The Pain of Love

wp-image-729923988 I had been struggling to cope with our then, barely 17-year-old daughters pregnancy and her having left home against our will to live with the baby’s father.  I was devastated! Sometimes love hurts. On top of that, I had received a phone call from my father in law’s wife, distraught over the painful news of her daughter’s untimely death in a car accident. Sometimes love hurts.

I couldn’t begin to imagine the immense pain she must have felt and as I lifted her in prayer to my heavenly Father, I thought about how He was there as that awful fatal car accident happened.  He was there when my father in law’s wife received the horrifying news of the loss of her daughter and He was there as I laid on my bedroom floor trying to catch my breath, sobbing uncontrollably after my precious daughter, with child, left home.

“Father”, I whispered. “I know You are a God of love and compassion. You see and feel my pain and anguish. You are witness to people suffering and in pain every day; people hurting one another, people hurting themselves. You are there to see the pain of marriages and relationships crumbling, of families being torn apart, people sick, starving, lonely and in despair. You see and hear the grief-stricken cries of overwhelming pain when people receive the news about the death of their loved ones. You see it all, Lord!”

Our God, in His never-ending love, indeed  bears the pain and anguish of not just me and my father in law’s wife, but He bears the pain and anguish of the entire broken world!    From my own weak and limited human perspective I find myself asking God how He copes, how He endures the pain.

As I ponder it all in my heart, I’m reminded that my Heavenly Father sees the big picture, the final outcome of His perfect plan; the plan that I, cannot yet see.

If we could see the outcome of His perfect plan, one for our own good right up front, how different things might be for us.  But the reality is that some of our time here in a broken world will be spent in pain not finding the answers that we so desperately hoped for this side of heaven. The purpose may not be clear until we stand face to face with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I feel led to turn to 1 Corinthians 13 and as I do I can hear His still, small voice. “Yes, Rebecca, love can cause us pain, but it’s my perfect love that gets us through that pain.”

And as I read 1Corinthianss 13, these words leapt off the page: Love is patient, love bears up under anything and everything that comes, it’s hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, it endures everything without weakening and never fails.

Yes, that’s how our loving God endures the pain of love. We can too, through His perfect love for us!

If you are experiencing  pain and heartbreak in your own life as you read this, take heart. You are not alone. God does in fact, feel your pain and anguish.

Look to Him and His never-ending, perfect love. Let Him love you through it with His perfect love for you.

 

 

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Faithfully Behind the Scenes

My husband is a hard working carpenter. He is in the business of making people’s homes beautiful. So one can imagine my zeal when the occasion comes my way in which I’m able to be a recipient of his gifts and talents for our own home.

Our latest project has been remodeling our old worn out kitchen. Long overdue and years in the coming, needless to say, I was more than anxious and excited for the job to be completed.

Lying in bed every  night, my eyelids heavy as my consciousness begins to ebb away ,  I can envision in my sleepy mind, walking into my new kitchen with the freshly painted walls, tin backsplash that’s reminiscent of an old farmhouse kitchen back in the day, new bright white cupboards and drawers neatly organized with the pots, pans, plates, bowls and utensils and such, comfy in their new home.

But for the time being, I’ve had to settle for cupboards with no doors, displaced pots and pans sitting on the table, taking the silverware from the old drawer sitting on the floor in the corner by the stove and bowls and plates sitting out on the counter.

Maybe when I get home from my shift at the hospital tonight some more of the cupboards will have been installed. That night, as I wearily trudge down the stone path toward the house after a long, frustrating evening at work,  as tired as I am though,  I’m excited about what I will see when I walk through the door and into the kitchen.

What?  Seriously?!  What had he been doing all night while I was at work?   I tried not to let my disappointment, and yes, my anger at not seeing any visible progress show as I inquired as to how my husbands evening was.

“Fine,” he answered. “How was yours?”  I ignored his question and instead sent a rapid-fire succession of questions mingled with complaints in my poor husband’s direction. “Is there any reason the cupboards still aren’t up on the walls?  What could possibly be taking you so long to finish this?  What are you doing the whole time while I’m at work every evening?  Why can’t we just get this kitchen finished already?”

After I finished my tirade, I glanced over at my husband. He didn’t utter a word. He didn’t have to. The look on his face said it all.  I knew he was irritated, to say the least, at my childish outburst.

After a few moments of awkward silence, my husband stood up and graciously explained, “Well, first of all, I’ve been replacing our old worn out plumbing lines as well as updating the electric behind the walls where the cupboards will go so I can install a ceiling fan like you’ve always wanted. Oh yeah, I forgot that I had asked for a ceiling fan.  He continued on, “and I’ve been cleaning, caulking and repainting inside the bottom cabinets to make them look better inside and help to guard against those destructive mice.”

My husband continues to explain,  but I’m not listening.  Not because I’m not interested in what he has to say, but because I’m berating myself for my audacious behavior and assumptions about my husband’s hard work in our kitchen.

I assumed the worst because I saw no outwardly visible progress. I assumed nothing was being done when in truth, my husband,  the carpenter, was busy at work accomplishing so much more than I could have ever imagined, behind the scenes.

As I  reflect upon my chronic short-sightedness, I’m reminded of Jesus, the master carpenter, and how so often it may seem to us as though He’s not working in our lives at all.  It’s as though God isn’t listening,  He’s not answering. It seems as though He’s just not there. It seems as though He just doesn’t care.

Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Even though there are no outward signs of visible progress in our prayers or in our lives, our Lord and Savior is in fact hard at work, taking care of all the details, both little and big,  that we’re not aware need to be taken care of.

Perhaps while you’re waiting,  God is working behind the scenes preparing someone whom He’s going to bring into your life to encourage or bless you.  Maybe He’s working on giving you more than you’ve requested, or perhaps, like my ceiling fan, blessing you with something you’d forgotten that you’d asked for.  Could it be that you’ve got some cracks that need filling in so as to keep out destructive things in your life?

Whatever you are waiting on, know and believe that God is diligently and faithfully working behind the scenes, building and repairing.   And don’t forget, God works based on our believing, not our seeing.

In his defense, Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at work to this very day and I too am working.  John 5:17

 

 When will the Dam Burst?

Today’s bible reading very much reminded me of the state of things in, not only America,  but in our world today.  Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are clever in their own eyes and clever in their own sight…………Who justify the wicked for a bribe and take away the rights of the ones who are in the right! Isaiah 5:20, 21, 23.  

The continuing verses go on to speak of God’s wrath being poured out because of the people’s thinking and behaviors.

Imagine a very large dam like the Hoover Dam. This dam is a phenomenal concrete behemoth! It measures 1,244 feet in length, is 644 feet thick and 726 feet high. It’s said to hold back such a great volume of water that it has deformed the earths crust and it caused around 600 earthquakes in the 10 years after it was built. Wow!

I cannot begin to fathom what would happen if the strong materials of the walls of that dam became weakened or compromised and the extreme weight of the waters behind it eventually won out.  The floodgates would be opened to a roaring fury of waters that would  annihilate anything and everything in it’s path, leaving behind nothing but chaos, destruction and heartache.

Our nation, our world, is sitting below a humongous dam itself.  A dam much larger and more threatening than the little ole Hoover Dam. We are precariously sitting below a dam in which the waters of God’s wrath are beating furiously upon the dam of His grace.

Sadly,  our delusional, misguided society has begun to poke holes in and weaken the infrastructure of the dam of God’s grace through denying and even foolishly attempting to change God’s created order of male and female and the legalization of  same sex marriage and abortion, just to name a few.

Do they really believe they can spit in the face of our perfect holy Creator by changing His familial foundation for society? ? Do they think they can try to strip believers of their right to live their lives and conduct their jobs according to God’s holy and true word and not be held accountable for their destructive and hateful attitudes and actions toward God and those who are His?

The great and mighty dam of God’s grace has been compromised. It’s been weakened. How long before the torrent of furious waters begin rushing out no one knows, except for God.

I do know that I’m so very glad to know that as a believer, when that dam does burst, I will still be the recipient of God’s unmerited grace and not His wrath, thanks to my dear sweet Jesus and His sacrifice made on my behalf.

Tragically,  the same can’t be said for unbelievers. Instead of being children of God’s grace, they are children of God’s wrath. They need repentance. They need our heartfelt prayers. They need the good news of the gospel of Christ Jesus. They need us.  As believers we are to be God’s mouths, hands and feet.  That responsibility lies with us.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 

Galatians 6:7,8

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19,20

Harmless Fantasy or Dangerous Reality?

I thought I’d share this blog post to my own blog. It’s sad that in many ways the church has been more influenced by the world than the world has been influenced by the church.

En Courage

Week 2, “Tearing Down Lies”

Sometimes, that which we consider harmless fantasy isn’t harmless or fantasy.

My Tale….

Around 10 years old, my parents decided to purchase our dream home in the country. The home rested on a hill surrounded by a white picket fence, and each of us kids had our own bedrooms for the first time. The biggest incentive, however, was we were finally going to get that dog and cat we’d asked for. It was idyllic!

However, soon after moving in, each of us began to notice frightening phenomenon that couldn’t be explained.  We were just an ordinary Midwestern family from an ordinary local Baptist church.  We’d never heard of nor experienced supernatural activity before. All we knew–it was frightening.  My parents contacted church family.  They came to the house and prayed through each room, acknowledging the authority given us in Christ. Immediately the frightening activity…

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The Christian Employee’s Prayer

Thank you Father,  for my job. Please help me to have a good attitude about going to work.

God, I don’t want to be a silent Christian. Please give me the wisdom as to when to speak up, especially in the workplace.

When Your Holy Spirit does nudge me to speak up, please bestow upon me Your courage, grace and wisdom.

Help me Lord, not to seek man’s approval or fear his rejection, but to seek only Your approval God, for You are on my side.

In Jesus holy and precious name,

Amen