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.”

Advertisements

When Hope Doesn’t Come

 

 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick:

but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life

.Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred: late, delayed, postponed, tardy, overdue.

What do we do when our hope is delayed, postponed, or overdue?

My last post was written with joy and anticipation because my newest grandson was on his way to Grandpa and Grandma’s house for the first time.  Oh, the desire came, and if that’s the tree of life—well then, the tree of life is a really wonderful thing!

However, the reason for the visit was so that our son could audition at Penn State University for their Piano Performance Doctoral program.  However, a week before that, he received an email stating that there had been an oversight on their part.  Because his undergraduate work was done at a university which was not regionally accredited, he did not qualify, EVEN THOUGH he was finishing his master’s at an accredited university.  In spite of all the phone calls from both universities and conversations with professors, they would not budge, and my hope was not only deferred, it was dashed to the ground!   My heart continues to cry, “THAT’S NOT FAIR!!!”

You see, that audition would have opened the possibility that my newest grandson (oh yes, and his parents :)) would only be an hour and a half from here instead of eleven hours.  I didn’t realize how much I had already placed them there until the crash came!

Well, what do you do?  For me, I wrestled it to the Lord, and submitted to the fact that they would be in Wisconsin, near my daughter-by-choice’s family.  That was good.  I was happy for them.  It could work out.  However, that was not to be either!  Lord, what are you doing?????

So, second wrestling came into place.  God wants them to stay in South Carolina.

Now we move to our other son, who lives twenty minutes from us—the one who is interviewing in SOUTH DAKOTA!!!  What is this, Lord?  Who moves to South Dakota?  What’s there that isn’t here? 

It seems as though the Lord has really been putting us through the paces.  I suppose the situation surrounding the writing of “The Darkest Day of My Life.”  is far enough in the past to now mention it. Back in November, our nightmare started when I was accused of child abuse while subbing in our public elementary school.  Then the family also filed a harassment charge. That all hung over our heads throughout the holidays, but, praise the Lord, the abuse case was concluded as “unfounded” and the harassment, “not guilty.”  However, I’m still not back to work, waiting on a decision from the school district.  It seems as though the saying, “Innocent until proven guilty” is really the opposite: guilty until proven innocent, and then we’re still not sure.  Hopefully, they will soon consider me an asset and not a liability.

Woe is me! Hope deferred.  And what do we do when “the desire” never comes?  We pray, but God doesn’t see fit to answer our prayers according to  OUR plan. Why does He do that?

This is what I’ve found:

  1. God is ALWAYS good,

  2. God is ALWAYS right,

  3. God ALWAYS does what is BEST for me.

Here’s an illustration which may help us to see the situation more clearly: We hear a crash. We see a column of smoke several miles away.  We look as hard as we can, but we can’t see what has happened! But, the man in the helicopter who flies overhead knows exactly what is there.  He sees very clearly, not only the column of smoke, but he sees the crash.  He sees the path of wreckage, possibly even the cause of the accident.  He can even see survivors!

Our view of life is so limited, but we serve a God who sees the whole picture.  He knows the beginning and the end and every step in between.  He even sees my heart and knows the idols that are there.  He is the Great Physician-Surgeon who can take the scalpel of His plan and carve it into my will.  It may hurt A LOT, but I CAN trust in Him!  AND I will choose to trust in Him.  Please know that there is no other way for you to live closely by His side and have peace in your heart, joy in your step, and strength to walk the path when it’s strewn with disappointments and heartaches.  Our God is GOOD!!!!

Fullscreen capture 2212016 75153 AM.bmp

 

 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest (dwell confidently) in hope.Psalm 16:9

 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.Psalm 31:24

 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. Jeremiah 18:12 YIKES!!! Lord, help me not to do this!

This I recall (make to return to my heart) to my mind, therefore have I hope.Lamentations 3:21

Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Acts 2:26 Look at the verses surrounding this verse.  They are part of Peter’s Pentecostal sermon:

For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 25-28

Wet Feet

  And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.Exodus 14:21

Most believers are familiar with the Biblical account which records God’s parting of the Red Sea, even though Hollywood and many children’s books may not get everything quite accurate. What a wonderful example of the power of God! No wonder the world has a hard time believing that it really happened!

A less familiar story is found at the end of their wanderings, preceding their entrance into the Promised Land:

 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap…Joshua 3:15,16

 Picture it: The Israelites have completed their forty-year wilderness wandering and are now standing at the Jordan River’s edge.  Jericho has been scouted out, and they are ready to enter into the Promised Land!  Again, a body of waters stands in their way until it too parts, but there is a slight difference:  Certainly, it was the power of God that parted the waters and created a dry base for nearly three million people to pass over; however, the water never moved until the priests’ feet dipped into the water.

The following passage tells us a little more about this crossing:

The river was thus dried up as far as the eye could reach. This was a stupendous miracle; Jordan takes its name, “the Descender,” from the force of its current, which, after passing the Sea of Galilee, becomes greatly increased as it plunges through twenty-seven “horrible rapids and cascades,” besides a great many lesser through a fall of a thousand feet, averaging from four to five miles an hour [LYNCH].  When swollen “in time of harvest,” it flows with a vastly accelerated current. (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown) Commentary

We don’t know exactly where this crossing took place, but we see that the Jordan was “overflowing its banks.”  This generation of wanderers had only heard about the Red Sea parting, now it is their turn!  Do you see the big difference in the two partings? Wet feet!  The people just stood and watched in awe as the Red Sea parted before them, but this time, twelve men got to really test the waters!  These twelve priests were the leaders of their tribes.  They were leading their families, and they were taking a step of faith.

That’s the difference between entering the wilderness and entering the Promised Land: a step of faith.  How often we stay in the wilderness because we are afraid to take that step of faith!  We are God’s children; we have trusted Him for our salvation; we believe in Him and what He’s done, but we can’t trust Him for tomorrow’s unknown! 

Here’s another lesson for me through this trying time.  Just to recap if you haven’t been following my husband’s accident: Wednesday, he fell twelve feet to concrete when his ladder slid, breaking his hip and crushing his heel.  Thursday, surgery. Monday, we’re told three things: He was going to the in-hospital rehab (yippy!  No transportation!); He was going home (well, transportation but he’d be home); He would just stay in the Joint Center (I’ll pick door number three!) We were really fine with all three, but door number two was the final answer.  We prayed that we would know what was best, and that we wouldn’t have to make the decision (we haven’t worked much with hospitals!).  By eight-thirty on Tuesday morning, we had our answer; however, we were also told that we would have to be at the doctor’s office the following morning at eight-fifteen!

I panicked.  My mind raced back to those trips home from the hospital following my three C-sections–not pleasant!  The thought of reversing the process and taking him out again the next day nearly pushed me over the edge.  Then I remembered this blog (that I’ve been trying to finish for five days!) Why don’t you try trusting God, Wanda! Take a step of faith!  Maybe He knows what is best! Ouch!  Guess what–He did, and does and always will, if only we would step into the water!!!  Why is it so hard to trust Him?  Because all we see is that raging river swirling out of control just inches from where we are standing!  There is no way He can _________ ( you fill in the blank).  He may not solve your problems the way you would like Him to do it, but if you are willing to follow Him, He will ALWAYS do what is best!

Come, every soul by sin oppressed;
There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest
By trusting in His Word.

Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.

For Jesus shed His precious blood
Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood
That washes white as snow.

John H Stockton

Why is it that we can trust Him for the next life, but not for this one?