Monday, July 29, 2013

I Wasn't Expecting That

There's been an unusual amount of surprises in my life lately. Some of them have been wonderful - like the surprise of seeing my big brother's car roll into our driveway after I hadn't been expecting to see him for another month. But most of them have been not-so-great. Like hearing that my brother-in-law end up receiving twenty-six stitches and surgery after a collision with a glass patio door. Or like learning my sister-in-law ended up in the hospital with a ruptured Meckel's Diverticulum. (Triple surprise. Who even knows what that is, let alone has one, let alone a ruptured one?) To be honest, sometimes surprises aren't fun. In fact, they can be scary.

In the midst of the fear, of the unknown, of the surprise, I've been reminding myself that the Lord wasn't surprised. He never is. From eternity past, He has known the future: He has known exactly what was going to take place in my life on this day. He knows what is going to take place tomorrow. There is nothing, nothing, nothing that will take my God by surprise.
"In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them." - Psalm 139:16, NASB
Although I may be shocked, the Lord is not. Maybe He's simply shocking me back into His arms. To find strength in Him. To rest in Him. To trust in Him.
"'Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'" - Isaiah 41:10, NASB

Monday, July 8, 2013

And then the Storm Came

I've never really like thunderstorms. Ever. A rumble of thunder, a flash of lightning - that's okay. But it's this business of severe storms that can turn into tornadoes that terrifies me. In fact, if I made a list of the top five things that terrify me, tornadoes and snakes would be right up there, along with losing a loved one. As a kid, I remember huddling in our downstairs hallway (because we didn't have a basement), clutching my teddy bear and praying for God's protection as a tornado went around the town of Sioux Falls. That tornado later became known as the Spencer Tornado, as it hit and crushed little Spencer, Iowa. Even as a 24 year old adult, I still feel the same fear as I did back in first grade.

So tonight, as the sirens blared, the wind rushed in, the wind slammed against the windows, my heart instantly felt fear. Fear for me, for my sleeping baby boy, for my husband. I opened my Bible, knowing that I needed comfort only my Father could give. I was trying to find something in the Psalms - they're full of comfort verses in tough times, right? Instead, I ended up in Job. And the Lord couldn't have spoken more clearly -
"'Out of the south comes the storm, and out of the north the cold. From the breath of God ice is made, and the expanse of the waters is frozen. Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning. It changes direction, turning around by His guidance, that it may do whatever He commands it. Whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.'" - Job 37:9-13, NASB (emphasis mine)
I have no idea what direction this storm came from. But I do know the One who sent it. The One who is near when I am afraid. The One who is my Rock, my fortress, my protection. I may hate the storm, but I am not alone in it. And for that, I am thankful.
"But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, 'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . . Do not fear, for I am with you.'" - Isaiah 43:1-3, 5a, NASB (emphasis mine)
Unlike me, Jordan loves these things. After spending some time watching the storm, he said -"It's like the trees are bowing down out there. It's pretty cool."

So maybe this is just one way that the created praises the Creator?

Monday, July 1, 2013

After the Whirlwind

I might as well come right out and admit it: I am feeling sorry for myself. Because for the first time since 2001, I am not attending the FLY (Free Lutheran Youth) Convention. Six times I've gone; three as a student, three as a counselor. A majority of my family is in Estes Park, Colorado. Many of my close friends are there. People I haven't seen in years, don't keep in good contact with, but still consider dear to my heart - they are there too. But I stayed home. Back in February, when Jordan and I were praying about Zeke and I attending, we felt a peace about staying home. All I'd like to know now is: what happened to that peace?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that for the past three weeks, I've been surrounded by people. Family reunions and wedding activities for two weeks in Minneapolis; then nearly four days of family visiting us here in Beulah. And now, it's just me and Zeke. Don't get me wrong, I love my son. But after so much activity, after that whirlwind of three weeks, it's pretty quiet around here.

So in the midst of my moping, I'm reminding both my heart and my head that the Lord knows what I don't know. Maybe He wanted us home because of that suspiciously snotty, sometimes congested nose of Ezekiel's that hasn't gotten worse but hasn't gone away. Maybe He wanted us home because He knew those two weeks away really would be enough for us, despite the fact that I currently feel like we could be gone another two. Maybe He wanted me to stay home to remind me that I don't always have to be in the midst of the "action", of the exciting things. To remind me that there is ministry to be done right here at home in Beulah. To show me the importance of and power of prayer for a gathering that is 670 miles away.
"Devote yourselves to prayer; keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ . . . Conduct yourselves with wisdom towards outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt . . . 'Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.'" - Colossians 4:2-3, 5-6, 17; NASB (emphasis mine)
Unfortunately, it's always one thing to know truth and entirely different thing to believe truth. That's what I'm working on right now. Who knows, maybe it'll take all week for that to take place. But I've simply got to trust that God's thoughts and plans are better than my own (Isaiah 55:8-9).

And I better be faithful with the time He has given me in the place He has led me.