Monday, April 25, 2016

Crazy Busy!

I laughed when I saw this sign and couldn't resist taking a picture of it. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it is a sad commentary on those of us who are crazy busy. 

Dear Reader, do you fall into the "crazy busy" group, as I do? If so, it's time, past time, for us to slow down, for we are not keeping the pace and, thereby, not experiencing the blessings God wants to give us--blessings we so desperately need: salvation, strength, and rest, to name a few.


For thus the LORD GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved. In quietness and trust is your strength." But you were not willing.
Isaiah 30:15, New American Standard Bible

Saturday, April 23, 2016

In All Things

While praying for a dear friend’s four-year-old grandson who was in the Intensive Care Unit in a children’s hospital, I asked God to make Jax well and strong again. Then, I added, “If that’s Your will.”

As soon as I’d whispered those last four words, I wondered if I truly meant them or if I’d said them merely because I knew I should.

Immediately, I recalled these words from the hymn All the Way My Savior Leads Me: “For I know whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.”

Thankfully, I’ve known those words (written by Fanny J. Crosby in 1875) for many years and have often received comfort from them. For example, once when I was lying on a cold, hard table awaiting a frightening medical procedure that could lead to an even scarier diagnosis, those words, which I’d often sung in church, popped into my brain; and then I knew that whatever happened—good or bad (from the human perspective)—would be God’s will for me. I truly accepted that. Not a smidge of doubt. Only absolute certainty. 

Thankfully, all things turned out well. But if they hadn’t, I would have still believed that God’s way was best, that He knew what He was doing and why He was allowing certain things to happen.

I can accept God’s will for me, but find it harder to let God be God in the lives of those I love. Thus, when I prayed for the little boy, I so didn’t want to give God any leeway with the outcome. I truly yearned for Jax to be fully—and quickly—restored to health and had reluctantly added, “If that’s Your will.”
"O Father,” I prayed. “You have shown me again and again that You do ALL things well, even those that don’t turn out the way I hoped they would. Forgive me for doubting You in any way. Forgive me for failing to remember that You love this precious child, who is much loved and cherished and cared for by his family and friends, infinitely more than they do. Help my unbelief. Help me to fully trust You, even in this.”

And we know 
that God causes everything to work together 
for the good of those who love God 
and are called according to his purpose for them.
Romans 8:28, New Living Translation

Click here to listen to the Haven of Rest Quartet sing the song mentioned above:

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Closer Look

A photographer whose newsletter I enjoy, recently sent one entitled The Intimate Landscape. The title intrigued me, since landscape photos usually show large vistas such as a mountain lake in the foreground and snow-capped mountains in the background. Such scenes are beautiful and much admired; I'm thankful to have photographed many and varied grand vistas. However, the photographer who sent the newsletter encouraged her readers to take a closer look and see the "intimate landscape," that is, to see beauty in the details that comprise the larger landscape.

As I thought about that, I remembered some poppies I'd photographed recently at the Mobile Botanical Gardens (in  Alabama). The poppies were part of a much larger, postcard-pretty scene, and when I looked more closely at them, I was awed by their beauty and spent more time photographing them than I did the larger landscape. 

Even though not all landscapes are pretty, I can usually find something that is beautiful--if I take a closer look. For example, when we recently had a new roof put on the house where my husband had grown up, a "roll-off" dumpster was brought in so that the roofers could toss all the old shingles, nails, and other debris into it. It was old and discolored and rusty and had several holes. I photographed it from a distance and then walked over for a closer look at its surface. The beautiful colors and the varied textures and patterns I found on that badly mistreated, badly scarred dumpster amazed me! Had I not taken a closer look, I'd have continued to think the dumpster was quite ugly.

That experience set me to thinking about how the larger view we have of some people and/or circumstances leads us to think they, too, are very ugly.  We do not see anything appealing about them. But if we take the time and make the effort to move in a bit closer, chances are good that we'll find something to admire about them.

Although we tend to form opinions about others based on outward appearance, God looks beyond the exterior and sees what each of us is like on the inside. Obviously, He's far more interested in our "intimate landscape" than in the larger landscape of our lives.
God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7