Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back To Basics

I awoke early this morning (as usual, thanks to one overly-happy, spastic chirping bird that apparently lives behind my bedroom windows). Since I was already awake, and it appeared to be a beautiful morning based on the sparkling sun streaks peeking through my blinds, I hopped up and decided to go run before the kids woke up.

If there is one thing on earth that makes my heart happy, it is a beautiful morning, with bright sunshine, and the smell of honeysuckles washing the morning air. This morning met all those criteria, so I was eager to get outside, even if it did mean exercise.

I have found that an early morning run is not only a great way to start a day, but a great opportunity to have some quiet time with God, so as I soaked in my surroundings and started my jog, I also started talking to God. The further I got down the road, and into our conversation, I began to feel the tears burning my eyes. I have had a lot on my heart lately, and this seemed the perfect time to pour it all out to God.

I needed His peace, and His comfort, which had seemed far beyond my grasp in the past few weeks. Circumstances of which I seem to have no power to change, were draining my strength, and crushing my spirit; distracting me from being the person God wants me to be, and keeping me from putting Him first in my life.

I found myself asking God that age-old question - WHY? Why this, why that, why, why, why.

I am sure God was not surprised by my question. From time to time, we all wonder why things happen the way they do, why people are the way they are, why we are the way we are, and why God is not intervening the way we want Him to. But this time, I almost had a hint of anger in my questioning. It caught me off guard actually.

As a result, I realized I needed to adjust my thinking. There are a lot of things that I dont have any control over, but I do have control over my own mind, and over the strength of my faith. Even though I may not like the things that God is allowing in my life, I should not be angry at Him. In fact, scripture tells us to rejoice during our trials, but sometimes it is hard to do that in the midst of them.

Thank goodness we serve a merciful and loving God, so I know He understands and forgives. I asked Him, once again, to help me "let go, and let God".

The verse Psalm 51:12 suddenly popped into my mind, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me", so I recited it over and over for the next few minutes. I realized I had been missing good things, while focused on the bad things, and that is a recipe for disappointment.

I finally ran out of energy, then went home, and got ready for church. Todays sermon was focused on the return of Jesus, but the Sunday School lesson is what really hit home. It was focused on the basics of the Christian faith - that Jesus died for us, so that we could have an abundant life and hope for eternity.

As the lesson progressed, the teacher asked us if we had ever asked God "why?". My ears perked up. Suddenly I was more interested......hadnt I just had that conversation with God a couple hours earlier? Was this Gods way of trying to tell me something? I believe it was.

We discussed how all things happen for a reason, and to remember that God uses our experiences, good and bad, to draw us closer to Him, to help us to learn to trust Him, and to help us remember to depend on Him.

This was not news to me. In fact, I "preach" this same stuff at all of my speaking engagements, despite the topic title. Those truths are the absolute core of everything that God is to us. But I apparently needed a reminder, and God reminded me ever so gently.

Our teacher ended the lesson with a visual... a little stick person drawn on the white board. He drew one person standing there, with several rocks being flung at him from the sky. The person was asking, "why God, why?"? Then he drew the other side of the picture, completing the visual, which showed Jesus holding back an avalanche with His mighty hands, shielding the person from the huge boulders that would otherwise be crashing down upon the little guy.

Just a little stick figure, with a huge message for us. At first we only see the problems, with no reason to thank God, but if we remember that He is working in the invisible areas that we cant see, all the while protecting us and preparing us in ways we cant even imagine, we can learn to seek Him during the trials, instead of blame Him.

We all have concerns, problems, heartbreak, and disappointment - they are just a part of life unfortunately. We all have circumstances that we wish were different, or people we wish we could change.

We also all have a choice - to worry about the "seen", or trust in the "unseen", believing that the unseen is where God is mightily at work.

My prayer this week is that I can keep my heart focused on the One who can mend it, the One who can change it, and the One who created it, for His purpose. This week, I think I just need to get back to the basics.

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B His Girl said...

I'm with you on that Tracie. I am being pelted by rocks but I know God is working in this situation. I am going to walk what I 'talk' too. God is good...all the time. The basics are more than enough. I pray your rocks stack up to provide a closer view of the Lord : )

Joyful said...

Oh, I so appreciate that visual of all that God is holding back that we don't see. Thank you for sharing that example.

Tracie, this has reminded me of something the Lord has just taught me through Exodus 40:38: "The Cloud of God was over 'The Dwelling' during the day ... visible to all the Israelites in all their travels."

I've often seen my present situation as being under a "cloud" -- a cloud of despair ... a cloud of heaviness ... a cloud of suffocation ... and, suddenly, God allowed my heart to see these light-deficient days as protected by "The Cloud of God".

Protected? Yes, protected! I began to wonder about the things that haven't touched me on this journey with my Dad -- I began to wonder about the days I could be walking IF God was not protecting me each moment of every day; ... the heartache He is sparing us, because of "The Cloud of God", lovingly providing daily for our needs. I can't begin to tell you what a ministry that thought has been in changing my perspective!! I know the Holy Spirit was -- is -- allowing me a tiny glimpse into a more intimate walk with my precious Saviour, and I fall before Him yet again in utter abandon.

Returning to basics too,

Melanie said...

Amen to this.

Jennifer Shelton said...

I can't tell you how much it has helped me. It began because I was curious to know how my cousin is doing. But, every time I visited, I came away with a little thought to ponder and a more positive outlook on my day. Living in Brazil has been tough because there are no English speaking churches to attend. I had been questioning why God sent us to a place where I can't worship the way I'm used to.

Finally, another American initiated an English speaking Beth Moore bible study in our town. I joined and it's been an incredible journey! We have finished the study of David and now we are moving on to a new study. Now I'm thankful that God sent me here because I spend time reading the bible and studying his word. It's not handed to me packaged up in a nice sanctuary full of beautiful music. I really liked the church package: choir, Sunday school and fellowship-it felt so comfortable. So comfortable that maybe I had stopped seeking God. Now, I feel my relationship with God has grown so much...and I know now that it's because there was not an English speaking church available. Of course when we return to the states, I’ll be looking for a church to attend and I’ll be very happy about joining a church choir! Until then, I have the bible, the Beth Moore books and videos, the other girls in the group, your blog and desire to just keep seeking him.

Jennifer Shelton said...

Sorry, I forgot the first sentence to my comment!
"For the past several weeks, I've been visiting your blog and reading."