“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Photo

It was over 24 hours before it happened.

Christopher and I had decided to be part of the B.A.A. 5K on Sunday morning, April 14th, 2013.  I mean... we would get a medal and a t-shirt and actually cross the same finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Why not?  It is good exercise.  Anthony came to cheer us.  Even brought a cowbell.

It was a gorgeous morning.  Walking the streets of Boston.  Trees in spring bloom.  Looking at the beautiful Brownstones.  Passing by the iconic Bull & Finch Pub which was the model for the TV show "Cheers."  Having the opportunity to take it all in while the streets were closed and most people were just waking up for their morning cup of coffee. 

Walking.  Enjoying the beauty.  Enjoying the quiet.  The peacefulness of it all.  I was walking and most everyone was finished the 5K.   It seemed like I had the city of Boston to myself. 

As I approached the finish line, I started to take photos with my iPhone.  I am not even sure why.  I guess I thought that normally those crossing this finish line are running so fast they don't get to stop and take a photo.  To take in the grandeur of it all.  To experience the moment. 

Because the next day this area would be so crowded. 
So very crowded. 
So very difficult to get to.
I probably wouldn't get to see it.
Wouldn't get to see Anthony actually cross the finish line.
There would be so many people.

And so as I crossed the finish line, I stopped.  I turned around and took a photo.  Anthony was waiting for me, so I took it quickly and then went to meet him.

Not realizing that this photo would look so familiar.  Because for the next week I would see this vantage point on the television over and over, again.  Over and over, again.  Over and over, again.

Hot tears still fill my eyes.  I am hoping words will bring my mind some clarity.

Because the next day everything looked different. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"If You've Lost Faith, Borrow Mine"

Some men brought to him
a paralytic, lying on a mat.

When Jesus saw their faith,
he said to the paralytic,
"Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."
Matthew 9:2 NIV

She told me that they had stopped praying for her daughter-in-law numerous times. Just given up. Too tired. Too much time. No change.

But she came up to the altar for prayer last week. One more time. One more desperate prayer. And we prayed together for her daughter-in-law. "For where two or three have gathered..."

Today she hurried to greet me. She was excited. Ecstatic. Grateful to God. Her daughter-in-law finally FINALLY agreed to get the help she needed for her alcoholism.

And I stopped in my tracks. And held her tight. And was amazed.

I was listening to a book by John Maxwell last week. He spoke of a young preacher named Kevin who went off to start a church... but had become disillusioned with the results... and Kevin wearily returned to his mentor to tell him that he had failed. And his mentor said to him, "Kevin, if you've lost faith, borrow mine."

Are you disillusioned? Weary? Have you been praying and wondering if the Lord will come through? Does it have to do with addiction? Rejection? Fear? Health? Finances? What is it? What are those dusty prayers? The ones that break your heart?

Because today, I've come to tell you... If you've lost faith, borrow mine.

When Jesus healed the paralytic in Matthew 9, He did it when He saw "their faith." Not the faith of the paralytic. But those who carried him. Who carried him on his mat.

And today... I'm offering... to carry your mat.

This is not a one-time offer. And I am the type who will want to pray with you, but understand that sometimes you don't even know how to pray for yourself. I've been there. And I've leaned on the faith of others. I've borrowed their faith... until I could find my own, again.

Because earlier today I had the privilege of praying with another woman. With her own heartbreak. And I was wondering... Lord, how will You answer this prayer?

If we are faithless,
He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Himself.
2 Timothy 2:13 NASB

Even when my faith is lacking... it doesn't make God less faithful. He will always be faithful.

And for those times when you feel like you have no hope... no faith...

Just remember my offer... "If you've lost faith, borrow mine."

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Object of Her Displeasure

"You can't understand the seriousness of idolatry without understanding the jealousy of God.  
And you can't understand his jealousy without some understanding of his relentless, 
powerful love for you, because they are intertwined." 
 ~ "Gods at War:  Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart" 
by Kyle Idleman author of "not a fan" 

Jealous Momma

She was ticked.  She kept click-click-clicking.  I looked for a nest but didn't see any.  She was mad.  Territorial.  Jealous.  Since I could not find the object of her displeasure, I continued pruning in my backyard.

Again, click-click-click.  This time she summons a hummingbird.  I am getting a little nervous.  Never having seen the movie "The Birds" but well-knowing what it was about... I pull back and observe the area.  Then I see it.  In the hanging basket above my head.

Object of Her Affection

Four little, tiny blue eggs.  The object of her affection.  She was jealous for these babies.  Ready to scare off any rival.  And it was working.

Not wanting to create an opportunity for abandonment, I left the area so that she might return to her treasure.  But there was no question... because she was not going to abandon these eggs.  They were hers and they would belong to no other.  Not because she didn't want to share them, but she knew that by sharing them... they would die.  It was who she was.  She was the protector of the eggs... and she would fight for their benefit.  For their life.

Refuge Under Her Wings

Finally, she was perched once again on her treasure.  And I wondered to myself why the whole interaction took place.  God, are you speaking to me?  Is there something I am supposed to learn here?

And He reminded me that I had been wondering about what it mean for Him to be a "jealous God" and so He was answering me.  I went into the house and looked up the word "jealous" in the Bible... on Blue Letter Bible.  I soon found out that there were different meanings for the word jealous, but there was one in particular that was used only when describing God.

qanna'- an adjective.  Used only of God.  Used of God not bearing any rival; the severe avenger of departure of himself.  Exodus 20:5, 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24, 5:9, 6:15.

And I wondered why He would be jealous... but then I realized that He is jealous for me.  Just like that momma bird.  He knows that if I depart from Him that there are dire consequences.  He does not want any rival because He knows I am weak.  I need Him to protect me... to avenge me... if there is one who is tempting me to turn away.   Because apart from Him... I am lost.  I am without boundaries.  Without right or wrong.  Out of His will.  And I have been there... and it ain't pretty.

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; 
rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.
Psalm 142:6

And so now, I wait.  Wait for the little birdies to hatch.  And I find comfort... that God is my avenger... and yours, too.

He will cover you with his feathers,
       and under his wings you will find refuge;
       his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Psalm 91:4