I have family members and friends who are facing situations where they feel alone and lonely.
Some are wondering if God is listening, if He cares, if He sees, if He actually even knows they exist.
I get it-really I do.
When awful storms cross your own threshold and you’ve previously clung to the notion that God is everywhere, that He is good and that He is controls everything; it’s hard to square that with what you’re experiencing.
I can’t answer all your questions. Goodness, I’m waiting for my own to be answered!
But I can tell you that I am absolutely, positively convinced that the Lord of Heaven, our Shepherd King-Jesus-sees you, knows you and loves you.
And I pray His Presence is made manifest to you today in whatever mess you find yourself in.
Have you ever wondered why there are lists of names in the Bible? Do you, like me, sometimes rush through them or pass over them to get to the “main part” of a story?
But look again, the names ARE the story.
The God of the Bible isn’t the God of the masses. He is the God of the individual.
Read the rest here: He Knows My Name
In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing and the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been and where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus
Jonathan Smith/Casey Beathard/Zach Williams, “There Was Jesus”
Songs reach places in my heart that words alone can never touch.
Read the rest here: Every Minute, Every Moment There Was Jesus
Today I’m remembering the parents at Uvalde, Texas.
When I first heard the news last year I was enveloped in a fog of disbelief (like most folks) and utter horror (as only fellow bereaved parents can comprehend).
I was processing. I was mourning. I was angry.
I relived the awful reality of learning that my child will never again walk through my door, hug my neck, call my name, sit at my table or contribute to a family conversation.
So I want to share something I wrote a couple years ago because I think it’s important.
I have written before that Grief is Not a Hammer in the Hand of God.
I do not for one minute believe that the Lord I love inflicted this pain on me for the purpose of “teaching me something”.
But I absolutely, positively believe that He can use it (and HAS used it) to make me more compassionate, kinder and more grace-filled than I was before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
Still, “becoming” is painful and requires that I submit to the hand of the Potter.
Read the rest here: Unwanted Assignment: Enrolled in the School of Suffering
“The worst conceivable thing has happened, and it has been mended…All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” ~Julian of Norwich
I’m not sure when I first read this quote, but it came to my mind that awful morning. And I played it over and over in my head, reassuring my broken heart that indeed, the worst had already happened, and been mended.
Death had died.
Christ was risen-the firstfruits of many brethren.
Read the rest here: Resurrection: Reality and Reassurance
On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more.
On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall.
Death is, in fact, what some modern people call “ambivalent.” It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.
~C.S. Lewis, Miracles
Bury a child and suddenly the death of Christ becomes oh, so personal.
The image of Mary at the foot of the cross is too hard to bear.
Read the rest here: Remember: Why Good Friday Matters as Much as Resurrection Sunday
Today is the day on the church calendar when we pause and reflect on the Last Supper, and the last words of Jesus to His disciples.
A year’s worth of sermons is contained in John 13-17 but this week I have been drawn to just one verse:
[Jesus said] ‘Now I am giving you a new command—love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. This is how all men will know that you are my disciples, because you have such love for one another.’John 13:34 PHILLIPS
Read the rest here: Maundy Thursday
In some liturgical Christian traditions, today is the day the church remembers and honors Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with expensive and rare perfume.
It was a beautiful act of great sacrifice as the perfume would ordinarily be a family treasure broken and used only at death for anointing a beloved body.
It’s also an expression of deep sorrow because somehow Mary knew.
So she poured out her precious gift on the One Who loves her most.
Tears are my sacrifice.
Holy Week Reflections: Sorrow Lifted as Sacrifice
If you haven’t watched the body of someone you love lowered into the ground while holding your breath and praying, praying, praying that somehow, some way this isn’t real then maybe you can’t imagine what it feels like not to be spared.
Me? It doesn’t take but a single breath to go from “everything is alright” to “my world is shattered”. I feel every. single. death. added to the tally a mass shooting or tornado destruction leaves behind.
So what do we do if we aren’t rescued? What do we cling to if our family isn’t spared?
What if all the prayers lifted on behalf of ones I love don’t stop death from claiming them?
When Jesus entered Jerusalem He was hailed as a hero. But when He didn’t perform as expected He was cast aside.
Will I choose to believe even when it’s hard?
So what if I’m not rescued?
What if my family isn’t spared?
What if all the faithful prayers lifted on behalf of ones I love don’t stop death from claiming them?
Will I still believe?
Will I still trust that God is a loving Father who is in control and working all things together for His glory and my good?
Read the rest here: What If I’m Not Rescued?
I love, love, love the song “Reckless Love” but I have friends who find even the title offensive.
I tend not to get into debates with folks over things like that but this is one gauntlet I’m happy to bend down and pick up.
Because the word “reckless” has more than one meaning.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Choosing Reckless Love
Hey friend-I’ve been there.
Many of us who’ve spent decades in church can attest to filling a position because it answered a need deep inside of us rather than because of our love for Jesus.
It’s entirely possible to be near the things and people of God-even God Himself- and not be attentive to or aware of the Presence of Christ.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Proximity Does Not Equal Intimacy