Chance of Showers

storm-clouds-above-the-field-grass-sky-nature-1920x1200-wallpaper360974With the internet down for the past three days (ah, country living!) I’ve come to realize just how much I depend on the crazy thing! Is it going to rain, or will these clouds move out? Wow! It’s given me an appreciation for farmers who lived before any broadcasting system! So, should I hang the sheets out to dry or not? You may wonder, “Why take the chance?” If you’ve never slept on sheets hung out to dry in the fresh summer air, then you wouldn’t understand! The sheets come off the line crisp and smelling like fresh air. But should I risk it?

This relatively minor quandary reminds me of the dilemma we face when giving someone the Gospel. Should I risk offending them, or having them belittle me? Will they become angry and reject the message? We don’t know; and unlike so many ads that we hear today, there are no guarantees.  Jesus only said, “Go!” But wait! That’s not true.  He also said this:

…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 28:20

He promises to go with us, even if it’s just across the street! What a comfort to know that He is with us in every situation, especially when we are sharing the Gospel. He will help us to know what to say and what NOT to say, when to speak and when to be quiet. We are not responsible for the results because we cannot do the “saving.” That’s the work of the Lord. We’re only responsible for going because it is a command of God.

I remember hearing the story about a man who witnessed to a person whom he had been praying for for a long time.  The man slammed the door in his face, and the ‘Gospel-giver’ went to his car, sat there a moment, and began to weep for the other man’s soul. He prayed and felt that the Lord wanted him to try again, and when he returned to the door, the man let him in and trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior. That’s an example of a man who never even looks at the forecast! Praise the Lord.  There is truly no greater joy than having the privilege to lead someone to Christ—it’s better than sheets fresh off the line!

Chance of showers? Well, since it’s been a few hours since I started this post, I can tell you that it did rain, but not until I got the sheets off the line!

 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.Proverbs 11:30

Just a Taste

chocolate-meio-amargo-alfarroba-melhor-opcao-para-dieta-58878As I face another good-bye, I’m working HARD to keep focused! Our youngest son and his little family have been here for a week now. The Lord has blessed us with perfect weather and wonderful opportunities to pack in the memories! Now, it’s time to get back to “normal.”

Normal—what does that look like? Well, for me, it means one son and his family living 1,292miles away, this son and his family 674 miles living away, and our daughter and her family just down the road eleven miles. Up until March, our oldest son was just twenty miles down the road. We’re a close-knit family. We love to be together. One of my favorite family activities is singing together. We’ve ministered together, and for years that was “normal.” But it’s not normal now, and I’m still struggling to adjust to my new normal. How can I do that?

O taste and see…

I’ve “tasted” that sweet manna of my family all around me, so how do I settle for less? How do I settle for flavored chocolate when I’ve eaten Ghirardelli’s?

Little by little, the pieces fall into place, and I’ve come to realize that part of the healing process in any situation is understanding the pain. Why am I struggling so? Why can’t I just get over this? Why can’t I just be happy with where I am in life? Do you find yourself asking those questions? Well, I have the answers! NOT! But… I do know Someone who does, and He has taught me a few things:

  1. Get the labels right. This new normal is not less perfect than the old normal because it is God’s normal for me! How can a spouse endure the loss of a lifetime best friend unless he or she embraces this thought? How does a person endure a career change when he has lost his dream job? How does a mom deal with an injury that leaves her healthy child crippled? How can we cope when a teen chooses to stray down a deadly path?

O taste and see that the LORD is good…

In Psalm 34, David tells us to “taste and see” that the Lord is good! David wrote this psalm while he was running from Saul. He ran to Gaza, a major city of Israel’s enemies, the Philistines, and ended up feigning madness to escape. Great circumstances, don’t you think? He had enjoyed great success, but now he was a hunted man, and yet he gives us so many nuggets of true faith in this psalm.

  1. Live in the moment. That might sound like worldly advice but it is good advice. When we live in the past or live for the future, we miss today! Another way to put it, which is not original to me, is “keep your mind where your body is.”

Later, when David longed for the waters of Bethlehem, three of his valiant men risked their lives by breaking through the Philistine battle lines in order to grant his request. Longing for the past or hoping for the future can be deadly! At the very least, it makes us miserable today. It can also bring on depression and bitterness—two of Satan’s sharpest and deadliest weapons!

  1. Trust, trust, trust! Do I really believe that God knows best or are they just words?

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8

Spurgeon writes this:

“No one knows how sweet honey is till he tastes it, and even so the sweetness of true religion cannot be learned by mere hearing, we must try it for ourselves.  O Lord, help all in this family to prove the power of faith in Jesus, and the efficacy [effectiveness] of prayer to God for themselves.”quote

Trials will taste bitter unless we look past them to the One
who holds the spoon! Then we
see the love in His eyes, and His look sweetens the bitterest pill. We hear the love in His gentle voice, and we know that it is good because He only does what is best. We are blessed because we trust Him!

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. (v. 10)

Again, Spurgeon writes:

“Lions are strong, fierce, and crafty, yet they hunger; men of the world are also very cunning and full of self-confidence, yet they are not satisfied.  But humble believers, though often weak, and in the world’s judgment, very foolish, are yet blessed with every needful blessing by their gracious God.”

Can you be a humble believer? Can you yield to whatever God puts in your path?  That’s the question that I ask myself, and I’m afraid to say, “no!” More than that, I don’t WANT to say, “no” because…

The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

AND…

The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (16-18)

One last note from Spurgeon, who fought what was called “causeless depression” most of his life:

“What a blessing to have a tender sense of sin.  We have heard of persons dying of a broken heart, but if repentance breaks our hearts we shall live eternally.”