Monday, April 19, 2010

He Loves Us

We had worship night at our church last night and it was amazing. The music was incredible, my beautiful daughter was up there singing on the team, the energy in the room was over the top. But even better than all of that was that I could feel the presence of God.

So why is that significant? I've been walking with Christ for over 20 years, I've felt God lots and lots of times. But what I've learned in those 20 years is that it's not constant. Depending on what's going on in my life, sometimes I feel connected to and plugged in to God and sometimes I don't. Lately, I've been in an "I don't" time. The hard part is that I still love Jesus, I still believe the Bible is true...but I'm pissed off that life is so hard. Lately my head hurts again every day. And my back hurts. And my stomach hurts and we're trying to figure out why and that means more tests. I am overwhelmed by my own physical challenges, so overwhelmed that the day to day life of volunteering, being a friend, cooking, cleaning, and parenting 2 teens--1 who we're still homeschooling and 1 who we're helping launch into adulthood--sends me over the edge and I don't even want to pray. And amazingly, that's when I don't hear or feel God. (ok, that amazingly is sarcastic)

One of the songs we sang last night has the lines;
"When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful you are
And how great your affections are for me"

What really struck me was the realization that God's glory can eclipse my afflictions. An eclipse of the sun doesn't mean that the sun doesn't exist, it means that we don't see it. God could take my "afflictions" away completely. That's usually the source of my anger, he could--he's capable and powerful enough, but he doesn't. However, I can choose to focus on the glory of God, how beautiful he is, how great his affections are for me and when my focus is on those things my present sufferings don't seem so overwhelming. My choice is to remain angry that my afflictions exist at all or to let it go and become unaware of them because I'm allowing God's awesomeness to block them from view.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I really don't like stretching. It hurts, it's time consuming. I just want to get to my workout. But stretching is a key part of working out. When you don't stretch, muscles think they don't need to be as long as they once were so they shorten up. You lose function that you used to have. You'll even have increased pain.

I just ended a couple of months in physical therapy. At the start of every session they do stretches on me. Then they have me do more stretching exercises. And after that's all done, then I can start the exercises that will strengthen and repair the muscles. I am always tempted at home to just do the exercises and skip the stretching.

It occurred to me the other day that I have the same attitude in my spiritual life. I like my routines. I don't like change. I don't really like to be stretched out of my comfort zone. But when I look back over my life I see that every time God has stretched me in a direction I didn't really think I wanted to go in, great growth has happened. Sometimes the stretching was as simple as developing the discipline to read my bible daily. Sometimes it was harder like joining a small group where I didn't know anyone or moving from Washington state to California.

So what's my point? I still don't like stretching--either physically or spiritually. But I will willingly do it for the benefit it brings.