Bad News

Life keeps taking crazy turns. Each day the news interrupts life; revealing the darkness of the world we live in. Headlines scream across the screen of the next new terror that’s come to light. Not wanting to see it, we turn inward and end up looking at self and see the us we don’t want to see instead. Because the evil one is like that- he takes that evil he distributes through this world and makes it personal. He shows us all that is wrong in an attempt to blot out all that is right.

But darkness will never blot out the light. Can’t happen. Never. Ever.

When that personal attack comes- and it will- (he is nothing if not relentless in his accusations) how do I handle it? I sometimes think it might be easier if it was a once and done attack; however, the attacks are life long in this world; after all, that’s what he does- attack, again and again, over and over, until we are defeated or victorious.

Sometimes the attacks eat me alive. I dwell and dwell; blaming myself for all the miseries of the world and my world. At other times, I lash out at those I love most and lay the blame at their feet. I make rash decisions that I bitterly regret later. Regardless of my choice of response, there are consequences in this messed up world.

The emotional consequences are so hard for me. It’s difficult to remember that the here and now is just that. It is a blade of grass that fades away when its time is done. I remind myself that eternal life began the moment I believed. (John 3:16-17) That my life will continue long after this shell I now live in is consumed.

We all have moments, days, weeks, months, years we would obliterate completely from our lives. If only we could. So many things gone wrong. Where is the “do-over” for them? But would you do those things over that served a purpose in shaping who you are?

They are signposts, milestones, events that i will remember for the rest of my life while I draw breath. I don’t feel thankful that those things are part of my life most of the time. Yet, I realize that without them and the restoration and forgiveness that comes through Christ I would be useless. To God, to others, to myself.

I look to my God for help. He is the One who rescues me. The One who knows me better than I know myself. We are all broken vessels and He knows how broken we are. In those inward moments, we only see the brokenness in us. When we only see death and despair and destruction all around us He sees so much more. He sees what He intended He sees the way things were  as He designed them. His is the only validation we need. His creation, made in His image, for His pleasure to have fellowship with Him.

Because we believe, we are forgiven. Our sin no longer tips the balance in our lives. He grieves when we grieve, He holds on when we can’t and He loves us still through all things without regard to our actions, our thoughts, our preferences, our anger or our frustration.

He Loves Us.

Warts and all.

And in these days of frustration, anger, confusion, danger and despair He walks the wilderness with us.

In the silence He is there.

When we listen, we can hear His voice whisper on the wind:

I love you.

You are mine.

I call you by name and you are my precious one.

Never forget that.

Forget everything else but not that.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. John 17:15

Poetry from out of Nowhere


DECEMBER DESPAIR AND THE HOPE HE BRINGS

Somewhere in the world tonight 

A mother’s lost her baby  

A husband’s lost his wife 

A child has lost her brother

A young man has lost his life

 

How can it be? 

These things that cause such grief?

 

I pray You, Lord, look down and see our poverty 

I pray You, Lord, reach down and relieve our helpless misery 

 

Our hope, it seems, 

Is in wishing for what is not and what never could be 

How unrealistic and heavy this vision sits

 

 It burdens our hearts and blinds our sight 

It keeps us far from morning’s light

 

Where Hope springs-

Alive 

Eternal 

Abiding 

Through all this pain

In Love’s Strong Hand 

Our souls’ best hope resides in You 

 

We cannot know the fullness of Your own great plan

Yet, fully know the comfort in Your nail-scarred hand 

 

We all may grieve a loss today 

But the ransom’s paid 

We are redeemed

 Our time on earth is brief. 

 

Lord. 

You are faithful

You hold us close

 

When all we see is dark, unending night 

When we question all that is, 

All that You are, 

All we’ve ever known and thought-

 

When we only know our spirits will soon depart

 And all our plans will come to naught*

 

When finding only dark despair, 

We grieve and grieve in the depths of sorrow 

Until we see at last

You are the Strength of our heart 

Our Refuge and our Hope, our Portion Forever**

*Psalm 146:4  **Psalm 73:26

 

Where do I start?

I have been watching the news with increasing concern…

No. Wait, that’s not right, let me try again.

I have been watching the news with increasing alarm over the past few months.

And that’s not right either.

I have been watching the news with increasing certainty that we are truly in the last days.

Maybe it’s because the past 20 years have seen the internet become part and parcel of our lives and the news, wherever it is, or wherever it’s from, or wherever it’s going is instant. No lag time. No news that reads… “three days ago this happened in…” Now it’s instantaneous. We see the news as it’s happening.

All the time.

There are earthquakes, volcanoes erupting, tsunamis, drought, floods, landslides, mudslides, hailstorms with hail the size of grapefruit, tornadoes where we’ve never seen tornadoes, killer diseases whose names we’ve never heard before today and general mayhem in the form of little wars that turn into big wars that seem to be more like bulldozers running flat out over the land, people, creatures, nature without regard for any life at all.

Do these things touch you? They touch me to my core and my heart hurts. I shake my head, look up to the heavens and say “Lord, what do I pray for? It’s all beyond me. There’s so much happening, where do I start?”

And you know what? Those things I mentioned, He knows. He knew about them when the words were written in Scripture long, long ago. Before whole countries were devastated by earthquakes, before volcanoes erupting changed the ecosystem in a flash, before disease and death wiped out major portions of some countries’ populations. Before ISIS began showing just how little they value life in the name of their prophet, before Boko Haran decimated the structure of the land where they live and broke the lives of so many in the name of their god because they could. Before Hitler set his holocaust in motion. Before even the Knights Templar and those who followed them to the Holy Land wreaked havoc in the name of the god they served.

My soul is tired. My body is tired. My heart is weary beyond description.

All these things. So many things.

Lord, Look down upon our poverty.

Lord, reach down and help us in our misery.

We are poor and miserable. We have always been poor and miserable. But there wasn’t always a mirror around to reflect it back to us so instantly. There is now.

There are so many Things happening.

We pray, we send money, clothes, food, water. Some of us even wade into those ravaged areas and do our best to help with the gifts He’s given us to use. But it’s not enough.

It is never enough. It will never be enough.

We are woefully unprepared. Just as we were woefully unprepared for the Holocaust. There were a few, who saw the writing on the wall as it happened.

But not enough.

“There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment. Wanting no security, but in faith and obedience, laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God. Not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This world is broken.

When you hear of war and rumors of ward, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Mark 13:7

Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. Luke 21:10-11

There is still hope.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we mingle have hope. Romans 15:4

There is still time to tell the world about the Blood of Christ that has provided the way for us to have peace. The end is near, but because these are the early skirmishes in this war against evil there is still time to show them Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16