxious pebble in my shoe serve to wear off the parts of me that don’t look like Jesus. I need renovation of my heart and mind, and Christ to live His life out in me. That’s not an easy task. Thank God He doesn’t give up on me.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. So glad it’s not “Thanksfeeling”. In my self-centered perspective, I don’t always feel thanks. But I can always give thanks. Circumstances, situations, experiences, and feelings change. Thanks be to the immoveable God of all Creation.
Surely my soul remembers
And is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
So thankful for you for all the friendship, prayers, support, and encouragement along the way. Blessed Thanksgiving!
August 2016 Weary
May 2016 Seasons of the Soul
November 2015 Still
October 2015 Continuous Partial Attention
August 2015 Look up
June 2015 Lead me to the Rock
April 2015 Embracing Limits
January 2015 One Thing
November 2014 Grateful
October 2014 Learning from Pain