Tag: faith

it is well

Surrounded by wheelchairs and walkers, my dark-hair head bobbed with gray-hair, white-hair, and no hair heads. We tapped our feet; we clapped our hands. Putting aside aches, pains, and memory lapses, we sang together. We lifted our voices for an audience of One.

I accompanied my 89-year-old Aunt Dot to a gospel sing-along at her assisted living facility. One elderly couple held hands while another lady dozed off. Charlotte elevated her wrapped foot. Susie sang even when unsure of the words.

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

With their worn and broken bodies, their forgetful and confused minds, they sang. It is well, it is well, with my soul. I believed they meant every word. Their pure worship honored God.  Blemished but beautiful.

The presenters offered the salvation message; straight and to the point. Have you asked Jesus into your heart? Raise your hand and we will pray with you. Wynita, who is 99-years old, raised her hand. With child-like faith, she accepted Christ as her Savior.

For there’s a new name written down in glory,
And it’s mine, O yes, it’s mine!
With my sins forgiven I am bound for Heaven, Never more to roam.
The heavenly choir sang through their ailments and loneliness. Every stanza gave  God the glory. Surrounded by wheelchairs and walkers, I discovered Holy ground and it was well with my soul.

moving dirt

Gathered around circular tables at a writer’s conference,  several attendees share their calling. They know they are called to write, speak, lead, or perhaps all three.  There is no hesitation or wavering in their proclamations. Their certainty rattled me and opened my doubting floodgates, then and now.  I continue battling my calling uncertainty in this new season of my life.

What is my calling? How can anyone be so sure?  Why do others see their calling so clearly and I see only fog?

Is writing my calling? I’m not sure. Is knowing my calling the same as knowing God’s will for my life? Probably. But to me, a calling elicits a more personal confirmation. I envision receiving my calling directly from God on His holy cell phone.  Yes, please.

I believe God can and does reveal His calling on our lives but the ‘how and when’ keeps many guessing and waiting.  However, I am realizing more and more, while I am waiting, I need to be busy. I can sit around and fret while eating leftover Christmas cookies or I can move some dirt.

The movie, The Martian, starring Matt Damon is a 2015 sci-fi movie highlighting human strength and the will to survive. During a mission to Mars, Damon is presumed dead and left behind. But he is still alive. Against all odds, he must find a way to contact Earth in the hope that scientists can devise a rescue plan to bring him home.

While he is waiting for a rescue plan, he must attempt to stay alive. Damon must do something, anything. He needs to get busy so he can physically stay alive and also survive mentally. So he moves dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. He shovels dirt into bins and moves them inside in an attempt to grow potatoes on Mars, a planet where nothing grows. He moves dirt while waiting to be rescued.

So, 6 days into 2017,  I am picking up my shovel and moving dirt.  I accomplish my first shovel full by submitting an article to a Christian magazine. Will anything happen? I don’t know. Will my calling be affirmed or denied ? I don’t know. But it felt good to move some dirt, to do something within my control.

Moving dirt is an action step of faith. Damon doesn’t know if his experiment will work but he gives it his best shot. I don’t know if the editor will accept or reject my article, but I gave it my best shot. It felt good to flex my faith muscles which have fallen flabby recently.

Hebrews 11 highlights great dirt movers. Noah started moving dirt when no rain was in sight. Abraham moved dirt in faith as a nomad while waiting for a promised land.  They picked up their shovels and began moving dirt without all the answers and most times, without seeing the end result.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. Hebrews 11:13 NIV

While awaiting my rescue call, I will continue to move dirt.  If you can grow potatoes on Mars, anything is possible.

Happy New Year!

DREAM

As we pause to remember a man with a great dream today, I am reminded of another dreamer. Joseph’s life-journey revolved around his dreams and his God-given ability to interpret other’s dreams.IMG_6557

Joseph innocently shares his dreams with his brothers and his father. Both of his dreams highlight that one day his family will bow to him and be at his mercy. Through the visuals of sheaves of grain and heavenly bodies, God begins to drop hints of His great plans for this shepherd.

‘Ha Ha Ha’ is their  laughing response and Joseph is mockingly referred to as “the dreamer” in Genesis 37:19.  I can hear them roaring with laughter, “That’s a good one, Joey. Tell us another one.”

Their jealously becomes darker and more evil; “Come now, let’s kill him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” Genesis 37:20.

God-ordained dreams don’t die; even if the dreamer does. Joseph’s brothers don’t know Whom they are dealing with. They don’t kill Joseph but sell him as a slave for 20 shekels of silver. Now Joseph is on his way to Egypt.

If Joseph’s highs and lows in Egypt caused him to scratch his head  and wonder if God had abandoned him and those now-hazy dreams, we don’t read of any. We don’t read about any wavering or questioning. We don’t read about Joseph chucking his faith during those dark days.

He suffers through false accusations and false imprisonment. “But God was with him” as we are reminded in Genesis 39:2 and 39:21.

The next dreams belong to Pharaoh’s officials and Pharaoh himself. Joseph interprets the good news for the cupbearer (you will be restored to your position) and the bad news for the baker (you will die). Don’t shoot the messenger.

When Joseph is brought in from his prison cell to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph shows his amazing, unwavering faith. No bitterness. No “it’s about time, God”.  No “You forgot about me, now I will forget about You”. Nope. Joseph gives credit where credit is due. “I can’t, but God can.”

“I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Genesis 41:16 NIV

Joseph’s dreams and their interpretations have caused him much pain and now much praise and admiration. Egypt and the surrounding lands will survive the famine. Joseph is reunited with his family and offers forgiveness. Forgiveness that resonates of “I cannot, but God can.”

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us. Ephesians 3:20 NIV

Sweet dreams!

Photo credit: Sarah Bessey