Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Loss and Gain

This is my last post on trying to learn about thankfulness in the hard stuff....It has taken me some time and thought to be able to reach this point and I am sure that as time goes by I will learn more but here is where I am for now.
One of the hardest lessons any Christian has to learn is that loss is part and parcel of the Christian walk.  When we become believers we mistakenly think that all our life going forward will be sunshine and roses...glory and hallelujah.   This is not the case.  By becoming a believer in Christ we are made new and our entire life becomes about one thing... becoming like Him and expressing His Life in the earth.  For a while, after being saved life usually is grand and glorious...just as Jesus experienced popularity and enjoyed a following, had friends and loved ones surrounding Him and was successful in his often are we...joyful...happy...blessed....needs being met, miracles happening in and around us...God using us mightily...exciting times for sure!   Ahhh those are the days....

Then it begins to happen....if we continue in our walk...continue to pursue Him in deeper and deeper ways...we find that the path becomes darker, less clear, familiar things are stripped away....those walking with us become fewer....successes become farther apart...and may to the natural eye, completely cease.  Even as Jesus experienced, we may find that our outward standing, friends, ministry, jobs, health....all that we have built has slipped away, until we are left completely alone...Until it seems we have lost everything we ever gained by following may even appear that we are good for nothing in His kingdom.

It is a scary place to be...alone...tired...sick...afraid...useless.  Can I be thankful in such a place?  I confess, it has taken ALL of Christ that I have ever known to learn to be...if not thankful FOR such a place...thankful IN SPITE of that place.

Eventually we learn...hopefully we learn...that suffering and even death come to all that follow Him into the depths.  It is a choice I continue to seek continue to have a thankful heart...even in the dark places of taking up His cross.   It requires faith...His faith, to believe that when we came to follow Him we became His Seed...a seed that would have to die in order that Life in a truly substantial form could come forth, just like He did.
And then...just when we think it is all over and nothing good can come.....The Light shines!  a sprout pushes above ground!  Praise be to God there is resurrection!  Hallelujah!  
Just as there was for Him...there is for us, if we can hold on to Him long enough to see it to fruition. He brings us out of the dark, just as His Father brought Him up out of the grave to new life.   The seed that has died brings forth life.  

Which brings about an entirely new proposition.....can I be thankful for the loss...the lost time....the loss of joy...the loss of peace, of health, of finances....the years the canker worm has eaten?

Still having a hard time with that one, and learning more....but God is in the new life business...and for my life...He is redeeming all things. Restoring...not necessarily to the way they were before, that is the old man way of thinking...(Job didn't get his lost daughters and sons back, he got new ones)....but He restores to the perfect picture He had in mind all along....the fruit He had seen in that Seed from the beginning.  The Life that has and is coming forth... for THAT I can be thankful!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How far is too far?

I have people...people I love...I know you do too...the list is kids, my grands, my extended family, my church family, long time friends....oh so many people that the Lord has brought into my life at one time or another for me to love.  And I am not one to give my love easily or to draw ties quickly so my list is probably shorter than most....but there they are...pieces of my heart ... with more joining the list as the years go by.   Unfortunately...the place where my physical body lives and the places where their physical bodies reside are for the most part not one and the same, even emotionally and spiritually speaking many of us are separated by many miles .... scattered to the four winds, to the ends of the world and even the after world....and with them, the pieces of my heart. 
I am So far from so many of them that truthfully I may never see them again this side of heaven. 

And it hurts....distance and separation places I don't want to deep places inside.  I think my favorite idea of heaven is the thought that everyone I love will be in the same place at the same time....of course that may not be true, as there are some I love who may not join me in heaven and then the most tragic thing of all will be that we will be separated forever. 

I find it very hard to be thankful for distance..for I understand that God is working in all these separations?  Of course...and He can do things in hearts during times of separation that cannot be accomplished any other way.  As a matter of fact almost every reference to separation in scripture refers to purification and holiness so yes, He is surely at work during these times...I respect that..and I trust Him...but to thank Him for difficult....actually this is one of those things I may be better able to thank Him IN rather than for...because thankfully many separations are only for a season...many times the distance is only for a while and then I can be joined again with my loved ones.  And oh the joy that floods my soul! 

Today I will choose to thank God for the distances, the miles, the spaces between me and the pieces of my heart that are scattered abroad...because separation provides opportunity for God to work... space gives us all room to grow.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Being thankful for the hard stuff.....really?

Ok...So this idea of thanking God for bad stuff and hard stuff is very intriguing to me....I can do it...I think....but it has the possibility of getting personal...really personal.   It's actually downright scary.   With these thoughts I begin this experiment...can I actually do it?   Will I really find myself thankful for or in the difficult circumstances of my life?  I guess we'll see.

Today I want to tackle something so many deal with... something I don't like to even admit about myself...but it is true nonetheless.

I am sometimes lonely....and I hate it!

Yes I have friends and family and commitments and a job and all that stuff yet still at times I find myself feeling very isolated and distant from those things...feeling very lonely.  I need someone to "get" me at the particular place I am in.....I know we all feel this at times.  
Am I thankful for these times...for these feelings? ....not usually....mostly I feel as if I deserve to Not be lonely.  Why is that?  Why do I feel as if I shouldn't experience loneliness?...We know that Jesus felt alone at times...He even asked His Father why He had forsaken that is loneliness and abandonment!...and who says I shouldn't share in His a matter of fact...isn't it an honor and a privilege to share in His sufferings, even a reasonable part of the package? 
Yes!...scripture says so ....OK...that I think I can be thankful for least I know that I am experiencing something that Jesus least I know that a payoff is promised..."sharing in His glory"  whatever that means ....and perhaps in time I will learn to be thankful in that experience as well.
 In some ways I guess we as believers will always feel somewhat alone this side of heaven, even while sharing our lives with other believers....maybe He wants it that way so we never get too comfortable in this temporary home.  Thank you, Lord for periods of loneliness...teach me about You in those times.

Roms. 8:8: Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.