A simple request… A profound answer

On the morning of July 19th 2012, I was praying in desperation that God would show me He was near and hadn’t forgotten me. It was one of those prayers that are uttered from a valley place where long shadows of death are casting over your soul. I felt I just needed something to hold on to much like a life preserver for a drowning man. It was a short prayer but it was loaded with expectation mingled with fear. Fear that my simple request would go unanswered and I would be left a beggar on the streets of hope. Still I had summoned my deepest desire and set it to flight in hopes that it would return and bring comfort from my Father.
A few hours later I received a call from my step dad. He said he had been praying and God brought me to his attention. He said he prayed for me and felt led to call me. He mentioned a revival service taking place later that evening at a small at a small country church in our community, and invited me to come. For a weary heart, the possibility of being revived is intriguing, so i said i would like to go. With that, he told me he loved me and would keep me in prayer. It wasn’t until after we ended the call, that I realized that God had reached out to me through my stepdad. I felt that God had sought me out, but He wasn’t finished just yet.
That night we showed up at the revival meeting. Although that night I would have thought that the revival service would be how God would touch me, that wasn’t the case. Of course the service was good. The worship was uplifting. The Word preached was poignant. But God knew exactly where I was and He would find me in an unconventional way.
My mom was sitting beside me during the service. She whispered to me, and said that she had an interesting exchange of Facebook messages with a lady in our church and she wanted me to read the exchange. She handed me her IPhone so I could read the Facebook messages. The string of messages started off with my mom thanking the lady for leading the women’s group in our church. My mom expressed how she had been blessed by the lady and how she led the group. In response, the lady expressed how God had brought her through so. ……..
As I read the messages, I felt tears fill my eyes and hope peaked from around the corner. To hear someone who had faced physical difficulties with no hope of recovery, and yet she learned to walk out her healing in faith to its completion, was such a comfort. Further to rad how she was now filled with compassion and wanting to reach out to me blessed me beyond words. One of the difficult aspects of an impossible situation (mine being unrelenting pain), is that you feel so lonely and disconnected. You look around and everyone else seems to have moved on in life and are experiencing joy and bliss, all the while you are locked in a prison with no hope or forward momentum. It’s like traversing an endless desert, where the scenery never changes and the heat is unforgiving. But in that desert, when you cross paths with someone else, suddenly loneliness escapes if but for a moment, and you walk together for a season until once again your paths diverge. And there are others like this lady who once lived in the desert and found a way out, yet she did not forget the desert and those whom she met while there. She doesn’t forget there are countless multitudes who are struggling on the desert with no hope of escape. For those who cries most will not hear, there are those whom God allows the cries to become a calling to return to the desert and lead others out. This lady is hearing the call. In her messages, she mentioned Gloria Copeland’s Healing School CD series and a great resource that she used.

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Learning to live

As I come to grips that this place I am in is going to be home for some time still, I realize I need to learn how to live. As it stands now my days are a toxic recipe of pain, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and uncertainty. It is clear to me that I am a foreign place and the rules of engagement are not what I am used to. No more “business as usual”, it’s survival mode. I surely don’t want to claim this place as my long term home, but while I am passing through I’ve got to learn how to live here.
As time passes it seems much slower here. Each second seems like hours. Also, I find night time much more inviting than day since I can sleep and get a short escape. Thoughts here are not my own, they are directed by bouts of pain. Pain seems to have a great influence here much like a dictator. Hope, peace, joy, and contentment all bow to pain. Pain has an evil grin which is barely seen through the darkness surrounding its elusive presence.

Escapes

What to do when you aren’t satisfied in God. In fact God seems like more of a concept than a reality. That is a pressing place to be in. The desire to escape becomes at times overwhelming. Is there a place of refuge? If so, why is it so elusive? Are there arms to hold me and not let go. Is there a healing balm to apply to my pain. It seems I wander, much like a man with no mission. On my back I carry these questions wherever I go. They are heavy for sure and slow down my travels at times to just a crawl. I would love to exchange the questions for answers. Answers weigh far less and provide comfort rather than misery. Is there a deep contentment to experience? What color would it be? It seems my world is colored in grey. It all looks the same. The hues are gone. It is a one dimensional, flat canvas on which I walk. The air around me is stale and cold. I look across the way before me and as far as my eyes can see is emptiness. I look down and see a picture on which I stand. The picture seems interesting but fake and distant. If I could just climb into the picture, perhaps I could go deeper and find some treasure. Who painted the canvas below my feet? It certainly tells a story and piques my curiosity. It is maddening though to observe from the outside. I stoop down to touch. I run my fingers across the canvas. I feel nothing. I look closer and there is beauty. Smile begins to stroke my face and hope whispers so faintly. I stare. My eyes are drawn into the canvas. For but a moment I begin to feel warmth and a bit of color emerges. Contours take shape and I hear a comforting sound. I am ripped from the place and thrust upwards into the air. I float ever so high and the canvas is unrecognizable from up so high. I try to hold on to something, find anything to grip, but there is nothing. My moment of freedom was but a taste which now only lingers and reminds me of what is not. Nothing under my feet, I am suspended in a void. What moves me? I feel that I am drifting somewhere unknown. What fills the air around me? Haunting echoes of bygone visions which tease my hopes and leave only a residue of pain. My eyes grow heavy and I feel it would be easier to drift off to sleep. Perhaps a dream would rescue me. I become limp as I allow a new frontier to open up before me.

Canvas

What to do when you aren’t satisfied in God.  In fact God seems like more of a concept than a reality.  That is a pressing place to be in.  The desire to escape becomes at times overwhelming.  Is there a place of refuge?  If so, why is it so elusive?  Are there arms to hold me and not let go.  Is there a healing balm to apply to my pain.  It seems I wander, much like a man with no mission.  On my back I carry these questions wherever I go.  They are heavy for sure and slow down my travels at times to just a crawl.  I would love to exchange the questions for answers.  Answers weigh far less and provide comfort rather than misery.  Is there a deep contentment to experience?  What color would it be?  It seems my world is colored in grey.  It all looks the same.  The hues are gone.  It is a one dimensional, flat canvas on which I walk.  The air around me is stale and cold.  I look across the way before me and as far as my eyes can see is emptiness.  I look down and see a picture on which I stand.  The picture seems interesting but fake and distant.  If I could just climb into the picture, perhaps I could go deeper and find some treasure.  Who painted the canvas below my feet?  It certainly tells a story and piques my curiosity.  It is maddening though to observe from the outside.  I stoop down to touch.  I run my fingers across the canvas.  I feel nothing.  I look closer and there is beauty.   Smile begins to stroke my face and hope whispers so faintly.  I stare.  My eyes are drawn into the canvas.  For but a moment I begin to feel warmth and a bit of color emerges.  Contours take shape and I hear a comforting sound.  I am ripped from the place and thrust upwards into the air.  I float ever so high and the canvas is unrecognizable from up so high.  I try to hold on to something, find anything to grip, but there is nothing.  My moment of freedom was but a taste which now only lingers and reminds me of what is not.  Nothing under my feet, I am suspended in a void.  What moves me?  I feel that I am drifting somewhere unknown.  What fills the air around me?  Haunting echoes of bygone visions which tease my hopes and leave only a residue of pain.  My eyes grow heavy and I feel it would be easier to drift off to sleep.  Perhaps a dream would rescue me.  I become limp as I allow a new frontier to open up before me.

Walking on water.

Today as I was struggling against some issues, a picture came to mind.  I saw my head just above water.  This is how I felt.  At times, when the cares of this life are too much, I find myself being pulled under the water and gasping for air.  Then once again I rise and get my head just above the water and breath in deeply for but a moment until once again I am swallowed up by the waters.  There seems to be this cycle where I life in two distinct states – my head just above and below the waters.  I am tossed back and forth with no predictability.  Never underneath the water long enough such that I drown and remain lifeless.  Never above the water long enough that I am restored totally and experience freedom.  Then it occured to me that this pattern is a natural progression dictated by circumstances, feelings, attitude etc.  Hence the unpredictability of it.  Each day brings a new set of victories, challenges, issues and obstacles.  These forces either pull us under the water or keep our heads just barely above the surface.  Then I considered what it would be like to rise above the water and walk on top of it.  Of course this isn’t naturally possible.  But isn’t that the point?  It is beyond the natural and has an element of faith involved.  My mind questions how this is possible, yet something inside me longs to walk in freedom.

Our Toolbox

This morning I was pondering faith. I instantly saw in my mind’s eye a flat tire. I saw a person staring at the flat tire and hoping that it would become repaired. They were sincere in their hope and really wanted the tire to be repaired. God showed me that often this is how we approach things. We have something in our life which is broken down. Maybe it’s a sickness. Maybe it’s someone who is antagonizing us. We really want God to fix the situation. We pray to him and ask repeatably for him to intervene. We believe. Now flash back to the flat tire. I saw the person get into the trunk of the car and pull out a jack, tire iron and spare tire. They proceeded to jack up the car, take off the flat tire and replace it with the new tire. God showed me that when we have broken situations in our lives, He has given us the tools we need to make repairs. Here are just a few of the tools at our disposal:

II Corithians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Ephesians 6:13-17 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

God tells us that life and death is in the power of our tongue. The words we speak have power to transform (repair) our situation. God also tells us that faith without works is dead. God has given us the tools we need, now it’s up to us to use them. The tools God has given us (His Word) are designed for every situation we will ever face in this life.- II Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Religious Nutjob

A title given to me because I simply believe

in something greater than me which I cannot see

Weak I am framed because I call unto His name,

why reach out to emptiness and hope to obtain

A pointless endeavor I hear them exclaim

My words fall short as I attempt to explain

I am seen as being in chains, playing a religious game

No freedom to pursue and make my own name

Believing in fairy tales in an attempt to make sense

In a world of sorrow and meaninglessness

Called simple minded, I feel much more inclined

To seek for truth instead of wandering blind

Filled with questions that will not be denied

Seeing the beauty in a universe designed

Knowing full well that chance cannot be the answer

To a tapestry carefully knitted by a master

I stare off at the stars and wonder fills my mind

Who wound the arms of the clock of time

Who set each planet in it’s perfect position

And keeps them moving in circular rhythm

Who raises the sun in each mornings glory

And tucks it to sleep at each bedtime story

Such beauty exists and I am drawn to inquire

Of boundless meaning meant to inspire

Although at times the answers seem to evade

and doubts are quick to invade

Even though everything cannot be explained,

the pursuit is not in vain

For greater depths are not yet uncovered,

until one begins on a grand endeavor

And through believing under pressure

One discovers a most prescious treasure

That can’t be bought with this worlds pleasures

or human wisdom dealt in good measure

Though disappointments are not to be avoided

and frustrations often compounded

Countless questions are no stranger

and at times in perilous danger

When the end is not in sight and hope takes flight

No one is immune to an unwelcome plight

So where does one turn who has no faith to stand

and what counselor is on hand?

Oh wise man whose courage is built on sand

what remains of your well laid out plan?

When the floods rise and prove your foundation

will you cling to your faithless reputation?

Oh faithful one, who knows where to run

when the darkness of life blocks out the sun

A secret place of salvation and grace

resting in the arms of of unending embrace

Restoration comes to one who is broken,

and does not resist His word spoken

And from the ashes, the faithful one will arise

and continue pursuit of the highest prize

While the faithless one will continue to deny

and look to the faithful one full of demise

Shouting loud whilst hiding his sobs…..

“he is just a religious nutjob”.