"I am counting on the LORD; yes, I am counting on Him, I have put my hope in His word." – Psalm 130:5
Recently, I found myself wandering through a deep and rather dark valley. I had taken my eyes off the Guide, letting worry, stress and, yes, despair take over me.
You see, our son, Jonathan, was being rushed by ambulance with a large and rare blood clot near his right kidney. The ER doctor told me solemnly that the kidney "is lost" due to lack of blood flow. Now, Jonathan is a young man, has his whole life ahead of him, a talented artist and a caring friend to all who know him. And best friend to his twin sister, Janie.
I knelt to pray, sobbing my prayer, my face pressed into a pillow. I pleaded with God to help dear Jon. It was then that I realized I could not see the mountaintop for the depth of the valley all around me.
But wait. I knew from childhood, and from all the years of my life, that Jesus, our King, Savior and Lord, could be counted on, right? He would lead me through this sadness, this testing and this thorny path.
Still, I was floundering in a valley of black despair, becoming more frightened by the moment.
Then, I began to pray differently. I gave thanks for the healing I believed God was going to give Jonathan. I thanked God for the way things would be, not the way things were. And I yielded to the comforting hand of my Lord, the Guide and Director of my life, and followed Him up, up...through the snarls and thorns, the loose rocks, the imposing boulders, all the way to the top of the looming mountain. There, I stood and turned to look down at all the stages of testing, the setbacks, the scares along the way. And I could see that the miracle had come, inch by inch, thanks to God.
Jonathan's right kidney is functioning normally now, the blood clot on the decline, after thousands of prayers on his behalf all over the world and a blood thinner medication. There were angels coming in and out of his hospital room...angels with earthly names and faces, with encouraging words and thoughtful deeds.
This Easter, I am most thankful for the victory of the Resurrection. Those long-ago angels pushing away that massive stone away from Christ's tomb. The truth, and the power, of the Kingship of Jesus Christ. King of kings and Lord of lords, who can always be counted on, no matter how deep, dark and terrifying our valleys may be.
And to all of you, a blessed Easter, dear friends!
"So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith." – Galatians 6:9-10
Just a few days ago, in Iowa and southern Minnesota, a vicious blizzard left nearly 500 people stranded in 8-10 feet drifts along I-35 and I-90. First responders assisted travelers trapped in cars, trucks, and even a bus transporting a boys' basketball team stuck in enormous snow drifts. Hotels offered shelter in lobbies—all rooms booked. Churches, grocery stores, school gymnasiums, and even a jailhouse became impromptu shelters from what one news outlet referred to as a "wicked blizzard."
Think of the lives spared because of such kindness. . . people doing good to those in need!
And think what a better place our world would be if all of us pitched in and did our part to do good each and every day.
I wish you many opportunities to spread kindness and grace this springtime-month of March, dear reader-friend.
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." – John 14:15
The Lord Jesus asks us to obey His commandments; follow His will and way. And we attempt to do so, but because we are human it isn't always easy, is it?
The beauty here is that God gives us the strength and the ability to follow His voice, if we desire to do so.
But what about when we fail, mess up, and don't obey? The answer is a beautiful and encouraging one: Our Savior continues to love unconditionally and accepts us fully. Picks us up and guides us back on the Way to life eternal.
Now, that is true love...the kind each of us longs for!
Blessings for February,
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." – Hebrews 10:23
Hope, by its very definition, is forward looking, isn't it?
And when it comes to looking ahead to a new year, what typically pops into our minds? Sprucing up, physically and spiritually? Making many (pesky) resolutions? Does it also remind us of past mistakes and the burdens accompanying them?
So, while pondering this New Year's blog, I realized once again that not a single one of us has to wait for a new calendar year to start anew. Lamentations 3:23 tells us, "Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning." Every new day is an opportunity for a new beginning! Just think of that, friend—God's gift to us is a wonderfully fresh outlook, every twenty-four hours! A sparkling second chance.
And He does not remember our misdeeds; He does not pile up our sins against us. We belong to Him...He is our loving, caring Father. Sure, we make bad choices and need forgiveness—we are human, after all—but our heavenly Father encourages us to look ahead, to gaze on Him. Remember, He is cheering us on to the finish line!
A longtime friend of our family, (my sister and I called him Uncle Louie), had a saying that has stuck in my mind, and heart, for decades: When life gets you down, simply look up.
Yes, look up and soak up the Son of Light and Love. Our heavenly Father will never leave us alone, or in the dark. He sees and knows our future, so we can count on Him to lead us forward no matter what is happening right now.
I'm praying that hope will rise in your heart and that this New Year 2019 will be filled with abundant mercies from God's hand...to yours.