Why?

Why is this happening?

Why am I struggling through this?

Why?

I have discovered that many of my ‘why?’ questions are not answered immediately.  God’s answer comes later.  In some cases, many years later.

I have learned to recognize God’s movement in all of my why’s.  God is a huge planner.  He is the master orchestrator of the past, present and future for all of his children.

Why am I going through a tough time today?  Often I realize much later that the first tough experience trained me for an even tougher trial that was coming my way.  I learned lessons in the first struggle which helped me be more successful in navigating the next difficult situation in my life.

God prepared me.

As I read God’s Word, I see God’s preparation as a consistent thread in his epic love story.  In the book of Esther, Esther asked Mordecai to gather together all the Jews of Susa to fast with her for 3 days as she prepared for her audience with the king.  She was going to reveal the fact that she was a Jew and ask him to save her people.  At that time in history, you were putting your life in danger by going to the king when he had not invited you.  If the king didn’t want to see her, he could have her killed.

As the story unfolds, we see that over those 3 days of fasting God helped Esther develop a strategy for delivering her message.  She set the stage first so that the king was ready to grant her plea for mercy for her and her people.

Preparation.

I know it’s a big part of why God let’s difficult things happen in my life –

and your’s.  Each step of the way, God guides us and teaches us what we will need to know for the next step, training us so we are ready to complete the purpose he has for us here.

Thank you for preparing us, Abba Father.

How Did I Get Here?

I have a story.

You have a story.

How did we get here? Tell me about the mountains you climbed and I’ll tell you about the valleys I’ve struggled through.

God tells us in Psalm 107 that we all need to share our stories.  “Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story.” Psalm 107: 2.

Each of us has a unique tale to share.

Some of us have wandered, looking for a place to belong. We were hungry for love, starving for a purpose. When we cried out to God, he drew us closer to himself – to the place he made just for us. God gave us a purpose to get up every morning.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Others of us lived in darkness, bound by chains of rebellion and addiction, stumbling through life with no help in sight. But we cried out to the LORD and he brought us out of the utter darkness, breaking all of our chains.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Some of us made very foolish decisions and were suffering through the consequences of those to the point of thinking that death might be an option.  But, instead, we turned to God for help and he healed us, rescuing us from the living death we found ourselves in.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Others of us have experienced violent storms in our lives as huge waves of pain and grief washed over us. When our courage and strength were gone, we finally cried out to the LORD and he “stilled the storm with a whisper” (Psalm 107:29), calmed the waves and guided us home to him.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

My story is that I have loved Jesus my entire life but I had never made him Lord of my life. In my young adulthood I decided to wander – trying out all the ‘fun’ things the world had to offer. It seemed great at first but gradually my life because very empty, my soul was constantly searching for real joy. So I called out to God who made it very clear to me that he had never left me. When I turned back to him, I found him waiting for me with open arms.

When I got off the throne of my life and put Jesus on it, I found the joy I had been looking for.

God has been drawing me closer to him as I travel this Journey towards the Truth each day. I have left the emptiness and darkness behind, finding meaning and light because I put God first in my life. 

I will continue to tell my story for the rest of my life, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Where Is It?

Where can I find satisfaction?

Is contentment even a possibility for you?

God speaks to you and me in Haggai about the negative consequences that happen when we have our priorities wrong –

We work hard but have little to show for it…except for a lot of bills.

We eat but there is still a hunger in our souls.

We drink but we are still thirsty….for something.

We put on clothes but then we need to buy more because the last thing we bought didn’t satisfy us.

Our money disappears like we’re putting it in pockets filled with holes.

Can you relate to any of these?

I can.  I have experienced all of those at different times of my life when my eyes were focused on something other than God.

“Now this is what the Lord Almighty says; ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Haggai 1: 5 -6.

I love how God uses the picture of a purse – or into today’s world – pockets full of holes.  Before I put God first in my finances, it felt like all of my pockets, my purse and my bank account had holes in them.  And was I satisfied?  No!

I learned that if my life is about money and stuff, I will never have enough.  And that is what God is telling you and I today in Haggai.  God was talking to the Israelites because they were busy building their own houses while ignoring the rebuilding of God’s house, the Temple.

What is keeping you and I too busy to put God first in our lives?

God is telling us to get our priorities straight and THEN we will find satisfaction.

Thank you for your truth, Abba Father.

Right Away

I love this!

I’m on my 11th time reading through the entire Chronological Bible and I missed this detail for the first several years. But God stopped me here a couple of years ago and he has stopped me here every year since then.

“As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have to tell you…” The angel Gabriel said to Daniel. Daniel 9: 23.

Wow!  As soon as Daniel began to pray, God was responding.  Right away.  Daniel hadn’t even finished praying before God was taking action on his request.

Love it!

God is telling you and me that this is still happening today when we pray.  Before I have finished praying, God is moving, responding, orchestrating things for my good – every day, all day. It’s not according to my timeline, though. I might not see him moving, but I trust that he is. I will just keep praying until the issue/problem/pain is resolved.

I realize that the grief and loss I feel since my son’s death will not be going away this side of heaven so I continually ask God for the wisdom and perseverance and obedience I need to keep moving forward with a broken heart until I go to my ‘forever home’.

When I turn to God and pray, recognizing my dependence on him, he takes action.  I don’t need an angel to tell me that God is listening, I have his Word on it.

Thank you for always listening and responding, Abba Father.

What?!

A human hand appeared and wrote a message on the wall.

What?!

Daniel tells us this actually happened in the middle of King Belshazzar’s huge banquet!  If I saw it today, it would definitely get my attention.

This is where we get the saying, ‘I can read the writing on the wall’.  Many of us don’t know that this comes from the Bible.

King Belshazzar could not understand the handwriting on the wall so he consulted with Daniel who was well-known for being able to interpret things when no one else could.  Daniel read the writing and told the king that God was bringing his reign to an end because the king had not acknowledged God as sovereign over all the kingdoms on earth.

That very night, the message on the wall was fulfilled and Belshazzar was killed.

One part of the message on the wall was ‘Tekel’ which means you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

The bad news for all of us is – our scales don’t look any better.  Our rebellion.  Our need for control.  Our self-centeredness.  Our busyness which causes us to ignore God.

The writing on our wall would have the same message…..

except for the fact that God loved us so much that he gave us an ‘out’.

He sent his perfect son, Jesus, to save us from the eternal separation from God.  The entire Bible is a love story about how God created us in his image and desires to have a close, personal relationship with us.

Jesus offers a gift of grace to each one of us – that’s his part.  Our part is accepting his free gift which makes the scales move in our favor.

Through Christ’s sacrifice, we can become precious children of God who are never ‘found wanting’ because Jesus did it all for us….

for all time,

for all who will believe and receive.

It is finished.

Thank you, Jesus.

So Many Mysteries

I will never understand it all.  You will never understand it all.

How do we live our lives with these mysteries?

For me, one of the keys to having peace and contentment is realizing that there are aspects of this complex world that I will never understand.  There are “things too wonderful for me to know” Job 42: 3.

Remembering and focusing on the truths which are very clear and have been etched into my soul by the Holy Spirit helps me be okay about the mysteries that are beyond the ability of my 3 pound brain to comprehend.

Here are some of the truths that I review in my mind when I start to worry or doubt or question –

God is good, all the time.

God is all-powerful – nothing is impossible for him.

God is a perfect Father who loves me with a perfect love.  He is always walking beside me.

God is working all things out for my good.  He wants the best for me.

God’s timing is perfect.

Being confident of these truths, I know the best response to whatever happens to me is to trust God.  I can ask ‘Why?’ and God is patient with me, but there is wisdom in making trust my first response, not questions.

I have discovered that my life stays more closely aligned with God when I automatically and genuinely trust him with everything – because there is so much that I will never understand.

I trust you, Abba Father.

I See His Work

What do you do in a thunderstorm? Check out the clouds? Watch the wind rip through the trees? Count the seconds between the flash of the lightening and the roll of thunder?

I recently spent a week by Lake Okoboji in Iowa which is near where I grew up. It’s a beautiful lake surrounded by lots of vacation homes, condos and hotels. One of the days I was there it rained and it reminded me of one of my favorite things about this part of the country. It’s farmland as far as you can see but there is no irrigation here – God himself waters this land. I remember several times as a kid when the farmers needed more rain. So we had a prayer meeting. And when we had a prayer meeting for rain, the large church I grew up in was full – wall to wall people, standing room only. Everyone around my hometown knew who watered their crops and our town’s economy depended on those crops.

As I read God’s Word in the book of Job I am remembering what it felt like sitting in my cabin by the lake, listening to it rain and thunderstorm, saying ‘wow’ when the thunder clapped very loudly right over us and watching the bright show of lightening cracking across the lake.

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;

he does great things beyond our understanding.

He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’

and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour”.

So that everyone he has made may know his work,

he stops all people from their labor.

The animals take cover;

They remain in their dens.

The tempest come out from it’s chamber,

the cold from the driving winds.

The breath of God produces ice,

and broad waters become frozen.

He loads the clouds with moisture;

he scatters his lightening through them.

At his direction they swirl around

over the face of the earth

to do whatever he commands them.” Job 37: 5-12.

God definitely had the attention of everyone around the lake that day. It was impossible to ignore his work.

Do you know the benefits that God has packed into a rainstorm like that?

  • the obvious one is the rainfall – growing the crops and providing grass to feed the animals.
  • rainstorms are natural air-conditioners – cooling the air and the land.
  • lightening provides nitrogen which fertilizes the soil and provides protein for the animals.
  • rainstorms remove pollution in the air, cleaning it.

I may not understand a lot of things God does, but when I feel the rain, hear the thunder and see the lightening, I know that God is providing for us and taking care of us.

Thank you, Abba Father.

It’s a Struggle

Have you been there?

I have.  I am still struggling with the most extreme adversity I have ever experienced.  On May 18, 2016 my world exploded.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on that day.

I have experienced quite a lot of death in my life but this is – by far – the hardest.

Davey was a unique young man who was dedicated to serving his community and dedicated to living life to its fullest with fun, going everywhere and anywhere, while collecting a vast number of friendships. He did all of this with an obvious devotion and love for his family.  My husband and I lived 1 1/2 miles from Davey and his wife and 2 children the last 6 years of his life.  We talked with him daily and saw him almost every day for one reason or another.

I don’t have the words for how painful this last 6 years have been.  It defines adversity.  Living with my reality is a struggle.

As I read the book of Job in the Bible, I can relate.  Job experiences the shock of getting terrible news.  I can relate.  When people around him started saying strange and wrong things to him, I can relate.   Then, after the first horrible news,  painful things just kept happening.  Job questioned God and wondered why this was all happening to him.  He was overwhelmed with sorrow.  I can relate.

It’s a struggle.

Job was confident of God’s promises, “I know my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth” 19:24.   Job knew that God was in total control and all-powerful.  I can relate.

Job committed his life to being faithful to God in spite of his circumstances.  He praised God in the middle of all of the pain he was experiencing.  I can relate.

Job had a long conversation with God.  I can relate – I have had many long conversations with God about my son’s death.  Job confessed that he did not understand.  I can relate – I will never completely understand this.  Job’s eyes were opened in a new way to the reality that God has a plan and purpose for each of us and that God’s ways are not our ways.  I can relate.

God gave Job peace in the middle of his pain and blessed him.

I can relate.

Thank you for helping me in my struggle, Abba Father.

It Has Been Decided

These last 6 years have been the most difficult and painful time of my life.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  My world blew up on that day.

dave-and-grandma-at-northwestern

One of the ways God has comforted me is through this truth – ” A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” Job 14:5.

God has already decided which day will be the last day of your life here on earth and mine.

Knowing this helped me let go of my mother when she passed away 17 years ago.  We had a very close relationship and she was my role-model for how a Christian woman lives her life faithful to God – all the way to her last breath here on earth.  I realized, if God wanted her in heaven with him, then that’s what I wanted for her.

davey-and-grandma-rolls

Sixteen years ago I found myself in ICU with twelve blood clots in my lungs – a life-threatening situation.  God told me clearly that I wasn’t going to die from that and I didn’t – even though 5 doctors told me the blood clots should have killed me.

It just wasn’t my day.

I know that God has reasons for picking May 18 as Davey’s final day here on earth. I may never understand those reasons but I trust God.   And, since God wants him in heaven, that’s what I want for him.

Knowing that this date was determined before Davey was born helps me avoid needless regrets…like –

  • I wish he hadn’t gone on that call.davey-and-mom
    • It wouldn’t have mattered.  This was his day.
  • I wish he hadn’t gone to work that day.
    • It would have happened no matter what he was doing.
  • I wish he hadn’t been a police officer.
    • He was born to be a police officer and he died honorably, serving his community and doing what he loved to do.  He wouldn’t have wanted to live or die any other way.

It was decided.  There is no ‘wishing’ something else had happened.  God decreed the number of Davey’s days here on earth and then he took Davey home.

Now, standing a foundation of God’s love and strength and grace, I know I have been left on this earth for a purpose.  God has a plan.  I am committed to following where he leads….until the day arrives that is already decided for me.

Meanwhile, through the tears, I am focusing on loving God and loving people.

A bigger chunk of my heart is now in heaven with you, Abba Father.