Tag: hope

It’ll Never Happen to Me

by on Mar.21, 2009, under Musings

Until it does. The Nurse Practitioner removed part of the lesion for biopsy yesterday, and the waiting began. I’m not really worried because I’ve had other encounters with the consequences of a lifetime under the California sun. Odds are that it’s a basal cell or maybe a slightly more serious squamous. No problem, and yet ….

It’s times like this that get us thinking. Sure, we know that bad things are happening all around us. Cancer. Drunk drivers. A toddler left unwatched for just a moment. But life experience for most is surprisingly free of tragedies with permanent consequences. Our earliest encounters with pain or sickness ended well. Mommy kissed the skinned elbow and “made it all better.” The foul-tasting syrup or shot at the doctor’s office took care of the problem. Life went on. Certainly not problem or pain-free, but life goes on. Intellectually we know that something terribly bad could happen but our inner self has convinced us: it’ll never happen to me.

Then we discover a lump, a shadow appears on the x-ray, or the doctor asks to see us instead of a nurse sharing the expected news over the phone. Just like that life changes. Healing kisses don’t work and neither do all the treatments of modern medicine. Broken hearts struggle with haunting memories and what ifs. Christians unite in prayer for healing. But nothing changes.

We see others touched but not us. Why Lord? is our constant companion, and invitations for prayer and healing are seen not as times of expectancy but disappointment. It’ll never happen to me remains a part of us but takes on a whole new meaning.

What do we do then? How do we live when hope is gone?

The book of Mark tells the story of a woman who – and I absolutely love this expression – “had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors.” (Mark 5:26) . Twelve years. She spent all she had. “Yet instead of getting better, she got worse.” How easy it would have been for her to give up. To think: it’ll never happen to me. If you identify with her situation keep following her story.

When she had nothing left, she heard about Jesus. “If I just touch his clothes I will be healed.” That’s faith. She held onto hope for healing when hope had disappointed so many times before. But this time her hope was in someone that does not disappoint. Jesus.

Years ago I heard Jack Hayford say it this way: “God always acts suddenly, no matter how long it takes.” That’s the truth. For twelve years the woman suffered, then suddenly …. 

Everything changed. God is like that.

As people of faith we must resist the temptation to live our lives in a mindset that it’ll never happen to me. Because we know the God of the Suddenly. No matter how long it takes.

I’m going to keep that in mind … as I wait for the lab results.

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Taxing the Tithe

by on Feb.27, 2009, under Faith in the Public Square

The government is looking for money, and this week it proved that nothing is sacred in its never ending search for new revenue sources. The Chronicle of Philanthrophy reported that the feds are preparing to tap into the offering baskets of churches, synagogues, faith-based ministries and other non-profits whose life blood is the generosity of private donors.

The proposal to cap the annual tax deductible amount that can be given to non-profit organizations isn’t unexpected. In our increasingly secularized and faith-hostile culture it was really only a matter of time. But what does that say about who and where we are as a nation? What does it mean when we discourage generosity toward organizations like the Salvation Army, an acknowleged model of compassion and integrity in favor of corrupt and inefficient government bureaus?

How misplaced are our priorities when we spend billions on a “war” on drugs and then take steps toward disarming organziations like Teen Challenge that actually succeed at restoring drug casualties to productive lives?

Hello? Does this make any sense? More later.

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by on Feb.24, 2009, under Life Poems

Life Poems represent various aspects of how God has actively been involved in changing me into the person He has always intended. Trust is a continuing testimony of His faithfulness to my wife Pam and me. Even in the hard times … He is there, He is faithful, He is God.

Few have known the privilege
Of more than passing pain,
To move beyond the heartbreak
And count the loss as gain.

Strange it seems to many
Who watch but do not know
That all things we encounter
Are there for us to grow.

To shape us more completely
Increase our trust in Him
Remove all imperfection
And turn our hearts from sin.

Teach us what’s important
New lessons every day,
Joy from tribulation
Communion when we pray.

Trust when there’s no reason
Seen from the world’s view,
Learning strength from weakness
In all that we go through.

Suffering into patience
Patience into strength
Strength at last to hope
When He has worked at length.

Life is filled with sorrows
It’s true for rich and poor
Some always seem to prosper
While others just endure.

One will face the tragic
Yet grow in deeper joys,
Another vainly struggles
‘Til pain his faith destroys.

What makes one get yet stronger
And the other lose his way?
New mercies every morning
Or despair with each new day?

Life is more than science
We can’t explain it all,
To understand more fully
Comes only with His call.

We have design and purpose
Shaped by the potter’s hand
To value what’s eternal
And clearly see His plan.

When viewed upon this canvas
Our suffering and our pain
Form a priceless treasure
We have not lost, but gained.

Still it’s never easy
Life’s struggles that we face,
But He understands our problems
He gives unmeasured grace.

So rest in this true promise
It’s Spirit guaranteed
He’ll never, ever, leave you
He’ll always fill your need.

Those times when darkness threatens?
When hope is all but gone?
In faith just start to praise Him
He’ll there renew your song.

Once more you’ll know His presence
And then, again, you’ll be
Aware that present trials
Can’t match eternity.

Remember, trust Him fully
In everything you do,
You’ll find His tender leading
Each day will see you through.

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