I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU

There’s no better time than to prove one’s friendship than during the difficult seasons of life. They can be amazing opportunities to allow God to use us, our talents and our time to encourage others. Mots of us are not born ‘carers’. Sin, the virus we are infected as soon as we step into this world, makes us bent towards selfishness and self absorption.

I believe that we are all on a steep learning curve. Advice may help. Books and sermons might equipp us but really there’s no greater teacher than experience itself. During the past few weeks, I have learned new things, in the midst or worry and helplessness. I have gained a fresh personal insight on how difficult it is to care and support those arround us.

God used the readings of the Psalms and he book of Job as a theological manual and almost on a parallel track the difficult season in our family’s life. Here are some of my discoveries. They are not maybe pertinent or helpful to everyone, but maybe you will find them inspiring. These are the lessons God has thought me.

Beware of the two dangers, most commonly affecting us. The first is ignorance. I can just not listen, discern, watch or notice the difficult situations someone might be facing. The opposite danger is just as bad. I can be too intrusive, over involved, and preachy. I am sure I have been guilty of both extremes.

When you don’t now what to say, say just that. Don’t sugar coat the situation with your own over enthusiastic positive spin. While it might be true, it might not also be timely.

When you don’t now what is the best way to support someone, just ask them.

  • Ask them whether they want a meal or a lift.
  • Ask them whether they want company.
  • Ask them if there is anything specific you can pray for them.
  • Ask them if their situations has financial implications, and if you can help.

Ring or text for an update. Their mind might be frazzled and confused and your initiative will be an encouragement.

Use a Bible verse discerningly. The Word of God is very powerful but make sure it is God leading you to send them that.

If you’re part of a Church, gather your small group for prayer for them.

The list could go on, and as time goes by I might add things.

What has staggered me is the way God can use even adverse circumstances redemptively (His speciality) to bring encouragement even in the most adverse circumstances.

He longs to do this, and in an unfathomable way, he wants to use means you. It’s all a question of availability more than ability.

SECRET

What a great song – funny how rarely we sing it as a congregation…
All about Jesus. A great secret, that if discovered – can change our perspective.

For the joys and for the sorrows
The best and worst of times
For this moment, for tomorrow
For all that lies behind
Fears that crowd around me
For the failure of my plans
For the dreams of all I hope to be
The truth of what I am

For this I have Jesus
For this I have Jesus
For this I have Jesus, I have Jesus
(Repeat)

For the tears that flow in secret
In the broken times
For the moments of elation
Or the troubled mind
For all the disappointments
Or the sting of old regrets
All my prayers and longings
That seem unanswered yet

For the weakness of my body
The burdens of each day
For the nights of doubt and worry
When sleep has fled away
Needing reassurance
And the will to start again
A steely-eyed endurance
The strength to fight and win

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1994 Make Way Music,
http://www.grahamkendrick.co.uk

 

Here is a YouTube video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvzUQw2UA1I

TRUST

A friend has passed this to me and I pass it on.

When is the time to trust?
Is it when all is calm,
When waves the victor’s palm,
And life is one glad psalm
Of joy and praise?
Nay! But the time to trust
Is when the waves beat high,
When storm clouds fill the sky,
And prayer is one long cry,
O help and save!

When is the time to trust?
Is it when friends are true?
Is it when comforts woo,
And in all we say and do
We meet but praise?
Nay! But the time to trust
Is when we stand alone,
And summer birds have flown,
And every prop is gone,
All else but God.

What is the time to trust?
Is it some future day,
When you have tried your way,
And learned to trust and pray
By bitter woe?
Nay! But the time to trust
Is in this moment’s need,
Poor, broken, bruised reed!
Poor, troubled soul, make speed
To trust thy God.

What is the time to trust?
Is it when hopes beat high,
When sunshine gilds the sky,
And joy and ecstasy
Fill all the heart?
Nay! But the time to trust
Is when our joy is fled,
When sorrow bows the head,
And all is cold and dead,
All else but God.

(From Streams in the Desert)

A DAY TO BE THANKFUL

I know that Father’s Day is probably a fake comercial invention sparked by some egalitarian brain and some card company. i cant be bothered to Google it up. It comes and it goes. We dutifully buy some tack for our dads, get angry at their absence or maybe shed at tear for their departure.

If you have a dad that has been arround and is arround, let me tell you, you’re unique and that’s a bonus worth celebrating these days. But this post isn’t about dad but my Heavenly Father. hHe deserves my thanks, and not just today…

Father God I thank you that you are my Creator. In your amazing intelligent design you knitted me in my mamma’s womb and with all my shortfalls I still am the very best unique version of ‘me’. I thank you that you sent your only SON to pay the ransom for my sin and enable me to come back home. To you.

You did not lecture me.
You did bestow upon me favour I have not merited and could have never earned.
You surprise me daily with your often understated yet very real love.
You have a patience that betas ‘hands down’ even the amazing patience of driving instructors who see a daft pupil at the steering wheel of a vehicle for he very first time.
You counsell and comfort me through your Spirit.
You have adopted me in your family and have given me an inheritance beyond my wildest dreams.
You are so holy and majestic, yet so gentle and welcoming.
You are so otherworldly that I should call you Sir, Majesty, YRH, but you aske me to call you DADDY.

I thank you today and every day you will grant me breath…

And I pray for the fatherless today, for those who never knew their dad, for those with dads arround but robbed by that thief Alzheimers of their real self, for those who hate their dad and what they did to them and the family or those who maybe are missing a great dad so badly.

Father reveal yourself (again, afresh) to them today! Let them see and know how great you are! Let the, feel your loving kindness and mercy even now.

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ILLUSION

Everyday most of us live with an illusion as common as the passing of time. We tell ourselves and we act as if we are in control. We make lists, we enter appointments in our diaries, we plan holidays and we try to figure our long-term ambitions. It makes us feel content and in control. And it feels good….

Strangely we don’t realize this and we certainly would not want to believe that this is just an illusion. Until, something happens, that derails the schedule and messes up the plans. We all might react differently, but one thing is for sure, we do react. It’s as if our lives have been hit by an invisible interior tornado that leaves us either angry, sad or simply ‘frozen’.

It can be a bill, a doctor’s report, that dreaded meeting in the boss’s office, the long overdue discussion with a spouse that is ‘moving on’, the news that the struggling person in your family is back in the claws of addiction again – all moments that make that inner peace we once had, fade away like a rising fog. For some this is so sudden – they crumble straight away. For others, this is the beginning of spiraling descent into despair.

The harsh truth is – we are not in control. Job’s story reminded me of that afresh. No matter how secure we seem to be – it can crumble. We are vulnerable and weak and can’t even foresee the next 12 minutes of our lives. I could paint some scenarios, but the post is sobering enough as it is.

You might say that it’s a pessimistic view of life and it’s future. You might prefer to ignore its realism. Yet, I suggest another avenue. That of surrender. Acknowledging our frailty and recognizing our dependency. We are not in control – so better to surrender to the ONE who is.

It’s exactly what Job did, not in a cowardly way of a push-over, but with a wisdom that proclaims that the LORD has given and the LORD has taken, blessed be His name. He can be trusted with the ‘good’ as well as the ‘bad’. Although Job struggled with the painful reality of his trials – he was confident that his hope in GOD will not betray him: ‘for I know that my redeemer lives’

JOB PONDERINGS

No, it’s not about my vocation. Nor is it about the crazy hunt most of my dear friends are involved in these days.

It’s about the remarkable Bible character.

You know the story. Job has it all. Riches. A fine family. Good health. Impeccable reputation. All the things we secretly and unconsciously add as valuable puzzle pieces that make up that grand concept of happiness. To add some more pizzazz – he also loves and worships God with a heartfelt devotion.

But that’s what brings him trouble. Satan starts a wager with God, as he assumes that Job’s devotion is just linked to his happiness. God knows his man and is confident to accept the wager, still boundaries in place. In a matter of minutes and days, Job’s life as he knew it treacles away…

Philosophers and theologians pondered long and hard over this, waxing lyrical over the meaning or meaninglessness of suffering. I was struck at a fresh re-reading recently by these thoughts:

  • Theology is never as simple as maths. Job and his friends had a formula worked out, based on what they knew from Scripture. It was correct. But they didn’t have God ‘worked out’. He moves in ways that are mysteriously beyond formulas and axioms.
  • Job’s friends tried to counsel without stopping to take in silence their mate’s plight. They rushed to speak and were all too ready to point out flaws they never examined. A whole waste of words. And God accused them. Ironically it was the prayer of their ‘flawed friend’ that saved them.
  • God was humble and confident (the un-elegant ‘big enough’ could describe that) to respond to Job’s challenge – proving that He adores a relationship with His servants. Although He pointed out Job’s flawed folly – He did it lovingly.
  • Don’t draw conclusions until God puts the full stop. As it looked like things were degenerating with the spiraling speed of a descending roller coaster – everything changes in the end as God restores and enhances Job’s living.