Monday, February 25, 2013

Oh, the Places It's Been

Tattered, slightly dirty, worn and "with character" are words that I would use to describe my Bible and its cover. My Bible was given to me for confirmation from my parents, over 12 years ago. The Bible itself is highlighted, underlined, rabbit eared and smudged in places, while the case itself holds special letters, cards, and other things pertinent to my walk with Christ and/or something I do not want to ever lose, such as my passport. 

I have been a lot of places, and every where I have moved; every adventure and assignment I've had, my Bible has come with me.

It has been in countless coffee shops, evident of the coffee stains. It has been in many vehicles, on planes, and nearly every state in the United States, not to mention Cambodia and Singapore.

It has been in many churches, Bible studies, personal homes and outdoor park benches. It has been at several summers of summer camp, evident by the bird poop stain that I can't get out of the vinyl.

 My Bible has been a constant, unchanging tangible item. From time to time, I have thought about maybe replacing the cover with something cleaner and updated, but then I always come back to the conclusion that I want to keep it the way it is, the way it has always been. In a world with constant changes, and for a woman who seems to always be living out of a tote and "half packed", ready for the next transition and move... to know that that Bible is coming with me, when I can't take my family, friends, or anything else as comforting, is truly the greatest comfort of them all.

I don't read it as much as I should. I'm horrible with memorizing verses, and have on more then one occasion tried to start the Bible from beginning to the end, barely making it through Exodus. However, my Bible is a source of hope; a representation of stability. Gods word is inherent and everlasting, so I can always count on Psalm 86 being applicable to my life, always on the same page number of my Bible as it was when I was 13. My Bible is also living and active, capable of not changing content but of the Holy Spirit enabling me to receive and learn things in new and different ways.

May the everlasting, unchanging word of God give you a comfort and peace that surpasses all understanding, the direction that you need and joy your heart seeks. May you find your stability in the unchanging in a constantly changing life. 

Tracing His Face

From the moment I was able to read, history has always held a place in my heart. I loved reading about heroes and heroines of long ago who defeated odds and made great accomplishments and contributions to our world. I especially loved stories about people with disabilities and significant  challenges that they overcame. The story of Helen Keller always inspired me. Deaf and blind from birth, Helen had to choose to learn a way to cope with life and make necessary connections with her world. God brought a stubborn and determined teacher in her life, Anne Sullivan. Anne taught her how to communicate through sign language and touch, and later Helen learned to communicate with others through signing in peoples hands. 

Many of us will never experience being blind or losing one of our major senses,  but I know for a fact that as Christians we experience a special kind of blindness. Our sin and humanity tends to rob us of our sight of Jesus and His capability of miracles in our lives. This morning as I was writing to God in my journal, the following sentence flowed from my heart and through my finger tips:

" I seek your face...tracing it as a blind child would, feeling with my fingers the pattern and shape of your holiness and perfection."

Can you picture that? Can you picture a small, blind child sitting in the lap of his Father, carefully using all 10 of his fingers to trace every curve, soft and rough spot, nook and cranny, because he is unable to see Jesus with his physical sight? He can't see his smile, but he can feel the curve of his lips; he can't see how large, strong and capable His hands are, but he can feel their grip.

I can see myself in this child of my imagination. My sin, fears and anxieties make me blind to how beautiful, how capable, how strong and how powerful my God is. Through prayer and the Holy Spirit, my sight is restored. Not only is it restored, but I am reminded that my periods of blindness served a greater purpose. If I was not blind, would have I sought as hard to seek His face? If I was not blind, would I not have ever realized that I needed that sight, and that something was inherently wrong in my ability to live?

May the giver of vision restore your sight in His perfect timing. While you stumble in darkness, maybe you stumble on His grace; may you jump into your Fathers lap and trace His face. Once your sight is restored, may you go to your knees and praise your Lord. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blessed Weakness, Gauged Strength

Weakness....nobody likes it. I can't think of a single person who would see the word "weakness" and in turn have a good feeling. Weakness indicates that something isn't "up to par", and that there are limitations at hand. Someone would rather be "weak in the knees" over an individual that makes your heart beat wildly ( or for some, it can just be a good cup of coffee or a piece of high end chocolate) than be weak in body, soul and spirit. Not to mention horrible weak tasting coffee... need I say more?

God promises to give us strength in our weakness, but what we so often miss as Christians is that allows weakness so that He can be our strength. If we were always strong and if we were able to foretell the future and gauge all the information that we felt we needed...if we had enough money to cover bills and have multiple luxurious choices in life and knew if and when we were going to get sick, when our mother would pass away, or when the last opportunity to travel to Scotland or that place that we've always wanted to visit...would we really need God? 

Once again the sinful and wayward world we live in preaches a message opposite of what is true in the realm of Christianity; the only realm in which we are to serve and gain our personal worth and understanding. Day in and day out, year after year, we are taught that weakness is not only wrong and undesirable, but that it is absolutely something to be avoided. Weakness threatens appearances, reveals secrets and forces vulnerability. Weakness is what prevents you from getting that job promotion, from achieving your dreams, from being the "best you can be".

And Christ, what does He say? He says that I (Jesus Christ) am at my best..I shine and do the most amazing, incredible work in your life in your weakness. He delights in us being flat on our backs, in gasping for breath, in losing much so that we can gain so much more. Not because He is a cruel God that needs a power trip, but because He knows How He designed His children. He designed us in such a way that the only way to survive is to be completely dependent on Him.  

"Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."-2nd Corinthians 12:9

I am in a season of life in which I am physically weak. Every day is different, never sure what type of energy is going to be supplied for that day or how much I can handle. But one thing has been impressed upon me: Through my Lord Jesus Christ, I know my strength is gauged through the hands of my Provider. As I lean into my weakness rather than fight it, I am victorious because of who is supplying me with the ability to do so.