Thursday, February 26, 2009

Everywhere I Look

Overnight we had a snowfall here. The sun hasn’t completely risen, but I can already see the snowy branches of several cedars in the neighborhood. The laurels are covered, the ground, rooftops. It’s beautiful. I sit in my writing office, with windows on two walls, and whether I look to the left or the right, the view is beautiful.

If only God were as easy for everyone to see.

One thing I have desired of the LORD
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
(Psalm 27:4, NKJV)

I look for the Lord in every situation, because I have a relationship with Him. That, and I know He works in every circumstance. Everyone in our region will awaken to snow this morning and not be able to miss our covering of white. Even if their physical eyes are blind, they’ll hear about the snow. But not everyone will seek to see God this morning.

As I’m typing, snow has started to fall again. It’s quiet here in this room, except for the hum of my computer’s fan. Quiet and peaceful, like the presence of God at times. And beautiful. I want to be so attuned to the Lord’s beauty and presence that I can see Him everywhere I look. I long to behold more of His beauty. I pray you will see Him at work in your life. That each of us, will in some way, behold the beauty of the Lord today.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Loving God With All Our Strength

My toddler’s been under the weather lately. And last Sunday night she started vomiting about once ever half hour for a couple of hours, poor thing. Normally a high energy, sunny personality, she was barely walking around. So I sat snuggling her on the sofa. For a while now, she’s had this thing about giving “squishes.” These are exaggerated hugs and we family members love ‘em. She’ll squeeze us around the shoulders and tells us “Squiiiiiish!” It’s adorable. Well, that night, weak as she was, she reached up and gave me a squish. Awwww…. melted my heart.

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NKJV)

The Bible talks about loving the Lord our God with all our strength. So often we go through our days and don’t realize how much we are truly at God’s mercy. He is holding us together. If He didn’t hold us in mercy, we’d all be suffering in one way or another, more than we are now (if we are). By His mercy we have blessings of health (for most people) and family or friends. Of jobs and provision. That’s not to say He isn’t merciful in the midst of suffering He allows. But my toddler’s expression of love last weekend really brought this to mind. How often do I love the Lord my God with all my strength?? That’s what my daughter was doing—giving me a squish in the midst of her suffering and weakness. And oh, what that did to my heart. I didn’t even ask her to. She came up with it all on her own and then executed it.

When we’re doing great and things are fine, it’s easy to love God (showing acts of service or worshiping with high energy), but what about when we’re weak in some way—perhaps a job loss has dampened our ego, or an illness has weakened us physically, or we’ve received criticism for something that robbed our confidence or bad news has stolen our peace? What about then? Do we love Him with all our strength?

I don’t want to see this as an obligation because that could become oppressive. What I’d rather do is see this as an invitation. And like my daughter, out of love and appreciation, just reach toward God and love Him with all my strength.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

God's Massages

You'd think with a comforting term like "soft tissue" massage, you'd be talking GENTLE. Um, no. Not necessarily.

Are you someone who goes in for massages? I've never been one to "go get a massage." People talk about it like it's a luxurious experience. My muscles seize up at the thought. Well, today, as part of a medical procedure on my back, I had my first soft tissue massage. Does going through the roof mean anything to you? ;-)

You know, God works His own massages on us at times. And though He is gentle (at least with those whose hearts are soft), it can still hurt. He points out the painful areas, the things we'd rather no one touched. He shows us just how much pain we've been in. Ever been surprised at how many tears you can shed over a situation you thought was well behind you? But God knows. This Great Physician is well aware of every part of your heart that needs work. And He is gentle. But even a gentle surgeon uses a knife. And even a gentle masseuse uses pressure. Sometimes lots of pressure.

So, what can you do? Lie there, face down on His table, breathe through the hole in the bed and tell yourself, "It'll be okay." He knows what He's doing.

The goal is freedom.
The goal is healing.

Relax, with God, you're in good hands.