Problems

I remember one night at the cottage; slumber was elusive because I was worrying about a problem. I was playing with the puzzle in my mind, spinning solutions, and repeating scenarios in my head. At the same time, a little fly had made its way into my bedroom and was buzzing around my head, distracting and annoying me. I realized that many problems are like this common housefly. The housefly is an irritant at best, buzzing around your head day or night, landing here and there, creating a tickle and disturbing your work or slumber.

That evening, I found myself tossing and turning to avoid the noise of the fly and hiding under the covers. If this kept up, I knew I would wake in the morning feeling exhausted and achy. However, if I made the effort to get up and turn on the light, I could find the pesky bug and get rid of it.

I came to the same conclusion about my problem; I needed to illuminate it. I needed to turn on the light to get rid of this ticklish issue. God is this Light. He says, “Do not worry and let Me take care of it.” The problem I was facing was just like a pesky fly. There will always be flies in my world. No matter what I do, whether I close the windows tight or wear bug spray to bed, they will be there. I need to turn on the Light before I go to bed to search them out before I am vulnerable. I need to let the Light help me. If I let all my thoughts and strength go into worrying about my problems, when will I think about God? If I am consumed with the housefly, when will I listen to the voice of God and do His work? I need to let trust be the flyswatter of my problems. God created me to enjoy life. He reminds me to look to Him for the answers instead of worrying.

That night at the cottage, I got out of bed, turned on the light, and rid myself of the pesky fly. Then I got down on my knees and prayed to God to help me with my problem. After that, I crawled back into bed, put my trust in God and did not give a second thought to my problem. It was the best sleep I had in a very long time.

May your unfailing love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise; then I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in your word (Psalm 119:41-42 NIV).

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Posted in Where Life Meets Faith | Tagged , ,

Counted Days

My mother called me with the sad news that my uncle had passed away. He had just returned with his wife from playing cards when he said that he felt dizzy, put his head down, and died. I think that everyone is still in shock. I cannot even imagine the sorrow that my cousins are experiencing right now. It seems so senseless.

Death is bizarre. We know that we will all die – it’s a fact of life. But when it happens to one you love, it just doesn’t seem right. It can feel so arbitrary. Why does one person live to see their 100th birthday when another is stillborn? Why does a child die before they even get to be a rebellious teenager? I ask these questions, yet return to the fact that we all die. I guess the question is not so much a matter of the fact that we die, but rather the fact of when we die. Who chooses this?

It says in the Bible that God does. He formed us in our mother’s womb. Isaiah 44 verse 24 says, “This is what the LORD says – your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.”

God knows how many hairs are on our head. Matthew 10:30 says, “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

And God has even counted our days. Psalm 139 verse 16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

The English Standard Version quotes it as, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

Having our days ordained is similar to having them “numbered”. God knows exactly when we are going to die. God is sovereign.

I find this both a comfort and a question. It’s comforting to know that death is not so arbitrary. It’s comforting to know that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives. But it still leaves the question of why. Why do good people die young? I don’t have the answer to this. And I won’t know the answer on this side of heaven. I’m not sure that I will even know the answer after I die and face my Maker.

But I can rest in the fundamental truths that God is sovereign, God is good and God is faithful. God is love. I can leave my questions at His feet and pray for peace in this time of sorrow knowing that He will comfort me.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 NIV).

 

Posted in Where Family Meets Faith | Tagged , ,

It Takes One To Know One

Recently, I overheard my son say, “It takes one to know one” in response to his sister’s teasing. She had called him a name and he retorted back with that line. The teasing stopped. What can you say in response? It’s a classic line. I can think of other classic comebacks like, “I am rubber, you are glue. What bounces off me, sticks to you.” Or “You are what you say.” All retorts that I had forgotten about until I had kids old enough to talk and engage in sibling rivalry.

Imagine my surprise when reading through The Message – The New Testament in Contemporary Language – I came across that exact line, “It takes one to know one.” I found the line in Romans 2. In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes,

“Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanours. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.”

Well said. I believe that many of our well-known sayings come out of scripture. What the Bible teaches is good stuff. Take some time today and pick up a Bible; it’s worth reading.

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgement on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgement? (Romans 2:1-3 NIV)

 

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Time Changer

I watched an interesting and somewhat comical movie called, “Time Changer” (www.TimeChangerMovie.com). It is a time travel adventure about a Bible Professor from the year 1890 who travels to present time. It depicts the difference between the way of life in the 1800s and today’s society with special emphasis on the changes in religion and God within the school system, politics and entertainment. The movie was thought provoking.

The very last scene sparked in me both fear and wonderment. A professor from the 1800s was using a time machine to see how far in the future he could send a person. Originally, he set the dial at the year 2100 but the machine refused the date, implying that the world no longer existed at that time. Then he turned it to 2090, but again the date was rejected. The movie ended with him changing the date again and again, but as the viewer we obviously don’t know when the machine finally accepted the date.

I don’t spend too much time thinking about this. Somehow, like death, I assume the rapture will be years and years in the future. The book of Revelation in the Bible promises that Jesus will return as the coming King and glorified Lord. Sin and evil will not last forever. “Yes, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20 NIV). When will this happen? What if it isn’t years away? What if the end of time is tomorrow? Or later today? I am forced to ask, Am I ready? Are you ready?

God commands His people to remain completely faithful to Him. If you died today would you go to heaven? If you reply, “I hope so” the Bible gives us the assurance that we can know. Thankfully, believers can know because of the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of Jesus.

It is sobering to think in these terms, yet this is exactly what the Bible instructs us to do. Live your life as if Jesus were returning today. The truth is that this is not a hypothetical way to live. Today, we need to ask ourselves if we are ready.

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, we would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him (Matthew 24:42-44 NIV).

 

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Butterfly Lesson

Last night, if you were my neighbour walking by our home, you may have thought someone was being murdered. My daughter’s screams and cries were piercing in the echo of the bathroom. Why was she creating such a scene? She didn’t want her dad to take out her earring.

It turns out that while at play at school one day, she had bumped into a friend and it had hurt her ear. The ear then swelled and caused her earring to pull awkwardly in its hole. This aggravated the problem to the point where even a brush by her ear caused her to howl. My husband needed to see what was causing the pain and whether her ear was indeed infected.

But every time he leaned in to look, my daughter kicked up a storm and cried out in fear.

Standing by, I tried to soothe my daughter and remind her that Daddy was trying to help, not to hurt. I said, “Trust Daddy. It may hurt a little when he pulls the earring out, but if it’s infected we must treat it now. It’ll be better in the long run.”

This gave me cause to reflect. How many times do I beg God to stop the aggravation or minor pain in my life? Many times I kick up a fuss and create a scene. I am uncomfortable! I don’t like this! However, maybe in the long run I’ll be better for it.

God may be protecting me from greater pain down the road by allowing me to experience this discomfort. He may be taking care of things now in order that my future will be brighter.

It reminds me of the story of the little boy who came across a butterfly struggling to escape from its chrysalis. The boy took mercy on the butterfly and helped to split open the chrysalis to release it. However, the butterfly did not survive outside the chrysalis because it had not fully developed. What appeared to be a great struggle for the butterfly was actually helping to prepare it for life outside his home.

We need to keep in mind that although we may feel as if we’re suffering and hurting, God is ultimately in control. He has our best interests in mind and He’s taking care of us. It might not feel like it at the time, but we need to learn to trust our Abba Father.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12 NIV).

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