Month: August 2013

Oh, For Grace To Trust Him More!

God loves me. God can do anything. God wants the best for me. These are a few of the beliefs that I hold dear.

So why do I have pain? I don’t mean productive pain: pain that tells me to stop catching my toe against that piece of furniture, or to remove my hand from that hot water. No, I mean the constant, relentless, ever-present pain in my head, an all-day every-day headache. It isn’t telling me to change my behavior. It serves no purpose physiologically. It is simply a headache, literally and physically.

Am I like Job, buffeted by Satan in a cosmic contest between good and evil? Is this some test I just can’t seem to pass? Am I supposed to be learning something? Is this my version of Paul’s “thorn on the flesh” to keep me humble and show God’s strength? Or is it just a result of bad genetics; I’m swimming in the deep end of the gene pool? I really don’t know.

I do believe God still heals. That is not limited to the Bible stories I learned as a child. God could take the pain away. I hear of others who have been healed or see those who have recovered, yet I have not. So why not me? When is it my turn? Do I lack faith? Is it because of some weakness in me? Have I not yet passed some test?

Can I trust Him? Do I even want to?

The emphatic answer is YES! This IS a God I want to serve. You see, God doesn’t cause the pain. It is there simply because of a broken, messed-up world. Headaches are heavily present on both sides of my family, just as bad eyes and high intelligence and tall stature are. So should I blame God for not interfering? No. If He chooses to not wipe it all away, this must mean He can use it for some good. What is it? I have no idea.

In my experience, there are levels of trust. First is the belief that He will someday take it away and I will serve Him until He does. Though this is an admirable place to be, it is not a terribly deep faith. Second is the knowledge that He may choose to not ever take away the suffering, and though I may not understand why, I will continue to live my life for Him, following his Word as well as I can. I will keep walking in spite of the trauma occurring in my life. I will keep on keeping on. The third level is actually giving God a blank check to use whatever life throws at me to make me a better person: to deepen my faith or enlarge my patience or whatever it is that He can do with it. Accepting, and even embracing the pain, now THAT is a difficult spot to reach. To trust that the dark threads on the weaver’s loom make the tapestry more beautiful, give perspective otherwise lacking, that is the thing hardest to accept.

This world is filled with sorrow, heartbreak, sickness, abuse. The amazing thing about my God is not that He makes all things perfect. The truly amazing thing is that He alone can take rotten things and make good come from them. Oh sure, they’re still rotten, but they can produce good anyway. Sometimes I can anticipate what the good will be, but often, even usually, I can’t see it until years later, or sometimes not at all.

One day, our journey will be complete; our race will be done. Until then we will have trouble. Sure, there are laughs, friends, and good times. But right alongside all of that will be sorrow, heartbreak, and pain. It’s a day-by-day choice, sometimes even a minute-by-minute one, what we will do with our sorrows.

As for me, this is my theme song:

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
Oh, for grace to trust Him more

The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth, So Help Me God

I just observed a lady, as I have so many other ladies, who is trying to hide her age. Her hair is dyed a dull solid black. Her makeup is desperately trying to hide wrinkles, but failing miserably. And do strappy heels really ever look good on 75 year-old feet?

If you’re going bald, men, go bald. Rock the look. We can all spot a toupee or a combover from across a room, and it never looks good.

People should wear clothes that fit them and fit their shape. Obvious? Evidently not. Just go to the mall and people-watch for 5 minutes, and you’ll see what I mean.

I’ve seen plenty of older ladies look really classy with gray hair, clothes that match their maturity, and confidence that says “I’m older than you, and that’s just fine with me.” Bald men can look great. And I’ve seen plenty of people who were a little, or maybe a lot, overweight, or maybe just big in a few select places, carry off a look that is classy and confident.

I’ve started this discussion with something light, something we can all relate to, but really, the same principle goes for other, deeper, hidden things as well.

You see, the truth is a scary thing. It has the power to change things, which is probably why we’re so afraid of it. And with the changes, we fear we might lose control of the situation. We might not get what we want.

But is denial of the truth really the answer? If we cling to a falsehood, a fantasy, expecting things to get better, they probably won’t. They probably can’t. Our grasping for something unreal keeps us too busy to move on to a place of action, and ultimately, a place of peace and acceptance.

Credit card companies make fortunes off of people who deny the truth about their financial situations. They can’t, won’t, or just don’t, face the reality that they don’t have the money to buy whatever their little heart desires.

The same idea applies to family life. If your marriage is a mess, denying it is not going to make it better. If your child is having trouble, pretending won’t get them help.

So honesty is the best policy, whether that means changing how you approach your family, your money, or your appearance.

After all, life is easier without strappy heels anyway.