Category Archives: MEMOIR CHAPTERS

What About Faith? (Part 2)

Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. Anne Lamott

“Trust for a miracle with all your heart” is not exactly what Solomon wrote. He did write, however, Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3). Trusting in him helps me live peacefully with the tension between the two “wells” (suffer well and get well). Mature followers of Jesus can hold both ends in tension. Maturity is not having answers to all my questions about God, it’s having unanswered questions – maybe lots of them – and being able to live happily with the paradoxes and mysteries that come with a relationship with him. Continue reading

What About Faith? (Part 1)

We can know some of the principles on which God operates and thus can trust him despite appearances, but we are simply not in a position to know most of the relevant facts that would explain the specifics of his interaction in any given instance. Gregory Boyd

I prayed and prayed for my marriage to be healed. It wasn’t. I was pretty discouraged about that for a long time. It still puzzles me sometimes. I’ve prayed just as hard, as have so many others, for my healing from cancer. So far not so good.  Well, at this writing I still have a moderate amount of the disease hiding out in my blood even after enduring the dreaded bone marrow transplant. I’m not complaining, just identifying the reality.  Continue reading

BE BRAVE AND TRUST THAT GOD IS GOOD

[This is the tenth of fourteen passages that saved my life a few years ago.]

Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight.  1 Chronicles 19:13

 

When I discovered this small passage, sort of in passing, I pounced on it like it was $1000 bill that someone unwittingly put out with the recycling. It speaks to the challenge of trusting God for something that he may or may not give me in the end. It answers the question, “Why should I go to the trouble to trust God and live responsibly if he’s not going to give me what I’m working and trusting for?” Continue reading

DON’T BRING MATCHES

[This is number nine of fourteen passages that sustained me in my dark palce a few years ago.]

 10 Who among you fears the LORD

       and obeys the word of his servant?

       Let him who walks in the dark,

       who has no light,

       trust in the name of the LORD

       and rely on his God.

 11 But now, all you who light fires

       and provide yourselves with flaming torches,

       go, walk in the light of your fires

       and of the torches you have set ablaze.

       This is what you shall receive from my hand:

       You will lie down in torment.  Isaiah 50:10-12

Evidently, darkness is not just reserved for the disobedient. When I “fear the Lord and obey the word of his servant” I still have to sometimes “walk in the dark” and rely on God to guide me through it. But, instead of trusting God in my dark place, I’m tempted to try to create my own light, to bring to my darkness a man-made light. I carry my own matches for such occasions. Continue reading

ENDURE DIFFICULTY AND EMBRACE ITS DISCIPLINE

[This is the eighth of fourteen passages that sustained me in my dark place.]

…submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.   Hebrews 12:9-13

 

God is raising a family. As all kids do, we need discipline. What he uses most bring his discipline and develop his character in us is hardship. Honestly, I’m not always fond of this program. While I really do want “righteousness and peace,” I’ve been known to possess a serious aversion to some of his methods of getting me there. Continue reading

ZOOM OUT

[This is the seventh of fourteen passages that sustained me in the while in the dark.]

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.    2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I’ve loved the fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians for many years, especially for the encouragement it’s given me during difficult moments as a pastor. It begins and ends with Paul’s testimony: “We don’t lose heart.” Everything in between is pretty much all about how not to lose heart, how to endure, how to persevere in the midst of the tumult in and around us. Continue reading

WORSHIP WHILE YOU WAIT

[This is the sixth of fourteen passages that sustained me in the while in the dark.]

4 I am in the midst of lions;

       I lie among ravenous beasts—

       men whose teeth are spears and arrows,

       whose tongues are sharp swords.

 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;

       let your glory be over all the earth.

 6 They spread a net for my feet—

       I was bowed down in distress.

       They dug a pit in my path—

       but they have fallen into it themselves.

       Selah

 7 My heart is steadfast, O God,

       my heart is steadfast;

       I will sing and make music.

 8 Awake, my soul!

       Awake, harp and lyre!

       I will awaken the dawn.

 9 I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;

       I will sing of you among the peoples.

 10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;

       your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;

       let your glory be over all the earth.   Psalm 57

The images of lions and beasts, and evil people with spears, arrows, and swords graphically depicted how I felt when the lights went out in my life. Demons and the people they inhabited wanted me defeated, if not dead. (Someone actually said they wished I would just die!) Continue reading