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Archive for January, 2014

Why or Why Not?

I am a “why” person.  I need to know the whys and wherefores, the details.   This is especially applicable in my spiritual life, and God’s answers to prayer requests.

The other month I sent a letter out to an individual to ask them to write an endorsement for a manuscript.  For two years God impressed on my heart to send it to this individual.  I have to admit, fear ruled me; however, I finally pushed through the fear and sent her a copy with peace in my heart.

A month later the manuscript was sent back to me with a letter of regret.  Disappointment was definitely my reaction but their reasons were understandable, and sound.  God’s reasons were not understandable.  To be more precise, I didn’t know what His reasons were.  By the way, this is all part of the writer’s life, so I wasn’t surprised.

With tears streaming down my face, and looking to Heaven I said, “For two years You asked me to send the manuscript to her? So I did, and “regrets” is Your answer?  This is the second time you “nagged” me to send this devotional to specific people and in return I receive a rejection or regrets. Why did You want me to do this in the first place?  I was afraid this would happen.”  Nothing. No answer came.

The doubts started to creep in,  “Maybe I wasn’t being faithful in doing what He called me to do, not writing enough, or writing the wrong thing.” or  ‘I didn’t have enough faith that God could do it.”  Even as I write this, “Maybe the reason was because I didn’t send the manuscript two years ago,” comes to mind.

Several friends who had been praying on my behalf, responded this way, “He may not tell you the reason, Christine.  Maybe this was a lesson in obedience and trust.  Don’t be hard on yourself.  Yes, be disappointed but don’t second guess yourself or let Satan in to wreak havoc.” Not what I wanted to hear.  I needed reasons.

After getting over my snit I thought about what was said.  “Trust” could be the reason.  Trusting without an explanation could be the area that needs to be grown.

The next day one of those friends sent me a devotional confirming what they had been saying.  God is good. Although, I did have one other problem, I covered my feelings of disappointment and rejection with “It wasn’t God’s will” or “God is good”.  These statements are true and I believe them, but I thought they made me sound strong and spiritual, when in fact, I was hurting and confused even angry.  Until I took my true feelings of hurt and rejection to God, the emotions controlled my life

Sometimes He gives us reasons, and other times He doesn’t and wants us to trust Him.  It could be that I wasn’t ready yet to receive another endorsement.  Maybe the lesson was pushing through fear to obey.  I don’t know.  And to be honest, this concept will be a struggle for me.  To move the idea of not receiving an answer from my head to my heart will not be easy. But what I do know is that He is good and wants the best for me like any good father.  What better reason could there be?

How about you?  Are you a “why” person like me?  Is God withholding His reasons?  Sit back knowing that He is the sovereign God and wants the best for you.  He doesn’t shrink from our true feelings but wants to love us through them.  I can attest that not knowing is not easy, but He has something better in mind.  Trust Him with whatever the situation is in your life.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,

the conviction of things not seen.”

 

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

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Christmas is over, the new year has begun. Usually, I have a let down the days that follow. Not because of the lack of gifts or not getting what I want, but it’s over so fast. There is so much anticipation, and preparation,  and in it’s over in one day.

This time is different in many respects, my emotions have been through a lot of ups and downs, but this has also been the best Christmas ever. Not because of the gifts received but because of the one gift that was given to my parents.

My husband has been doing a series in our Sunday school about being biblical care givers to our parents. For two weeks we talked about honoring them. We looked at the Ten Commandments and smack dab in the middle of all the “do nots” is number five, “Honor your father and mother”. Later on scripture says “so that it may go well with you”.  Strange? With all the “big” commandments, God holds honoring our parents with the same importance. Honoring is not a choice but a command.

My husband and I decided that on Christmas we would present my parents with a certificate that honored their fifty years of service to the body of Christ.  It was awesome to sit down and think of all the ways they ministered to the church body through volunteering. The tears rolled down my cheeks as I remembered not only what they do now, but what they did when I was growing up and even before I was born.

The question could be asked, “What about those who have a lousy parent or parents?” I thought about that too, for I know of a few and you can read about those parents in the paper. Maybe you’re one who had an abusive parent. I’ll be honest with you; I can’t answer that question only God can. Perhaps it’s just the simple fact that they gave you life instead of terminating the pregnancy (You are very special to God and He has great plans for you) but again only God can give you the way(s) you can honor that parent.

My husband’s parents are both gone so in his case how could he honor them?  Back in Biblical days there were no last names but you were known by your father’s name. For example: My husband would be known as Mike son of Gerald. So the way they lived, reflected back to their father.  I feel my husband does bring honor to his parents by the way he lives his life.

Mind you our parents are not and were not perfect. They have flaws and even handed down bad habits, but they also have handed down wonderful, God honoring traits that are worthy of honoring.

How about you? Do you find yourself focusing on the negative things your parents did? Maybe they were short tempered or displayed some other “negative” issue. Seek God. Ask Him to show you ways that you can honor your parents in the new year. Through honoring them, you are obeying God. You will be glad you did. I am still overwhelmed  that God led us to honor them in the way we did.

“Honor your father and mother –which is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:3 (NIV 1984)

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