Sunday, April 24, 2016

It is well with my soul

"When peace like a river attendeth my way
 When sorrow like sea billows roll
 Whatever my lot,
 Thou hast taught me to say
 It is well, it is well with my soul."


How long does that take? 

How many lessons until one can say - "whatever their lot" - that it is well with their soul?

Here is the value of a long obedience in the same direction. 
Here is where a lifetime of faith stands to answer the question.

How does one learn that the Lord is faithful?
By going through many things one wishes to never have had happened.

Who would chose hardship? pain? difficulty? disappointment? financial downturn, poor health, or stressful circumstances?  

I'm not seeing many raised hands...

But to get the point where we can stand in our churches and sing these words honestly...well, we have to go through those lessons. Through the experiences of our lives we find that our God is good and loving and gracious and faithful and strong and true through those times when we are not. 

And after a lifetime of learning, we affirm the truths;

 "Let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. 
And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character - that is, approved faith and tried integrity.  and character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5 (Amplified version)

Whatever my lot
Thou  has taught me (and I have learned it through demonstration and experience of Your strength, love, and faithfulness) to say
It is well
It is well with my soul.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Musical Snapshots

Because of how the space time continuum works, it is impossible for us to truly go back and remember how we used to be now that we are who we are.  That being said, there are ways that give us a pretty good idea; our own memories, the memories of others, writings, and , the thing that never lies, pictures.

A snapshot from the past is always an interesting thing is it not?

 Nothing like seeing a picture and remembering that  once you were probably thinner, less wrinkled, had non-gray or more hair, and, to current eyes, a really bad sense of fashion!

This weekend I was treated to some snapshots via music as I pulled out some CD’s (hey, at least they weren’t eight tracks!) from ten and twenty plus years ago.  The first was the oldest, a pop artist whose every lyric I identified with.  His sentiments were my own.  This was my music, my story. 

 It was like seeing myself with an 80’s perm…

The music was angst-driven – ask my kids, I can no longer tolerate whiny music and when they are the DJing in the car they know to avoid it. The lyrics were familiar and reminded me of how I loved them and where I was and how I viewed life at that time. What a picture…

The second CD was more recent – Scott Krippayne’s Autobiography- from 2006. This had been in my regular rotation of music around that time but had gotten down to the bottom of the pile over the years – what a treasure to rediscover; like a photo with a good friend.

When it got to the song “You have been good”, my kitchen became a sanctuary and my heart lifted in worship.  These lyrics had been true then and now I’d lived a decade longer I had even more proof of their validity, or as the song itself says “Looking back over a lifetime, the evidence is clear. In so many ways You’ve been good to me”

If I never get to see another rainbow
Or share another laugh with a friend
If I never stand barefoot by the ocean
Or get to kiss my child good night again

If I never have another prayer that's answered
Or have another blessing come my way
If this is all I know of heaven's kindness
Father, I would still have to say

You have been good
You have been good
And I am in wonder how could it be
You have been good
You've been so good
So many ways You've been good to me

You have shown me mercy upon mercy
Grace upon grace, time after time
But  I know all too well what I'm deserving
Yet, You are still so patient and kind

If suddenly it all were ended
And Your mercies disappeared
Looking back over a lifetime
The evidence is clear
You have been good
You have been good
And I am in wonder how could it be
You have been good
You've been so good
 In so many ways You've been good to me.

Musical snapshots: 
I have changed, 
Amen!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

#Sundayscoming

I've been seeing #Sundayscoming a lot this season and I get it and I love it - yes, Easter Sunday is just around the corner - Alleluia, Amen, Christ will be risen from the grave!

But today it's Saturday.

Typically I miss Saturday.  I observe Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  I leave sanctuaries sad and solemn, aware that the payment for my sin was causing Christ great pain. I exit awed and grateful.

And then it's this morning and I watch the sun come up and plan my Easter menu and activities and do some baking and cleaning and generally have a regular day because I already know what's happening tomorrow.  

And I miss it.

I miss where we actually live; we live here in the "Now what? Saturday".

Any loss, after the shock has lessened, brings this question.  Loss of ability, of a job, of a position, of possessions; after the incredulousness of  "I can't believe that just happened" comes the "now what?".

The older I get the more friends I have who are experiencing the greatest loss, the death of one they love. Spouses, friends, parents and children have left their lives. I see their posts on Facebook on anniversary's of deaths, the times they're overwhelmed and reaching out for comfort for years afterwards...death has ripped their lives apart and I wish that their"Saturday" was only short time the disciples experienced. 

Now what?

Now that all we understood and were believing in and hoping for has been rendered cold and lifeless, now what?

Now that our closest companions are despair and hopelessness, now what?

Now that all my conscious and unconscious expectations for the future have forever altered, now what?

Where is Sunday?

I believe that for those of us who love God Sunday is coming.  
He's promised to never leave us (Hebrews 13:5) and that He gathers all our tears in a bottle. (Psalms 56:8) He knows our every sigh (Psalms 38:9) and heals the brokenhearted. (Psalms 147:3).
He has assured us that all things are working together in a plan for our lives that is ultimately for our good and His glory to make us more like Him. (Romans 8:28,29).  

I think that's powerful; knowing that our Saturday's are not random tragedies but part of God's plan. From our perspective two thousand years later we can say to the grieving and confused disciples, "Hold on, Sunday is coming". 

And today, in your Saturday, it's true for you too.