Tuesday, March 15, 2011

God....... why?

I turned on the television last week, just like any regular day, expecting to see the normal morning news, but instead, I was immediately horrified.

As I watched the apocalyptic scenes taking place in Japan, with waves of destruction eating up what was left of the earthquake shaken city, my first thought was...... why?

Why did this happen? Why do these natural disasters, like earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis, keep occuring?

Why does God allow so much pain, death and devastation? And does He allow them, or cause them?

These are questions that likely every human being is grappling with. Although we do not intend to question God, or His goodness, we cannot help but wonder why, as we hear of the tens of thousands of lives lost, and see the human suffering taking place right before our eyes.

It is easy to understand the logistics of why natural disasters occur, because of weather patterns, storms over the sea, or tectonic plates bumping together, but why does God allow it?

But then again, why does God allow anything bad to happen?

The answer is simply found when we go back to the basics of our beliefs ----- we live in a fallen world, a sinful world, and that is why Jesus came to save us.

GotQuestions.org explained it this way: "In much the same way that God allows evil people to commit evil acts, God allows the earth to reflect the consequences sin has had on creation.

Romans 8:19-21 tells us, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

The fall of humanity into sin had effects on everything, including the world we inhabit. Everything in creation is subject to “frustration” and “decay.” Sin is the ultimate cause of natural disasters just as it is the cause of death, disease, and suffering."

Knowing the character of God as it is described in the Bible, I have to trust that God's heart is breaking as He looks down on Japan and sees people suffering, just as His heart breaks when we sin, or suffer in daily circumstances.

But one thing is for sure - when things like this happen, we are forced to think about one question - "would we be ready?" Not would we be disaster-ready, with bottled water and food stored away, but would we be heart-ready, for eternity.

It causes us to examine our own foundation of beliefs, our faith and our future.

I have read that after such natural disasters, churches are filled with people who do not normally attend. People who have become acutely aware of the fact that life can end in an instant. People who are shaken up enough emotionally to see their need for a sovereign God.

Also, when we are faced with a life threatening situation, we are often compelled to realign our priorities. Our eyes are opened, and we suddenly acknowledge that the unimportant things of life have been taking precedence over the things that really matter.

We may realize that we have been taking our blessings for granted, and feel God calling us to pour out gratitude and thankfulness for who He is and all He has done for us.

Countless numbers of people are led to fervently pray for strangers they have never met, and will probably never meet.

People all over the world, of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds, come together to help raise funds to help those in need.

Christian ministries are given wide open doors to share faith like never before.

If you really think about it, the world actually seems to become much smaller, when we universally have one focus of love and hope.

Regardless of whether or not we ever know the answers to our "why's", we must hang onto to the truth that no matter what - God is good.

No matter what, God has a plan for everyone, as we are told in Jeremiah 29:11

No matter what, God has a purpose for everything, as we are reminded in Romans 8:28.

No matter what, God is love, as we are told in 1 John 4:8.

And Psalm 56:8 reminds us of God's goodness and compassion, as He catches every tear, "You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book." The Message

Despite the heartbreak that I feel for Japan, and the heartbreak and fear that I can physically see in the eyes of the survivors, I have to trust that God does have a reason, a purpose, and a plan for this disaster, and for all the people involved.

I hope and pray that many of the people who lost their lives in this disaster, are now sitting at the feet of Jesus, and that those who are left, may be led to meet Him here on earth for the very first time.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

He Knows

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you;
plans for a hope and a future.

This a very familiar verse to most, and definitely for me. In fact, this verse has been the theme Scripture verse for my life for the past eleven years.

But today, this verse has changed in my mind. The words are still the same, but as I consider it, I have a new, fresh perspective about what it really means.

You see, on many occasions when I was searching for God's will, I used this verse as a walking stick for the journey.

I have always viewed it as a beacon of guidance from above; a reassurance that no matter what seemed to be going in life, that God had a plan and a purpose no matter what; a command to trust Him, without question.

God has used this scripture to help me learn to walk by faith, and not by sight, while believing that He sees the bigger picture, and the purpose for all things.

And all that is true - but now, it holds an even bigger meaning in my heart.

This week, one of our Proverbs 31 team members sent out a prayer request, asking for prayer and peace in a circumstance in her life. Many of us replied with words of encouragement and support, but one of our sweet sisters not only offered to pray, but sent out a nugget of gold, found in a scripture that I thought I knew like the back of my hand.

She stated that during a time when she was praying for God's will in an important decision in her life, several people reminded her of Jeremiah 29:11. She knew the verse well, but said she had always wanted to cling to the "plans to prosper you and not harm you" part. But God spoke to her heart, and helped her to find comfort and peace in the "I know" part instead.

When I read these words in her email, it was like a light bulb went off in my head.

God whispered to my heart, "Tracie, I know". I suddenly became acutely aware that God does know.......everything. He is not perplexed or surprised by what we are facing.

He knows.

And.... He has a plan.

On Monday, I wrote about feeling "helpless". God reminded me that He cares, as I watched Him intervene in a personal situation with my daughter.

On Tuesday, God used the words of a friend to remind me that He not only cares about us, but He knows.

He knows the things I am struggling with. He knows the needs of my family. He knows all of His children.

He knows who is hurting. He knows who is worried. He knows who is in pain. He knows what is breaking our hearts. He knows our fears. He knows our concerns. He knows our most secret burdens. He knows our needs.

And most of all, He knows us - like a father knows his own children; like good friends know each others secrets; like family.

We are often told that "God sees" and "God cares", and the Bible tells us those things are true. But today, let's cling to the comfort found in knowing that He not only sees and cares, but HE KNOWS.

And to top off that good news.. He has a plan. Now that, makes me smile. :)

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Monday, March 7, 2011


Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength,always ready to help in times of trouble. (NLT)

I admit it, I have been feeling helpless lately.

My seventeen year old daughter has struggled with migraines since she was little, but since they had become much less frequent over the past year, we had hoped she was finally outgrowing them.

Unfortunately that was not the case. For the past few months, she has been struck with many debilitating headaches, several per week, causing her to miss a lot of school. As a mom, of course I worry about her school work and her grades, but there is a much bigger emotion that I have been struggling with - a sense of helplessness.

I cant help her, and I hurt for her. It breaks my heart to watch her lie in bed, with arms and legs tremoring, and unable to open her eyes for fear of the pain the light will bring. And just as much as I hurt, I am consumed with feeling helpless.

Helpless to fix the problem. Helpless to make her feel better.

Helpless to do anything at all - and that sense of helplessness has heightened over the past few weeks, as I have been trying without success to get her medical records transferred from our old pediatric neurologist, to a new one who had been highly recommended.

Helpless, in the hands of people who did not know me, or my daughter, much less feel the sense of urgency that I felt to get her records transferred.

Helpless, at the mercy of strangers who continued to explain their policies, procedures and red tape requirements, rather than help speed up the process to get my daughter the help she needed.

Helpless. So I continued to pray for help from the One who is never helpless.

I had been told weeks ago by the new neurologist, that once the infamous day came when they finally did have all of Morgan's past medical records in hand, that it would take several weeks, if not months, to get a scheduled appointment.

Yesterday morning I went upstairs to Morgan's bedroom to wake her up for church, only to find her trembling little body buried under the covers once again.

Immediately, I am overcome with familiar feelings of helplessness. Selfishly, I am overcome with frustration and exhaustion, and a twinge of anger - not at her - but at the situation. Then I am overcome with guilt for having those feelings - and feel even more helpless as we face another long day.

After spending twelve hours trapped in the darkness of her room by the pain that she has no control over, I went upstairs to check on her one last time before going to bed. And I cried out to the only One who could help.

I prayed that the records and referrals would all be sent over by today. I prayed that God would instill compassion in an employee's heart at the doctor's office, and compel them to act quickly on our behalf.

I prayed that whenever I did call the new doctor for the first appointment, that they could fit us in quickly, even though I had been blatantly told that was not a possibility.

I prayed for peace in this situation, and to help me trust Him.

I woke up this morning, and paced around the house until the digital clock showed exactly 8:30am, then immediately begin calling the medical offices.

Good news - success. All records were finally transferred due to a sweet woman who put our case at the top of her priority list. Answered prayer #1. I thanked her explicitly, hung up, and called the new neurologist.

The nurse put me on hold while checking the schedule, and then she came back with more good news.... "This is highly unusual, but we just had a cancellation, so there is an appointment available tomorrow at 9:00am. Can you come at that time?" Answered prayer #2.

Needless to say, I jumped on that appointment faster than a cat on a hot tin roof! Then I hung up the phone, and prayed, thanking God for helping me, when I felt helpless on my own.

I was reminded that He is our Helper. I felt peace and assurance. Answered prayer #3.

You see, God used this tiny intervention to reassure me that when I recognize my need for His help, in big and small things, the door is opened for Him to intervene.

Maybe you are facing a seemingly hopeless situation, and feel you have exerted all the human energy you have, with no positive results. Join me in lifting up the below prayer. Let it be the song of your heart today, no matter what big or small problem you may be facing. Our Helper is only a prayer away.

Thank you Lord for reminding me that with You, I am not helpless. You do care about the struggles we face, the heartaches we endure, and the details of our lives. Help me embrace a peace of mind, but also a peace of heart, knowing that even when we I am feeling helpless in my human abilities, You are there to help in your divine power. Thank you for showing me, once again, that with You, all things really are possible.

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